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Lemon Law Questions



  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Let's see, you have several items here.

    1) Top line or bottom line. You have two things here. To me, 'co-signing' mean a second person signs as being responsible for paying for the LOAN if the first person stops paying. But, more than ONE person can also be the OWNER OF A VEHICLE (me and my wife both own all our cars). A loan co-signer does not necessarily have to be a co-owner. So, you need to look at your paperwork and determine what went on with your purchase. There should be loan papers showing who is the primary on the loan and who co-signed. There should be ownership/title papers showing who owns the car.

    2) Milage. Look at the paperwork for the 'certified' policy. It will show what is covered, for how long (time), and how many miles. Some 'certifications' are only good for 3 months/4,500miles after you buy the car. Some are for 4,5,6 years/60, 80, 100,000 miles total age/milage of the car. You need to look and see what you got with a 'certification'. If throughout the purchase you thought you were buying a car with 38,500 miles, but the odometer says 43,500 miles, this difference could be a problem. If you only have 'certification' that lasts for 4,500 miles after you bought it, then you are already out of this milage period. The dealership needs to resolve this problem and get the appropriate paperwork corrected and re-issued.

    3) Check engine light. What is the 'unsolveable' check engine problem? Is this being covered under the 'certification'? The answer to this question should be a Yes or No answer. (Am I right in that you bought the car in one place and are taking it to another place for this problem's repair?) If this is a covered item, and is not going to cost any money to repair, ask a direct question - Can you fix my car? If they answer No, then take it somewhere else.

    4) What state are you in? In general, most used car have NO 'Lemon Law' warranty, only new cars can be. But I think some states do require even used cars to have some kind of 'implied' warranty. Give the state you bought the car, people in that state can respond and tell you if there is some state law that might cover the car.

    I'm sorry for the problem you are having with what is probably the first car you have ever owned. If you spend some time reading the paperwork you received, and giving more info on the above items, there may be some additional answers the readers of this forum can give you.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    In general, I don't agree. I feel in 90% of the time, an inspection is almost worthless. You will pay $100/$200 and have little more idea about the future reliability of a car.

    The best mechanic does not have pre-cognition or x-ray vision. He will have no idea if or when something is going to fail in the future.

    For finding things already wrong with the car - I think people should be able to decide during test drives if there is something significantly wrong with a car.

    Does it start quickly? And idle smoothly?
    Is the check engine light on? (For any car, if it is on, run away. Why would anyone buy a car with something wrong staring them in the face?)
    Are there any strange sounds when at idle or when driving. (A test drive is not for testing the radio. Keep it turned off. Play with the radio while sitting on the car lot.)
    Does the heater work?
    Does the AC work?
    Do the brakes stop the car? Are there any noises when braking? Does the car/brake peddle pulse/vibrate or make any noise while braking.
    Does the car pull? Drive the car at highway speeds. Does it vibrate or not track well.
    Look at the tires. Are they 'matched'. Do they have a lot of tread left?
    Do all the lights, turn signal light, and brake lights work?
    Open the hood. Even if you have no idea what's under there, look. Is it dirty, oily, greasy? Is there a missing cap or dipstick? Has someone been cutting into the wiring, hoses, or ducts? (Also inside - if there are wires handing down under the dash, this is bad.) Are there unplugged hoses?
    Does the car have an aftermarket security system, remote starter, or an aftermarket stereo system? All of these WILL cause problems.

    If any of these items are not right, walk away. There are thousands of used cars for sale nearby, in anyone's location.

    Other than the above, no one is going to be able to tell if, for example, the alternator, battery, transmission, power seat, etc, etc, etc is going to soon fail. Or continue to work fine for 10 years and 100,000 miles.

