Join Date: Oct 2003
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Reading Topic: Does a Modification Void My Warranty?
DO NOT THINK THAT THIS INFORMATION WILL KEEP A DEALER FROM DENYING A WARRANTY CLAIM!
I have a long story, but it's very relevant to this matter. I own a 2003 MSP Protege with 3200 miles on it. I removed the stock air box and attached a plain paper cone filter to the MAF meter and removed the silencer (resonator) from the exhaust. Neither modification affected performance or ECU function. The resonator in the exhaust sits behind both cats and both O2 sensors. With 3200 miles on it, my headgasket blows filling the motor with coolant and ultimatly causing 2 rods to be slung from the block. After the vehicle was towed to my closest dealer they immediatly denied ANY kind of warranty repair due to the exhaust modification. I explained to them all of the info that SEMA provided about aftermarket parts and responsibility. They informed me that MNOA would have to send someone down to look at the car. Two weeks later a regional rep came down, spent (in the service managers own words) less than 5 minutes looking at the car, and then denied my claim. I waited for another 2-3 weeks for him to return my calls when I did get a response back it was to tell me that his job isn't to talk to customers, only the service manager. I called Mazda customer service and they informed me that it is in fact his job to talk to me. I again waited for him to call me back after several messages so I could set up a meeting to discuss the situation. He told me that "he knew what I did to that car and I knew what I did to it." I asked him to tell me what he thinks was done and his exact words," I don't have to tell you a damn thing." I told him that I was not some punk kid without a clue in the world and I knew my rights as a consumer, I had spoken with an attorney who verfied all of the information I got from SEMA. He told me that if I wanted to talk to him again I should get a lawyer. I did. A friend of the family offered to work for free writting letters, looking up past cases etc . However, due to the binding arbitration agreement I would have to go to arbitration first. The consumer always loses in arbitration. I would then be required to pay fees ($3500) PLUS any fees that the company would have. My lawyer informed me that at this point while I did have a case that would be cut and dry in court it wouldn't be financialy efficient to pursue it any further. I would be able to repair my vehicle for less than the cost of fees that would be associated continuing the case.
The point of this story is this: Even though the law says one thing doesn't mean that you'll be able to afford to see that it gets enforced. I've spoken with no less than 5 attorneys and every one of them wants me to pursue this further based on the amount of the intended settlement. The big compnaies (MNOA) know however, that they can tie it up in courts forever, bleed me dry, make it unlogical for me to pursue them. That's what they've done. I'm stuck in a car worth $7500 and owe double that.
DO NOT THINK THAT JUST BECAUSE THE LAW IS ON YOUR SIDE THAT YOU CAN MODIFY YOUR VEHICLE. The little guy always takes it in the ass in these situations. I've taken it so hard I can barely sit down anymore.
sorry THIS had to be my first post.