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AOCA Discusses Weights and Measures Topics

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Aug. 14, 2020—The Automotive Oil Change Association held this month’s AOCA Talk Live on July 28, focusing on weights and Measures guidelines and how they may impact quick lube businesses.

Panelists included Eric Frankenberger, president of Oil Changers; Justin Cialella, president and CEO of Victory Lane; Joanna Johnson, AOCA’s policy advisor; and Dave Everett, vice president of business development and the national sales training director for Service Champ.

To start, Johnson says the AOCA recently formed an alliance with the Filter Manufacturers Council to fight violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. The act requires manufacturers and sellers who do offer written warranties to clearly disclose and describe the terms of those warranties, among other things, according to FindLaw.

“We became acutely aware of the lack of practical data on oil filters when Kia and Hyundai started trying to require their brand filter,” Johnson says. “We were the first organization to figure it out that what they were doing was more than a Magnuson-Moss Act violation. What they were really doing was hiding a defective engine.”

Now, the alliance allows them to work closely together with the Filter Manufacturers Council to show Magnuson-Moss Act violations, with a tie sales of brand products and services, are being used to cover up engine defects. The latest is Johnson v. FCA, a class action alleging excessive oil consumption defecting Jeeps with Tigershark engines, which include models like the Cherokee, Renegade, and Compass.

 

Labels and Receipts 

The panel also discussed labeling and receipt regulations in the weights and measures guidelines. Recently, General Motors published images of its new Silverado truck with an oil cap that says Dexos 2 0W-20, which Johnson says is a real problem because the vehicle actually requires Dexos D Diesel engine oil, which is not the same thing. 

Johnson says  if General Motors were to require Dexos of any kind and only the OEM brand of Dexos, that’s a Magnuson-Moss violation, but if they are labeling with the wrong kind of oil, now you have a problem under the Weights and Measures violation.

With that, Johnson says what is put on labels also determines what we put on customer receipts and what operators expect on delivery receipts from distributors, too. Because operators are ordering the recommended oil for the vehicle, as the label states, they should not be liable for the damage to the vehicle.

“You begin to understand why it is critical that you get the accurate receipt information upon delivery from your [distributor] driver whenever they are leaving bulk products at your store,” Johnson says.

Johnson says this delivery receipt information you receive from the driver is your legal connection to your future case regarding this issue to show that you ordered the right product recommended and that you received this product at your shop. With concerns like this, Johnson stresses the importance of keeping this documentation.

Frankenberger, who operates Oil Changers in California, says the state has many different inspectors they report to. But when it comes to the oil quality, this inspector comes from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. 

To ease the process, Oil Changers has a dedicated person for their operations who works on environmental compliance issues when it comes to working with distributors on labels and regulatory standards. While he says it is difficult for every operation to have someone dedicated to this, the training will provide smaller operators with the tools to handle these issues.

For Cialella in Michigan, he says Victory Lane works with the state’s Department of Agriculture to help develop and understand the inspection process of its distributor products.

“As legitimate, good operators, we want this type of regulation; this helps us,” Cialella says. “It brings integrity into the process and it really creates the trust between, not only us and our suppliers, but us and the consumer.” 

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