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FCA US Requirements for “Lifetime” Powertrain Warranty Class Action

FCA Dodge Ram Truck

Two issues are argued in this class action against FCA US, LLC and Olathe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram. One is a breach of warranty claim for a “manifold bolt issue.” The other concerns the requirements to maintain a “lifetime” warranty, which the complaint alleges are concealed from customers so they allow the warranty to become invalid.

The Nationwide Class for this action is all persons who bought a vehicle from FCA US, LLC and were given a Lifetime Powertain Limited Warranty on or after October 31, 2009. A Kansas Class has also been proposed for those who bought their vehicles in Kansas.

FCA, which was formerly known as Chrysler Group, LLC, has offered a “lifetime” warranty since 2007. The complaint says the warranty could only lapse if the vehicle did not have “a powertrain inspection performed by an authorized Chrysler, Dodge, or Jeep dealer once every 5 years … made within sixty (60) days of each 5 year anniversary of the in-service date of the vehicle.” 

That means that the plaintiff in this case, Michael Marksberry, had a 120-day window around the five-year anniversary of putting his Dodge Ram into service—sixty days before the date and sixty days after.

During this period, the complaint alleges, Marksberry did take his truck in to an authorized dealer, Olathe Dodge. Olathe changed the oil and performed a twenty-three-point inspection. The complaint alleges that if Marksberry needed to have a separate powertrain inspection, either FCA or Olathe should have told him.

Marksberry only found out that his “lifetime” warranty no longer existed when he took the truck in for another problem. 

He had noticed a ticking sound in the vehicle and had taken it back to Olathe for servicing under the “lifetime” warranty. It turned out that the truck had what the complaint describes as “broken bolts in the exhaust manifold, an ongoing issue with vehicles like [Marksberry’s] the dealer was aware of…” However, the “lifetime” warranty had lapsed because the twenty-three-point inspection had not included the required powertrain inspection.

Marksberry says he had taken the vehicle in to Olathe every 3,000 miles for servicing. According to the complaint, the truck was at Olathe during the 120-day window when the powertrain inspection should have been performed, but Olathe did not perform it. This allowed the “lifetime” warranty to expire. Also, FCA did not send him any notice that the warranty was about to expire.

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