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FFS Let's all stop referencing the Magnussen Moss Act......

Discussion in '3rd Gen. Tacomas (2016+)' started by skiploder, May 16, 2019.

  1. May 16, 2019 at 6:55 AM
    #1
    skiploder

    skiploder [OP] Personally holding a grudge against Falken

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    I've seen a lot of chatter on the forums about the Magnussen Moss Act. Mainly about how to use it to intimidate a dealer (or the manufacturer) into performing warranty work on modified vehicles.

    Now I've got a bit of a problem with this - primarily in that despite what you wiki about "The Act", employing it is a different beast altogether.

    In 2003 I purchased a Mini Cooper S to use as a track car. I immediately set to modifying it. New coil over suspension, new cylinder head and camshaft, new custom exhaust, new BBK, new intercooler (I eventually even twin-charged it).

    With about 8K miles on the clock, it began exhibiting some odd idling behavior and some electrical gremlins associated with the ECU. My first thought was that it was related to the cams and the new engine management system. However everything was checking out.

    By coincidence I took it to the dealer for an issue with the lock on the rear hatch. One thing led to another and they explained to me that there was a TSB that deals with a manufacturing flaw with the portion of the wiring harness that connects to the throttle body. They asked if they could keep the car to perform the TSB.

    The TSB essentially called for replacing the entire wiring harness. A $200 part but a 10 hour job. As they began the work, a local manufacturer's rep stopped by, saw the mods to my car and told the dealer to stop working on the TSB.

    The dealer immediately notified me and I stopped by. The rep was still there. To the dealer's credit, the service manager explained that my mods had nothing to do with the known failed part in question. The PUMA rep, in front of me, told the dealer to stop working on my car - as the manufacturer would not reimburse them for any work.

    Two years prior I had been made a partner in my firm, and we had a team of excellent lawyers on retainer. I contacted one of the partners in the law firm and he immediately got things rolling. This eventually led to my lawsuit against the manufacturer in which I alleged they violated the M-M Act.

    My lawyer hired a mechanic who removed the wiring harness and proved that it suffered from the manufacturing defect affected by the TSB. My lawyer also hired forensic mechanics who, when deposed, proved that the modifications could not have caused the KNOWN ISSUE, and he even hired a legal expert on previous M-M Act lawsuits who would testify as to the illegality of refusing TSB work on an issue already recognized by the manufacturer as a defect on a vehicle under warranty. Things were looking up. The manufacturer was blundering along, my lawyer was bitch slapping them at every turn....

    Now never mind that this process was costing a lot of money. At this point it was about principle - plus we were going to ask for judgment in which the legal fees were reimbursed.

    That's when reality set in.

    One rainy afternoon my lawyer called and said that we had our first M-M hearing date in federal court. I dry-cleaned my only suit and away we went.

    I'll spare you all the gory details, I'll spare you the legalese.....the defendent countered all my facts and all our prep with one simple move - they motioned the judge to have my car entered into evidence as it WAS the evidence in the case. The judge agreed. In five minutes, the manufacturer had literally prevented me from driving my car until the case was settled.

    The second move that the manufacturer did was to ask for a delay until the next hearing. The judge agreed.

    The third move that the manufacturer did was to ask for court-mandated mediation. The judge agreed.

    My lawyer protested on all counts. As a consumer, essentially robbing me of my car for months, possibly even years was contrary to the spirit of the Act. The manufacturer countered by saying that the car WAS the evidence and they needed to make sure that it was not further tampered with. They also needed time to perform their own evaluation of it. They even offered to split the costs of this impoundment with me!

    My lawyer made the point to the judge that we were getting caught up in needless procedure and minutia....that the manufacturer was on record through deposition stating that they had denied warranty work solely due to the fact that the car was modified. That they had admitted at the same deposition that the warranty issue was so severe that they had not only issued a TSB for it, but a pending recall was in the works.

    The judge was not swayed. Car was to be locked up as evidence, we were to go to mediation (which costs a shitload of money) and that the manufacturer was granted delays to gather more information.

    At this point my lawyer and I stopped for lunch. He says, look, I've worked on this for free so far....and if I was charging you, you'd be about $12K in the hole. I'll represent you for free in mediation, but until there is a verdict, mediation is split 50/50 and one day will set you back $3500. This is for $1400 worth of fucking work.

    I said let's try one day of mediation.

    Mediation consists of a neutral lawyer trying to convince both parties that they are fucked and don't have a case - so that they agree to meet in the middle. The manufacturer played pocket pool for 8 hours and then promptly asked or a second session in 90 days time.

    At this point, I had enough. The car was impounded, I had just spent $3500 to get satisfaction on a $1400 issue and by all rights probably owed my lawyer $15K. I told him that if the manufacturer supplied the new harness, I'd install it.

    They eventually agreed and the dealer actually stepped forward and installed it for me (I had a long history with them).

    Since that time (in 2015) the manufacturer actually settled with the FTC for long running violations of the MM Act.

    https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/pre...arges-its-mini-division-illegally-conditioned

    The take away for all you armchair quarterbacks and lawyers is this:

    The M-M act is a piece of paper. You are not going to scare any dealer or manufacturer with it. To actually get to the teeth of the Act, you need to litigate it. That costs time and money. Big corporations with legal staff on the payroll are not burdened with the same costs as you are. While you're spending $5K or $10K or more, all they are doing is continuing to pay the salary and benefits of people they already have on staff.

    Second, judges are laymen...what seems common sense and cut and dried to you, is probably not so to them.

    Third, the object of the lawsuit can be entered as evidence. Which means no mall crawling with your spacer lifted Bro-Taco for months.

