A Kansas man has filed a proposed class action lawsuit in which he claims FCA US and Topeka’s Olathe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram have collaborated in an effort to circumvent the lifetime warranty on his 2009 Dodge Ram 1500.
The lawsuit relays that the plaintiff’s Dodge Ram 1500 ostensibly came with a lifetime powertrain limited warranty covering costs for all parts and labor needed to repair powertrain components, including intake and exhaust manifolds and seals and gaskets, deemed defective in workmanship or materials. In truth, the plaintiff argues, the purported lifetime powertrain limited warranty was a five-year warranty that could be extended only if a vehicle owner took certain steps.
According to the suit, the plaintiff’s apparent lifetime warranty could lapse if he failed to have a powertrain inspection performed by an authorized Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep dealer once every five years and within 60 days of each five-year anniversary of the in-service date of the vehicle. Within this 120-day window, or between August 3 and December 30, 2014, the plaintiff took his vehicle to an authorized dealer for an oil change, at which time a 23-point inspection was performed on the truck, the suit states.
Roughly 17 months later, the case says, the plaintiff noticed “strange ticking noises” coming from his vehicle and brought it back to defendant Olathe Dodge for service with the understanding that his truck was still covered by a lifetime warranty. The plaintiff says the dealer discovered that broken bolts were in the vehicle’s exhaust manifold. The repairs needed to fix the problem, however, were not covered under any lifetime powertrain warranty because, unbeknownst to the plaintiff, Olathe Dodge did not perform the mandatory powertrain inspection during the December 22, 2014 oil change, according to the suit.
The plaintiff alleges that despite taking his vehicle to Olathe Dodge every 3,000 miles for service and despite his truck being at the dealership for such during the relevant warranty window, the defendant did not perform the five-year anniversary powertrain inspection when it conducted its 23-point inspection, allowing his lifetime warranty to expire. The plaintiff claims he paid more than $1,300 for repairs he believes should have been covered by the lifetime warranty.
While Olathe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram asserts that it’s the driver’s responsibility to ask for the required powertrain inspection, the plaintiff stresses that that responsibility lies with the defendant, who, the case says, “knew or should have known the Ram was due for the five-year anniversary required inspection.”
With regard to the repair issue that sparked the dispute described in the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges Olathe Dodge and FCA “actively concealed” mechanical problems with the 2009 Ram’s exhaust manifold from customers, with the latter instructing dealers to perform repairs “if customers complain.”
The lawsuit surmises that thousands of consumers nationwide have had lifetime warranties invalidated by FCA US as a result of the requirements to maintain such being concealed or due to dealerships failing to conduct mandatory inspections. Initially filed in Johnson County Court, the lawsuit has been removed to Kansas District Court.