Auto recalls gone bad: Who pays?

Hyundai is paying for repairs under a safety recall, but says I’ll be charged to fix components damaged during the process

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From the Summer 2014 issue of the magazine.

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Image courtesy of Surachai/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Surachai/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Q: “Hyundai is paying to repair my rear suspension under a safety recall, but the dealer says I’ll be charged to fix any components inadvertently damaged during the process. What can I do?”

R. MacNab, St. Eugene, Ont.

A: Components damaged during the repair process should be covered by the manufacturer, but items that would inevitably have to be replaced due to normal wear and tear (like rubber suspension bushings or shock absorbers) may require that you contribute to the cost under the principle of “betterment.” Canada’s auto recall legislation does not require the automaker to provide the repair free of charge—the manufacturer is required only to send you a notice. Provincial laws covering defective goods would likely make the automaker responsible for the cost of all parts and service related to correcting a safety or warranty repair due to a defect, including wheel alignments required after suspension work. However, actually getting an automaker to ante up is sometimes a challenge.

George Iny is the president of the Automobile Protection Association. Send him your automotive questions at ask@moneysense.ca.

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