    Of course, the above is for someone with some amount of what is called 'common sense'. For people with none, maybe spending $200 would be a good deal.
  • brown2428brown2428 Posts: 9
    edited March 2010
    A week before i was supposed to go to arbitration with the BBB agaist GM, GM offered to repurchase my vehicle, if I stopped arbitration. Well, I believed them and stopped arbitration and started looking for another vehilce. Little did I know they were going to treat the replacement like a trade. The car dealer wanted over 3,000 dollars down and tried to charge me 13% intrest. I walked out on the deal because my understanding of replacement is you exchange cars. I didn't know I would have to pay a higher interest than what I already have on my previous car and put money down. Everytime I call the GM rep that is dealing with the car dealership,he tells me he will take care of it and contact me back, but he always go to the dealership first and most of the time I hear from the car dealership instead of him. The car dealer lowered the interest to 9.39 then 8 then back to 9.39. The car dealer changed the down payments and interes rates so much, I didn't want to work with them anymore. They told me they had to go back up on my interest rate because they had to run my credit again and my score ha dropped 12pts, which was not true, according to the credit score I paid for through the credit bureau. I told GM person I didn't want to work with this car dealership and he said I didn't have to, later changed that statment and told me I had to. I don't understand why i have to drive 19 miles to work with a dealership of their choice, when I have 3 GM dealerships within 5 miles of my home. I don't uderstand why a replacement is being treated as a trade. I don't understand why the GM rep never calls me back when I call him with questions or problems with the dealership, he aways go to the dealership and they call me with more bull. Can anyone give me any insight on how a repurchase deal is suppose to be handled? I am thinking about contacting a lawyer to handle this for me. Any advice, information or suggestions will be most welcomed. Thanks in advance for any help or advice that anyone can give.

  • duke15duke15 Posts: 161
    I recommend using a lawyer. I did with another manufacturer and they bought my car back, to include any interest I paid on the loan and insurance on the car, plus my lawyer's fees.
  • tuggajbtuggajb Posts: 646
  • Does anyone know what the effect is on your credit score when a dealer re purchases your car due to the lemon law? I filed for arbitration and when the dealership received the papers, they immediately called to settle and repurchase the car. I'm concerned because they do the same thing on a repo I believe, and I was wondering if this would have a negative effect? I can't find this answer anywhere, any help is greatly appreciated.
  • It shouldn't have any effect if your payments were made on time.
  • exb0exb0 Posts: 539
    Your question doesn't make sense to me. In my experience it is the manufacturer who is repurchasing the car, instead of the dealer. Dealer does the repairs and provides the facility for the manufacturer's agent to take the delivery of the car.

    Is it a used car, and what state do live in?
  • bab66bab66 Posts: 1
    I just purchased a brand new 2011 ford fiesta- by brand new I mean it had about 10 miles on it. It has had issues starting atleast 4 times but I don't know that each time would count according to the rules to file it as a lemon. Anyway here is the info on each time. I have two service records but atleast 4 records from roadside assistance- I don't even have my license plate or registration yet it was purchased last month around the second week of october.

    1) wouldn't start- called roadside they jumped and it worked. drove straight to dealership they tested the battery for maybe a minute said it was fine and sent me away.

    2) wouldn't start- called roadside they jumped it again. I brought it in but they couldn't find anything wrong with it. They said they were leaving the ticket open in case an issue happened within the next few days so I took it home after a day or two.

    3) wouldn't start- service department said to tow it instead of jumping it sothat they could see the problem while it occured. since it was sunday the driver wouldn't tow it to them sooo i jumped it and drove it in. they couldn't get it to act up after a few days so they changed the battery and gave it back.

    4) wouldn't start- towed it this time! they said it started right up when it got there. they kept it until it acted up for them. got through to ford had to replace a part, something about the computer. they gave it back to me a few days ago.

    5) wouldn't start- today is sunday so i can't tow it again. will send it back in the morning since they are closed today. Also, a few times it has taken two tries to get it going.

    - So, I have two service records from all of this because the first time they didn't really check it and they counted some of the other times together. I can get info from roadside although each tow truck driver didn't give me anything to sign (now i realize i should have asked!) Does this count? do I need to wait until I have two more issues? It's really an inconvenience to not know when my car is going to work. I have checked around and other fiesta owners don't have issues.

    Also my mom mentioned that there is a possibility that this car had been messed with before I purchased it. It's a specific color that the lot was low on. They had one when we went but it was in the shop (the salesman drove us around to find the color I wanted, showed us one, and mentioned they were taking parts off of it to put on another car...i should have left right then! it's my first car purchase so i wasn't as thorough as i should have been) but we were told that mine was coming from another location. it a lemon and what do I do next?
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    I really don't like this entire message topic. Because Lemon Laws are state specific. So, unless we know the state you bought the car, no one can give specific answers.

