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Archive for the ‘Warranty’

Buying Used? Protect Yourself!

July 14, 2011 By: LemonLaw Category: Car Buying, Carfax Report, used cars, Warranty 1 Comment →

We have been receiving a number of e-mails and phone calls lately regarding older cars.  Buying a used car is a tremendous gamble and it you’re not careful, your dream car may have previously been someone else’s nightmare.  Here are a few tips to make sure you are not taken for a ride when buying your next used car:

1) You want a warranty–and not just any warranty.  It must be a manufacturers warranty.  Yes, we realize that it may cost a bit more, but that is the only way the car company will stand behind your vehicle.  If you have a manufacturers warranty, your problems will be addressed by mechanics who are trained by the company and have access to information and tools that outside mechanics may not have.  Furthermore, if you have continuous problems with the car, we can successfully go after the manufacturer for remedy under Federal law.  We cannot hold the manufacturer responsible if you are no longer under the manufacturers warranty.  That’s like asking the doctor to treat you after your insurance lapses.

2) When it comes to accidents, it’s “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  If you do not specifically ask if a car has been in an accident, the dealer does not need to disclose the fact.  And, unfortunately, asking for a carfax is not enough.  There are times where accidents do not appear on the carfax report and the dealer cannot be held responsible for this.   However, if you ask if a car has been in an accident and the dealer says “no,” they can be held responsible if you find out they are not telling the truth. On the flip side,  dealers MUST disclose  if the car has a salvage or reconstructed title, any flood history, or if it was  a manufacturers buyback (aka “a lemon”).

3) If you are buying an “as-is” car (which we never endorse), make sure you have an outside mechanic inspect the car BEFORE you sign on the dotted line.  We understand this could cost a few bucks, but $100 now could save $1,000 or more down the road.

Lastly, take our lemon dodger worksheet with you when purchasing your car.  It provides you with all the questions you need to ask when buying a pre-owned car.  Remember, an educated consumer is an effective consumer.  Happy buying!

“No Fix Is Available At This Time.” Whose Fault Is That?

April 20, 2011 By: LemonLaw Category: Car Lemon Law, Warranty 8 Comments →

As we have frequently reported in the Lemon Law Blog, this downtrodden economy has eroded the quality of manufacturers warranties.

The industry has placed tremendous limitations on warranty repairs.  Manufacturers have set specific time limits on how long it should take for a mechanic to duplicate a problem and fix it.  Unfortunately, many problems are not addressed right away, often leaving a driver with an intermittent problem that could leave them stranded at a moment’s notice, anytime, anywhere.

Factories are closing left and right,  resulting in parts being on back order for months at a time.  Imagine leasing a convertible  that you cannot dive through the Spring months, or being offered a loaner coupe to drive your three children to soccer practice while your minivan’s in the shop.  It’s happening throughout the Country and while the Lemon Law does provide protection in these situations, not every consumer is aware of their rights.

Now we are faced with a new ever-growing dilemma.  The service advisor knows that there is a problem, they verified it, but the manufacturer does not have a fix at this time.  Whose fault is that?   Are you supposed to sit idly by and wait for technicians to come up with a fix?  Or do you take action?

If you find yourself in this predicament, the first thing you need to do is make sure the service advisor puts the term “no fix at this time” in writing on your repair invoice.  This confirms that they are aware of a problem and in essence, they are breaching their manufacturers warranty.  After all, this warranty ensures that problems will be fixed efficiently and effectively, and that is not happening.  Next, make an appointment at another manufacturer authorized dealership for a second opinion.  Take the service advisor on a test drive where you can illustrate and duplicate the problem for them.  If they also tell you there is no fix, make sure you obtain a second invoice and ask if the manufacturer has provided anything in writing to their dealerships pertaining to this problem.  At that point, you should contact 1-800-LEMON LAW or another  lemon law attorney in your state to discuss your situation and a strategy to get the matter resolved.

Remember, if you do not fight for your rights, no one else will.

 

The Importance of The Repair Invoice

June 03, 2010 By: LemonLaw Category: Lemon Law, records, repair invoices, Warranty 1 Comment →

I hope I don’t sound like a broken record, but we cannot stress the importance of repair invoices. A young lady called today on the 1800 LEMON LAW hotline  to complain about the water leaks in her Jeep–she has been there too many times to count.  Now, anyone who reads our blog knows that we are very familiar with the problem and can help her.  We just need her to provide proof of her repairs. That’s where the problem lies-the dealer never gave her repair invoices.

