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Fiat Chrysler “Lifetime” Powertrain Warranty Voiding Class Action

In October 2007, Plaintiff Wendy Hightman bought a new Jeep Patriot, and was told it had a Lifetime Powertrain Warranty. But the complaint for this class action alleges that in 2017, when she needed the warranty, she was told it had been cancelled because she had not had the vehicle inspected according to the narrow terms of the warranty.

Two classes have been proposed for this action.

  • The Nationwide Class is all persons or entities in the US who are current or former original owners of a Class Vehicle who were denied coverage under the Lifetime Powertrain Warranty based on the Inspection Clause. 
  • The California Class is all persons or entities in California who are current or former original owners of a Class Vehicle who were denied coverage under the Lifetime Powertrain Warranty based on the Inspection Clause.

Hightman’s Jeep was made by Fiat Chrysler US, LLC (FCA). The complaint alleges that the company instituted its Lifetime Powertrain Warranty to try to counter falling sales and overstocked inventory. FCA based a national 2007 advertising campaign on this warranty, calling it “the best warranty coverage in the business” and claiming that it represented “a statement of confidence to our customers to the reliability of their powertrain.” The complaint calls it “THE selling point of their vehicles at the time.”

What the company did not publicize, the complaint alleges, was that the warranty required that the owner to have the vehicle’s powertrain inspected within sixty days of each five-year anniversary of the in-service date. 

In March 2017, Hightman had taken her Jeep in because of a “whining sound” coming from the transmission. The repair was completed under warranty, and the servicer gave the Jeep “a 16-point multi-inspection according to the maintenance interval.” 

The following year, her Check Engine light came on, and the servicer discovered that the engine gasket needed replacement. However, because her 2017 inspection had been seven months before the ten-year anniversary date of her use of her car—instead of within the required two months of the anniversary date—FCA claimed she had voided the warranty’s coverage. Hightman had to pay over $2,000 for the repair. Later in the same year, she needed another repair that should have been covered by the warranty, but again FCA refused. This time she paid over $5,000 for the repair.

The complaint contends that the inspection requirement was not mentioned in the advertising materials for the FCA vehicles, that the requirement was in small print in their contracts, and that many vehicle owners were unaware of it. The complaint says that the requirement “contravenes reasonable expectations” because “it is not a typical provision, it serves no commercial purpose, and it is one-sided.”

The complaint claims breaches of warranty and of good faith and fair dealing, among other things. 

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Fiat Chrysler “Lifetime” Powertrain Warranty Voiding Complaint

September 24, 2018

In October 2007, Plaintiff Wendy Hightman bought a new Jeep Patriot, and was told it had a Lifetime Powertrain Warranty. But the complaint for this class action alleges that in 2017, when she needed the warranty, she was told it had been cancelled because she had not had the vehicle inspected according to the narrow terms of the warranty.

chrylser_warranty_complaint_1.pdf

Case Event History

Fiat Chrysler “Lifetime” Powertrain Warranty Voiding Complaint

September 24, 2018

In October 2007, Plaintiff Wendy Hightman bought a new Jeep Patriot, and was told it had a Lifetime Powertrain Warranty. But the complaint for this class action alleges that in 2017, when she needed the warranty, she was told it had been cancelled because she had not had the vehicle inspected according to the narrow terms of the warranty.

chrylser_warranty_complaint_1.pdf
Tags: Breach of warranty, Voided Warranty