    What I would do - I would make a definite appointment with someone at the dealer that sold you the car. Someone in management, or several management people. Like the sales manager and the service manager. TELL them you want your car fixed correctly. Having what, 5 occurances, of 'no start' are not acceptable. Request a printout from their service department of your car's service history. If it is not complete, add your own description (date, time, action) of the missing 'jump' and/or 'tow' episodes. Are you paying to have the tows? If so, get copies of your credit card payment, etc. Get documentation. Call the tow companies and request a copy of the charge. Get documentation.

    I would not 'threaten' the dealer with a lemon law action. This will just probably make them 'firm up' and not want to deal with you at all. But you need to start developing documentation on the past problems and any future problems. This includes any phone calls or discussion in person. Get peoples names.

    What you need to be doing is getting ready for a lemon law action. Get in the internet and find your states' lemon law requirements. You will then know yourself what is required and if what has happened to you is covered by your state law. Get in the yellow pages and call some lawyers and ask if they have any experience with lemon law cases. A lawyer should be able to answer this over the phone. If the problem continues, you should have paper documentation of each occurance. You should KNOW what your state requires to trigger a lemon law claim. If you want legal support, you should know at least the name of a lawyer that would represent you. Then, have one final sit-down with the dealer and lay out these facts. Tell them you are going for a lemon law action unless they can fix your car. Give them one more time. Demand a car to drive while they are working on yours.

    For a new car, what is happening to you is not acceptable.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Because Lemon Laws are state specific.

    True, but 50 state lemon law topics would be a bit much to handle. I do agree that naming the state in a query is a good idea.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • exb0exb0 Posts: 539
    Google your state's lemon law. Most states require three attempts and the "last chance" letter.

    You have two service receipts, that's good enough. You need to send Ford the "last chance" certified letter today. Ford's address and arbitration procedures should have been included in a separate booklet with your owners manual. When Ford receives the letter, they will schedule an appointment for you with a factory rep, and try to fix it again. If the car doesn't start after that, it's a lemon.

    Don't talk to anybody at the dealer about this anymore. Lemon issues are handled by the manufacturer.
  • I'm in California and I have a 2009 Jetta station wagon that I purchased brand new. Since then, I have had to take it into the shop three times because the check engine light has come on. The second time they even replaced the car computer which they said was faulty.

    I am very conerned I may have a lemon and that this problem will continue after the manufacturer warranty runs out. Does anyone knows if there are applicable laws here? How does VW deal with situations like this? Who do I have to contact?

  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    If your car has been repaired and is now running ok, you don't have a case for anything.

    From reading these forums, VW's are, in general, not one of the most reliable automobiles.
  • :lemon: When the manufacturer buys back a lemon, they ordinarily take care of the loan payoff as part of the process so your credit wouldn't be affected. When a dealer buys back a vehicle, you have to be more careful to make sure your credit doesn't get messed up by any car dealer tricks that could be going on in the process. Check the paperwork carefully to make certain it says the dealer is paying off the loan balance as part of the deal. Some manufacturers pay their dealers to buy back a defective vehicle so that they can claim it wasn't a "real" lemon law buyback. That way they can avoid the many title branding laws that exist and avoid labeling the vehicle permanently as a lemon vehicle. It's illegal generally to do it that way, but most consumers don't realize it and just want to unload their lemon and move on in life, so it is seldom found out about or prosecuted by state attorney generals in charge of lemon law enforcement.
  • I bought a new Elantra in January 2011, in New mexico. It was running perfectly until I sent it for the first oil change in June. I went to pick it up and the dealer said they messed the computer. It was over 3 weeks stuck at the dealership until it was delivered back to me. Since then I had two other problems with the computer, and this car was in service for a total of 3 weeks or more. It is still at the dealership. They tried replacing the computer once more, then the abs module, etc., but the problem is still there. All warning lights come on and off randomly, the gauge temperature doesn't work, the cruise control deactivates randomly, can't get a measure of the RPM, etc.
    This week I talked to a lawyer and will try to get a replacement from Hyundai. I hope the company understands the situation and delivers a new car to me. Does anyone have experience dealing with Hyundai under the lemon law?
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    This one is tricky because it's not a defect caused by the manufacture of the vehicle. Rather the dealer admitted to damaging it.