Every time you pick up your car from a warrantied repair visit, it is essential that you receive an invoice which outlines the mileage in, mileage out, the complaint and the solution.  Could they duplicate the problem?  Were parts replaced?  Were codes found?  Is your problem related to a technical service bulletin, known as a TSB?  Were recalls performed?  Were these repairs covered internally by the dealer, under the manufacturers warranty, or were they the responsibility of the consumer? The answers to these questions could make or break a lemon law or breach of warranty claim.

Invoices provide proof of a continuous defect and illustrate that the problem was so severe that you had to return to the dealer time and time again. In addition, the invoices and repair histories can actually strengthen a claim.  We frequently ask potential clients to fax over their repair invoices so we can have them reviewed by one of our ASE-certified experts (we have three full-time mechanics on staff).  Sometimes, problems are related and the consumer has absolutely no idea.  This afternoon alone, we took two cases dealing with issues that may not have seem related to the “every man,” but our mechanics discovered the pattern immediately.

So, I know that we all dislike clutter, but do yourself a favor and hold on to those invoices.  Throwing them away could turn out to be very costly in the long run.

VW & Mazda Warranty Changes

August 13, 2009 By: LemonLaw Category: Mazda, volkswagen, Warranty No Comments →

This just in–Edmunds is reporting that Volkswagen, once revered for having a 4 year/50,000 mile original manufacturers warranty, is now reducing the coverage to 3 years/ 36,000 miles on all 2009 models and newer.  The good news is that like several other high-end manufacturers, VW will be covering this cost of all scheduled maintenance up to 36,000 miles.  Which would you rather have–a longer warranty or free service? While some may perceive it as six of one, half a dozen of the other, that’s not really true.  You certainly could shell out a lot more money with the 14 less months of warranty coverage if a transmission or engine problem occurs at 40,000 miles, or 3 years and 2 months after you purchase your car.  One may also question why VW is shortening their warranty at a time where most companies are tyring to find a competitive edge.

Less publicized is the fact that Mazda has also reduced their manufacturers warranty from 4/50 to 3/36 as well.

No doubt these reductions in warranty protection will help the manufacturers with their bottom line, but how will the change affect sales?  Only time will tell.

Buy Buy Buy! But Be Careful.

July 25, 2009 By: LemonLaw Category: Car Buying, Car Complaint Index, Car Lemon Law, center for auto safety, Warranty 1 Comment →

No, we are not talking about that ridiculous boy band song.  We are saying that if you have some money in your pocket, now is the time to consider buying a new set of wheels. The incentives are very attractive, there are many dealers out there who are hungry to make a great deal with you, the cash for clunkers program is in effect, and there are still plenty of 2009 models out there for the picking.  Heck, you can even consider a certified pre-owned car, but as we have repeatedly reminded you, if you buy a used car, please make sure it has a manufacturers warranty.

Just remember the five golden rules you need to keep in mind when aiming to buy your next auto:

KNOW YOUR NEEDS.  Identify what you need a car for.  Is it to get to work an hour away and use as little gas as possible?  Consider a hybrid.  Is it to taxi your brood of children from soccer games to ballet to Chuck E Cheese and then back to ballet because you daughter forgot her slippers? You may want to consider a minivan or crossover.  Figure out your daily schedule and that will help you narrow down the search immensely.

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH.  It’s so important we say it three times.  The internet provides so many incredible opportunities to gather information about cars.  There are reviews on such sites as vehix.com (edit: site no longer exists), where you can even put together a side-by-side comparison.  There is a complaint and defect database at the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) website. Every manufacturer from Kia to Jaguar has a comprehensive website where you can examine a model inside and out, review its features and its pricing.  Plus, there are so many automotive forums out there, the king being at edmunds.com. And lastly, don’t forget about our car complaint index and best bets, furnished by consumer advocate Jack Gillis and the good people at the Center for Auto Safety. Before you drive to the dealer, take a trip down the information superhighway and learn everything you can about the car you are looking at. Remember, an educated consumer is an effective consumer.  (And if you do have a gas guzzler you are thinking of trading in, read up on the Cash For Clunkers program before going to the dealer.  Don’t rely on the salesman to give you the most accurate information.  Know your stuff beforehand and correct him if necessary.)

TRY IT BEFORE YOU BUY IT.  And we are not talking about a car like the one you are planning to buy; we are talking about the EXACT car you are buying.  BEFORE you sign on the dotted line, take the car out for a long test drive and go through every single feature from the air conditioner to the trunk release.  Make sure you ask every question and if something is not working, tell them to fix it NOW.  Never settle for an IOU.  This is your one chance to demand satisfaction.  Take advantage of the opportunity. 

