— The Mopar Vehicle Protection Plan isn't worth it if you ask a California Dodge Viper owner who filed a class action lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler (FCA US).
Plaintiff Ebby Bakhtiar, who owns a 2015 Dodge Viper, alleges the Mopar Vehicle Protection Plan did nothing to help with his fuel economy, gas cap latch and a passenger-side power window problems.
Bakhtiar proposes a class action lawsuit consisting of California consumers who purchased Mopar Vehicle Protection Plans for Dodge Vipers from January 1, 2010, to the present.
The plaintiff says he purchased a 2015 Dodge Viper from a dealership in May 2015. In 2017 before his original warranty lapsed, Bakhtiar purchased a vehicle warranty extension plan from FCA called the Mopar Vehicle Protection Plan for $2,600.
“FCA marketed the . . . Plan as an extension of the manufacturer's warranty and another way for Viper owners to essentially receive wrap around protection of their vehicle. FCA agreed to pay the total costs (parts and labor) less a deductible per visit, to correct [certain] mechanical failures.” — Mopar Vehicle Protection Plan lawsuit
To obtain service under the plan, the plaintiff was told he should return to the Chrysler dealer who sold the plan. However, the plan also allows owners to "request service from any Dealer within the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico or Mexico."
Bakhtiar says he contacted a Chrysler dealer in 2019 regarding his 2015 Viper but was allegedly told the dealer “would not honor the . . . Plan because [it] would not receive any compensation for the work from FCA, and even if [it] wanted to, could not do the service because it did not have ‘Certified Viper Techs' that could work on repairs.”
The plaintiff alleges he “spent numerous hours speaking with [the dealer] as well as making inquiries to other Dodge dealerships to locate a ‘Certified Viper Dealer' and/or ‘Viper Techs' in the greater Los Angeles area.”
“Because FCA imposed a requirement that only Certified Viper Techs could service Plaintiff's vehicle and did not require its FCA Dealers to employ the services of Certified Viper Techs to honor the terms of the Service Contract, the repairs to Plaintiff's vehicle were never made . . . .”
According to the class action, to repair his Viper would cost about $3,100 and the car still hasn't been repaired.
The current version of the class action is the third amended lawsuit, and the judge has already dismissed claims against the Chrysler dealer and Mopar Motors, leaving FCA as the only remaining defendant.
Motion to Dismiss the Mopar Vehicle Protection Plan Lawsuit
FCA argues the judge should dismiss a breach of contract claim because the plaintiff allegedly fails to allege a breach nor damages. The judge had previously dismissed the claim but allowed the plaintiff to amend his allegations.
According to the judge, FCA's role in the matter is not so clear because the lawsuit indicates it was the Chrysler dealership that did not honor the plan. This means the dealer's refusal to service the Viper does not necessarily imply a breach on FCA's part.
However, the judge didn't dismiss the claim because the plaintiff alleges he contacted FCA's customer assistance department, which “failed to resolve Plaintiff's concerns.”
"This allegation, taken along with the remaining allegations regarding FCA's promises and the general characteristics of the manufacturer-authorized dealer relationship, is sufficient to plausibly implicate FCA in the breach." — Judge Otis D. Wright, II
The judge also allowed a damages claim to move forward by ruling "there is a reasonable reading of the Plan under which FCA promised Bakhtiar he would be able to receive service at any authorized FCA dealership in the countries listed."
The plaintiff also succeeded in alleging damages in the form of diminution to the value of his Dodge Viper because no dealer could be found to make repairs according to the Mopar Vehicle Protection Plan.
The judge also found the plaintiff received a Plan that was less valuable than the Plan he was promised.
The Mopar Vehicle Protection Plan lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Ebby Bakhtiar v. FCA US LLC.
The plaintiff is represented by Girardi Keese.