    I wonder if Lemon Law even covers this situation?
  • My 2012 Honda Accord with 934 miles has paint chipping on the rear quarter panel caused by the tail light lens rubbing against the metal. After three tries, the car still has paint problems on the driver's side. The third time they brought it to a different body shop and the paint is worse than ever. They did not prepare the base-coat properly before they applied the clear-coat. there are now fingerprints along the entire quarter panel which are underneath the paint and cannot be removed. The paint will never be able to be brought back to the factory paint on my brand new vehicle. The value of the vehicle is greatly affected by the paint and I feel they should replace the vehicle.

    Any thoughts?
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    At the very least, they should take it to a paint shop that knows what they are doing, and fix the paint. Is it possible there is damage to the fender the taillight mounts in?

    Finger prints in the paint. That's really bad.
  • 28firefighter28firefighter Seattle, WAPosts: 2,921
    I have two questions regarding lemon law.

    1) Venue - The car is registered and titled in the State of Ohio, but currently resides in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. All of the issues it has had were serviced at a Mazda Dealership here in Pennsylvania. Which Lemon Law applies?

    2) The car is going to be 3 years old in January with just under 18000 miles. The car has been in now 4 times in the last 12 months for the same electrical issues, and it has not been resolved to date.

    The issue is that the car will inexplicably be dead in the morning and will not start. The battery has been replaced once (at my expense), the negative ground wire on the car has been replaced once, and most recently they said it was because the car had been sitting too long, despite having been driven 70 miles the day before without issue. It is currently in the shop again because it is exhibiting symptoms of this imminently occurring again - transmission shifting poorly, poor idle, and jumping gauges combined with a chugging engine. I am waiting to hear from the dealership, and have documented a complaint with Mazda corporate.

    At this point, I just want the car gone. Do I have a shot at a lemon law case with Mazda or is it just flat out too old?

    2017 Mercedes C300 Sport 4Matic, 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • When did you buy this? If you are beyond the one-year limit from the time you purchased the car you cannot make a claim under the lemon law in most states.
  • 28firefighter28firefighter Seattle, WAPosts: 2,921
    It was purchased in January 2009. Issues started coming up in December 2010. I was thinking there might still be a case under Federal law.
    2017 Mercedes C300 Sport 4Matic, 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    edited December 2011
    You probably aren't going to be able to do anything under the regulations of Lemon Law at this point in its life. But Mazda or the dealer might step up with a good deal on a new car.

    BTW, it Lemon Law applies it would be under the laws of the state you purchased it in. AFAIK, there isn't a Federal lemon law - they are all state laws.
  • :lemon: :sick:
    I am six months into my lease of a brand new 2011 Mazda6, Leased from and serviced in Michigan. The car has 11,5XX miles. I have been into the dealer more than four times. When I first test drove the car it had 8 Miles on it. When I came back a week later in had 78 miles on it. (Took a week, was not my first choice. was looking at the Mazda3) I only first test drove that particular car so I could get the feel for the manual trans. It was the only manual in the state at the time to test. The dealer was more than happy to put the starting mileage at 198 miles in the paper work. Odd?... Before the first oil change I had already been in for an alignment and the first electrical issue. The airbag, check engine, and seat belt light were flashing. I stopped and shut the car off immediately. When I got it to the dealer the couldn't duplicate the problem. They said if it happened to drive it in and don't shut the car off. So, they wanted my to drive the car with the chance of it having no working airbags? Anyway it did happen again, this time i got my phone and recorded it! It was at night after dealer hours so i couldn't drive it in. When I got it in the next morning the service man told me he didn't want to see the video. Then the next day they called to tell me no luck with duplicating the problem. I again told them that they were not interested in seeing the video I had captured of its electrical fit. The second time the lights the came on were, the check engine, air bag, 2 of the traction control lights and the washer fluid light. Both times there were no codes found for the check engine lights coming on. Just over a week later I was completely unaware of what was happening until I was pulled over and ticketed. The officer pulled me out of the car took me around the back. It was 11 o'clock at night, I was on my way home (in the country). I had no rear running lights aside from the license plate light. I was given a ticket that could amount to $500 in fines if it was not fixed in one week. I then made the third trip for the electrical fourth in total back to the dealer and left the car for three days and wasn't offered a loaner or help with a rental. I rented a car and they would not reimburse for it or the ticket. I had to replace the bulbs before the officer would let me drive home so he followed my down the road to a store that was open so I could get the bulbs. Then again the dealer could not make the bulbs burn out like before. I did however make another video with my phone having no tail lights before replacing the bulbs. The dealer again didn't want to see the video. I asked if it would help diagnose the problem to watch them and they said no.

