KIMMEL & SILVERMAN, ATTORNEYS AT LAW
1) True or False: If I buy a car and something goes wrong with it, I have three days to return the car. It's a law.
Answer: False. It's one of the most common misconceptions around. This 3-day rule applies to home sales such as vacuum cleaners and cutlery. It is not for cars. Once you sign the papers, once you drive the car off the lot, it is yours no matter if the check engine light turns on when you are driving home or if the tire falls off. This is more of a reason why you should test drive the exact car you are planning to buy BEFORE you sign the final papers. Also, if you are buying a used car, pay to have a private mechanic look at the car prior to purchase. There is a worksheet available online, Lemon Dodger Worksheet, which you can take with you when purchasing a used car. Also, check out on-line car reporting services, such as www.carfax.com, which can provide the history of the vehicle.
2) True or False: Once I have driven a car off the lot and signed a sales agreement, there is no way a dealer can change the price on me.
Answer: True. Once you sign a retail sales agreement, the sale is binding and the car is yours for the amount of money agreed upon. If a salesman tries to call you later and tell you that your financing didn't go through, or they forgot to add in the commission for the salesperson, and they need you to come back to the dealership, be very weary. You could end up the victim of "spot delivery" a practice some shadier dealers commit to get you to buy the car on the spot. Then, they pressure or threaten you to come back 3 or 4 weeks later and pay more money. If this happens to you, hold on to all of your original paperwork. You could file a lawsuit against the dealer.
3) True or False: If I purchase a car and later figure out that I can't afford to make the payments, I can return the car and it won't affect my credit as long as I can prove financial hardship.
Answer: False. A retail sales agreement is binding so if you buy a car and then figure out you can't afford it, don't think anyone is going to cut you a break. You are financially responsible for the terms of the agreement regardless of the situation and if you don't abide by agreement, it will significantly hurt your credit report.
4) True or False: I can ask the dealer to show me what he paid for the car he is selling.
Answer: True. It is a good practice to ask to see the dealer's invoice to find out exactly what type of profit the dealer is making off the purchase. If the dealer doesn't want to show you his invoice, you have to question what he may be hiding.
5) True or False: If I buy a used car and the car has been in an accident, the dealer must tell me that prior to sale.
Answer: False. When it comes to accidents, it's a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. if you buy a used car and you never ask the dealer about the history of the vehicle, he is not required to tell you. However, if you ask if the car has been in an accident, the dealer is now liable if he gives you wrong information. This is very important to know and another reason why you should use carfax to research a vin number prior to purchase of a used car. Also, if you buy a new car, the dealer is not responsible for telling you about any damage that cost less than $500 to fix, so if the door was scratched and they buffed it out prior to you buying the car, they do not have to tell you.
6) True or False: The Lemon Law not only applies to major problems such as the transmission and engine, but also to electrical problems, water leaks, rattles, and paint problems.
Answer: True. When many people think of lemons, they think that it has to a major catastrophe, but problems such as mold, lights flickering, knocking in the front end, and electrical sliding doors could all be a basis for a lemon law claim, provided the car has been in three times for the same problem or for the same part. Keep track of your invoices. In addition, if you notice a severe paint problem, a manufacturer normally has only one chance to fix that problem and if it's not fixed to your liking, you can file a claim. For more information on the Lemon Law, you can visit www.lemonlaw.com or contact another consumer attorney.
7) True or False: If a new car is in the shop for 30 days in the first year, regardless of whether it's for the same problem or different problems, the driver can file a lemon law claim.
Answer: True. The Pennsylvania Lemon Law covers cars that are in the shop for 30 days in the first year. That includes if the car is waiting for a part on back order. The New Jersey Lemon Law covers cars in the shop for 20 days in the first year. The Massachusetts Lemon Law covers cars that are in the shop for 15 days during the first year. The only thing that normally doesn't count is recalls. The number of days does not have to be consecutive either.
8) True or False: If I have a manufacturers warranty and something goes wrong with my car, I have to take it to the dealer where I purchased the car, even if it's far from my home.
Answer: False. No matter what your dealer tells you, if your car has a manufacturer's warranty, you can take it to any authorized manufacturer service shop for repairs. You do not have to take it back to the dealer you bought the car from. Also, if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving at a particular dealership, you can switch and get your car serviced at another shop at any time.
9) True or False: Used cars are covered under the Lemon Law.
Answer: False (with some exceptions). Used cars are not covered under most state Lemon Laws, with Massachusetts and New Jersey being exceptions. However, if your car has a manufacturer's warranty and there are a number of significant repairs, you can file a claim under the Federal Law known as the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act.
10) True or False: A consumer under the age of 25 may be denied a loaner while their car is in service because of their age.
Answer: True. Certain rental car agencies will not rent cars to drivers under the age of 25. If you are a younger consumer, you need to ask about the loaner car policy before you buy your car to protect yourself.