UNDERSTAND YOUR WARRANTY.  Every warranty is different.  You need to know the terms of the warranty and what it covers.  Is it cheaper to buy an extended manufacturers warranty when you first buy the car or can you purchase it later?  If this is a used car, is it covered by the company who is manufacturing your car? (We get so many folks calling the 1-800 LEMON LAW hotline who are driving a used Toyota with a Kia warranty. Make sure if you are driving a Toyota, you have a Toyota warranty.)  Are there deductibles?  Is it bumper-to-bumper or does it just cover the power-train components?  Is roadside assistance offered?  Are loaner cars provided?  The warranty is your insurance that if something goes wrong with this car, and chances are it will at least once, you are covered.  Which bring us to…..

FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS.  If something continues to go wrong with your car, or the car is in the shop for an extended period of time, contact a lemon law attorney to find out about your rights.  The State and Federal Laws are on your side and help you go against the billion-dollar automobile manufacturers. Remember, the legal help is completely free, so take advantage of it.

Now, without further ado, get your motor running, head out on the highway, and good luck!

Is Chrysler’s Bankruptcy Affecting Your Rights?

May 22, 2009 By: LemonLaw Category: auto bailout, bankruptcy, Car Lemon Law, Chrysler, dodge, jeep, jeep commander, jeep grand cherokee, jeep liberty, jeep wrangler, legislation, Lemon Law, Warranty 2 Comments →

No doubt you have read all about the Chrysler bankruptcy in the headlines.  It has been covered by print outlets and blogs throughout the Country, or perhaps you heard Kimmel and Silverman attorney Bob Silverman discuss the situation on the local news.  All current Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep owners and anyone who intends to purchase one of these cars in the near future has hit a pothole when it comes to their consumer rights under State Lemon Law and Federal Warranty Law

As a result of the manufacturer filing in bankruptcy court, all lemon law and breach of warranty claims currently in litigation have been “stayed” or stalled until we receive instruction from the court on how to proceed.  But that’s not all; we have over 20 consumers waiting for complete repurchases or refunds, agreed upon before the manufacturer filed for bankruptcy, who are now stuck.  These folks each have signed releases from the manufacturer.  One client is a handicapped woman who desperately needs her Dodge conversion van to get around, and it has been in the shop numerous times for transmission problems. Another client, who has faced tough financial problems himself, already turned his car in and was waiting for his repurchase, and now he has no car, and no money. Plus, being that his creditor was never paid, he is facing the prospect of his lemon car being repossessed and ruining his credit.  Dozens of other folks have received checks which have bounced and these checks were dated prior to the 4/30 filing.

Currently, Kimmel and Silverman is working extensively on efforts to make sure Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep consumers are protected.  The manufacturers stance (and the PR statement we have heard from Washington DC and DCC headquarters) is your cars will be fully covered under warranty.  But, that’s not really the case.  If you can find a dealer that hasn’t closed, and they do have the part you need in stock (doubtful as a result of the closed factories and stop in production), what happens if they still can’t fix the problem?  If the check engine light keeps coming on?  If the water leak keeps reoccurring, resulting in mold?  If the windows still don’t go down?  If the car still won’t start?  And you are back one, two, three, four times?  Well, under normal circumstances, you would be able to use your rights under State and Federal Law to seek recourse, either a complete buyback, a new vehicle, or monetary damages to reflect the diminished value of the car as a result of the problems that occurred.  But that’s not the case right now.  Right now, Chrysler feels you are entitled to nothing other than continuous repair.  And, the new company that is looking to take over Chrysler is NOT interested in taking over these responsibilities; they do not want to compensate all the distressed drivers who have suffered defects or are currently suffering defects with their products.  The language in their motion is very unclear and contradicts itself.

We are currently working on a motion in an attempt for Chrysler to establish a litigation trust for those people who were entitled to recourse under warranty claims.  We will keep you abreast of our progress. In the meantime, we encourage you to reach out to your State’s consumer protection division and attorney general office and make sure they are aware of this situation.  Ask them what they are doing to advocate for consumers in perhaps one of the most troubling situations we have ever seen.

Confused? No doubt.  if you feel you have a potential DCC lemon law or breach of warranty claim and you would like to discuss this situation and your rights further, please e-mail us or call 1-800 LEMON LAW (1-800-536-6652). (Our firm handles claims in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut,  Massachusetts, New York and New Hampshire.  For other states, please visit www.lemonlawamerica.com.) We will be more than happy to go over your matter with you. 

 

 

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