    My advice? You pay to play. If you mod, there is always the risk that some asshole dealership under threat from corporate may give you a ration of shit. If that happens, Googling "Magnussen-Moss" and waving it in their face is only going to make you look like the naive dip shit that you probably are.

    Lastly, for the love of all that is Holy, as a rule we should all stop giving advice on things we have absolutely no fucking experience with and only limited and borderline retarded knowledge of. If we did, this forum, if not the world would be a measurably better place.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
    whitebread, Evlkarl, kyal5 and 154 others like this.
  2. May 16, 2019 at 7:02 AM
    #2
    Jaymes

    Jaymes Well-Known Member

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    Can we get this pinned/stickied?
     
  3. May 16, 2019 at 7:09 AM
    #3
    sd1uh8as

    sd1uh8as Well-Known Member

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    Are you going to sue Falken as well?
     
  4. May 16, 2019 at 7:09 AM
    #4
    tonered

    tonered tacorider

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    That is a great story. I am digging the details.

    Those two paragraphs are key. The word discovery gives me shudders.

    Thanks for the write up.
     
  5. May 16, 2019 at 7:12 AM
    #5
    stun gun

    stun gun Suffer Crew

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    This is exactly how reasonable people imagine this going down. Thank you, OP, for your story.

    Yet, there will still be posts explaining how the act works.
     
  6. May 16, 2019 at 7:13 AM
    #6
    skiploder

    skiploder [OP] Personally holding a grudge against Falken

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    I'm holding a non-legal grudge on Falken.....
     
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  7. May 16, 2019 at 7:14 AM
    #7
    Aldo98229

    Aldo98229 Well-Known Member

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    I am printing this
     
  8. May 16, 2019 at 7:16 AM
    #8
    CoastieRon

    CoastieRon Hammocking Fool

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    Too much.
    Best post on this site in weeks. LOL
     
  9. May 16, 2019 at 7:17 AM
    #9
    SR-71A

    SR-71A Define "Well-Known Member"

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    Mobtown sliders, ARB bar, dual batteries, Gen2 xrc9.5, CB, GMRS, ditch lights, Icon RXTs...
    Oooh shots fired :D

    But actually, this is a pretty good thread
     
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  10. May 16, 2019 at 7:17 AM
    #10
    Stocklocker

    Stocklocker Well-Known Member

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    In for the patch
     
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  11. May 16, 2019 at 7:18 AM
    #11
    tonered

    tonered tacorider

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    Does your post exclude dumpster fires? It must. :D
     
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  12. May 16, 2019 at 7:20 AM
    #12
    Ruggybuggy

    Ruggybuggy Well-Known Member

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    We need this as a sticky.
     
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  13. May 16, 2019 at 7:22 AM
    #13
    rmorse

    rmorse Well-Known Member

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    Excuse me, but I watched Better Call Saul and I’m fairly confident that the Magnussen Moss Act protects me from getting screwed over by the evil stealerships.
     
  14. May 16, 2019 at 7:26 AM
    #14
    no vtec 4me

    no vtec 4me Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, this needs to be shared on every car forum. Thanks for sharing your story and realistic view on what we all risk every day.
     
  15. May 16, 2019 at 7:26 AM
    #15
    Rustytaco71

    Rustytaco71 Well-Known Member

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    Out of curiosity, if the dealer were to install modifications such as a lift, and something fails related to the lift such as the front diff or say the driveline somehow fails, who’s at fault and who ponies up the cash? The dealer for installing their “backed up” product or the costumer for choosing the modification? Just curious as I could see some shady dealer making the customer cover the repair costs.
     
  16. May 16, 2019 at 7:27 AM
    #16
    BlueFox18

    BlueFox18 Well-Known Member

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    Damn good write up.
    Your time is one of your most valuable assets.
     
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  17. May 16, 2019 at 7:27 AM
    #17
    JaCado

    JaCado Sutton, Popcorn Sutton.

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    :spy:Did I hear dumpster fire???
     
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  18. May 16, 2019 at 7:28 AM
    #18
    Aldo98229

    Aldo98229 Well-Known Member

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    FWIW, I just dumped Jeep, FCA and a long 30-year history owning Chrysler vehicles because the only local dealer didn’t want to touch my lifted Jeep with 35” tires.

    I moved here two years ago. Never mind that after several attempts, the dealer was too stupid to understand that the Jeep had a factory-approved Mopar lift and $2,000 worth of Mopar-approved accessories. The reality was that my Jeep scared the crap out of them when (a) they are already bursting at the seams with warranty work, (b) FCA treats them like crap, and (c) they are the only Jeep dealer in town.

    Seeing where this was going I decided to cut my losses, dump Jeep and FCA, and move on.

    No one ever wins one of these fights: FCA lost a lifelong loyal customer, I lost forever my enjoyment of Jeeps, and the dealer lost what would have been a very profitable customer. Not only that, I now tell everyone in this small city of 90,000 people to stay away from that dealership and from Jeeps.


    It didn't matter that everything on this Wrangler was Mopar-approved. The dealer saw what looked to them like a "heavily-modified" Jeep come in for warranty work and shit a brick
    50770277_10156455110667600_2819906910432_8f41186d76e73ac6acb321ff1c93fe1cf91b9ca0.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  19. May 16, 2019 at 7:29 AM
    #19
    St.Germain

    St.Germain 5° caster

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    not too long; worth a read (for anyone wondering if they should..)

    thanks for sharing OP. hard lessons. and appreciate the effort of clarifying.
     
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  20. May 16, 2019 at 7:29 AM
    #20
    skiploder

    skiploder [OP] Personally holding a grudge against Falken

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    This is TW.

    A post eulogizing Mother Teresa would eventually turn into a dumpster fire.
     

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