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Trade Associations Ask FTC to Withdraw Kia Bulletin

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May 29, 2014—The Auto Care Association, Automotive Oil Change Association, Service Station Dealers of America and Tire Industry Association recently joined forces to ask the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take immediate action to have Kia withdraw a technical bulletin warning consumers not to use non-OEM filters.

The associations said the bulletin is a violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA).

The four associations said they submitted a complaint to the FTC four years ago regarding a technical service bulletin from Kia that authorized dealers to deny warranty coverage based on the use of an aftermarket filter without any determination that the filter caused the vehicle problem.

“Despite the complaint, the FTC has yet to do anything to enforce the MMWA requirements with Kia. Now, Consumer Reports (CR) is further promoting the Kia technical bulletin in an article that has been seen on the Yahoo’s front page, as well as other locations. If there was any doubt about how the technical bulletin is being interpreted by consumers, one only needs to read the recommendations from CR for motorists with Kia vehicles under warranty,” said the letter to the FTC, which was sent Tuesday.

According to the Consumer Reports article, consumers should take their Kia to the dealer for oil changes if the vehicle is still under powertrain warranty, consider buying Kia-approved oil filters and authorize all repairs performed.

“Note that CR is specifically recommending that car owners either go back to the authorized dealer or use a Kia oil filter in direct contravention of the consumer options codified in MMWA. To arrive at that recommendation, the report perpetuates Kia’s sleight of hand regarding the manufacturer’s burden of proof. In Kia’s world, and now CR’s as well, it is the consumer who must prove that an aftermarket filter didn’t cause engine damage, which is exceptionally handy for Kia given their failure to establish a technical basis for their proprietary filter mandate,” read the letter.

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