The Lemon Law seems simple enough to enforce, right? I mean if your car is in the shop three or four times, or an extended period of time, any consumer should be able to speak to their dealer and get a new car under the Law. It seems easy enough. But, alas we do not live in an ideal world. First of all, in any lemon law and breach of warranty claim, you are not going against the dealership. You are going against the manufacturer and therefore you need access to the manufacturer’s legal team.
Secondly, I can’t count the number of times a consumer has met with a field representative and just because the field rep said “you have no claim,” the consumer backs off. Why is that? Why would you trust someone who has a subjective opinion. The same applies to BBB. Don’t get me wrong–I have nothing against Better Business Bureau, but it is important to note that their automotive arbitration programs are funded by the manufacturer. Therefore, they have the homecourt advantage. Plus, you are going up against them, by yourself with no ammunition, no knowledge of the law, no case studies, no expert reports, no access to TSBs…..in most situations, you are opening yourself up to defeat. And speaking of defeat, if you do lose against the BBB, and you still feel you are right, do not give up!
Lately, I have been getting phone calls from folks who decide to try it out on their own first. We discuss the law with them in detail and it seems simple enough that they can handle it. Then, they call back because they got themselves in a bit of a jam. They thought they were getting a swap that turned out to be a trade-in, the dealer is offering them a couple months’ payment and they are losing their rights if future problems exist, they are questioning themselves because the field representative was so rude to them. STOP! Why are you doing this to yourselves?
There was an excellent article in USA Today written by Jayne O’Donnell on the lemon law. It is a wonderful consumer statute designed to help people….and it does help thousands of distressed drivers every month. But, one thing Jayne did not mention is that under Federal and State Law, to keep you on an equal footing with the billion-dollar automotive manufacturer, you are entitled to completely COST-FREE legal representation. That does not mean contingency; that means free. No-risk. I know there is a certain amount of fear and loathing when it comes to hiring a lawyer, but in this type of situation, you are doing yourself a huge disservice if you don’t. You open yourself to being taken advantage of. Just make sure the lawyer you are using does not charge a retainer or a contingency. You should also find a firm that has mechanics on staff who can inspect your vehicle and submit objective reporting. And make sure the lawyer handles this type of work…s/he should be a specialist, not a generalist…..someone who is familiar with laws and the problems you are experiencing. Plus, if you hire the right lemon law lawyer, this matter may be resolved within weeks just by getting the invoices in the hand of the right person.
I hope you don’t feel deflated after reading this post. The fact of the matter is you have more reinforcement than you realize and when you realize that, you open yourself to a quicker and more substantial recovery.
Hoppy Easter to you and yours….Get it? Hoppy 🙂 I crack myself up sometimes.