    I now have the two videos, service records for four visits, rental car bills, and of course now this ticket.

    Suggestions?!?! ... PLEASE HELP!!!
  • I can suggest a few things based on my experience. First, review the lemon law for your state. You can easily find this online. If you are sure that the law applies to your case, you need to see if the law requires you to send a written notice for a "last chance of repair". Also, read the warranty that came with your vehicle. There are templates online for these types of letter. So send this letter (make sure you get a receipt) to all the departments of Mazda you think necessary (legal, consumer affairs, etc). The problem with the airbag is no joke, and it's illegal to drive without them working properly. So clarify in the letter that this vehicle can lead to injuries/death if it is not repaired properly and soon.

    After you sent the letter they have some time to reply and do the repairs (again, check this in your lemon law). If they do not fix this within the time frame, or if they do not reply, talk to a lawyer. By law, they should give you a replacement/cash.

    It's important that you keep all documents for repairs, etc.
  • Mazdaguy is right about checking your state lemon law. Here's what Michigan says is a lemon vehicle: Total of 4 unsuccessful repairs within 2 years from the date of the first unsuccessful repair or 30 calendar days within shorter of 1 year or warranty. Leased vehicles covered. Notification/Trigger: Certified
    mail notice, return receipt requested, to manufacturer who has 5 business
    days to repair after delivery. Keep a copy of your letter for your records. If it doesn't work out in short order, check this website for a lemon law lawyer in your state near you: Michigan has several good lemon lawyers. The attorneys on this site don't pay to get listed and most are members of the only national association of consumer protection lawyers who work only for consumers. Good luck. :lemon:
  • :lemon: :sick:

    UPDATE from "2011 Mazda6 ... Lemon?"

    I just got home 20 min ago from the dealer. It's now 1 in the morning here. The dash lights came on then all of the electrical in the car shut off... Interior and exterior lights flickered then the car stalled at a light in the middle in the intersection. I couldn't even get the hazards on. I had to push the darn thing to a driveway by myself.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    1) Have the dealer tow this vehicle to their shop.
    2) Did you get a service receipt each prior time you had the car in? If so, you sure need to keep this. Go in and ask for a copy of any previious service. If they do not have them, it sure looks suspiciously like they don't want to deal with your porblem. Make sure you get this one and for any future services.
    3) Any time a 'Check Engine Light' comes on, its my understanding a code is set. Even if it clears when the engine is restarted the code remains as 'History' even if it clears from 'Current' status (the light goes out). It will be eliminated from 'History', but only after a variable number of restarts. This number is usually pretty large, a dozen or more and varies with the type of code that was set.

    A dealer saying they do not see a code under these conditions is very suspicious to me. This is not right. I'm wondering if they are seeing several of these problem cars and are not able to deal with them and are hoping you just might go away.

    A wild guess as to a cause - a bad battery will cause all kinds of codes if the voltage drops low. Or a bad alternator that is not able to keep the voltage up while running. You might not really have seat belt or air bag problems, you have low voltage problems that are setting off sensors all over the car. Or extremely high voltage that does the same thing plus burn out bulbs. (Are you sure the bulbs were burned? Did you keep the replaced bulbs?)

    It's the dealer problem to find this serious problem with this car.

    It's your problem, in addition to the problem with the car, to fully document eveything that has happened or does happen. Even if you got service receipts, start a log. Write down date and time and what happened to the car, when you made dealer knowledge about it, who you talked to (ever first names if thats what you got and you knowledge of the person official 'position' ie 'service writer', etc)and milage on the car. And the results after that.

    Do this for everything that has happen and everything that happens.

    And do your research on YOUR STATES Lemon laws. Google 'xxxstate auto lemon law' and follow the links to your state office (consumer, attorney general, etc). Find out exactly WHAT and WHEN you have to do! And start doing it. When you hit stats the law calls for (number of days in repair, number of rapairs, whatever, then start the process exactly as outlined in the procedures. The first thing I would expect your dealer is going to ask for 'one more time' to fix the problem. For me, they have had enough time already. If you give them another time, I would demand a used car of some type to drive.
  • seatontsaiseatontsai Posts: 1
    Hi 28FireFighter,

    I know this post is months old but I just wanted to correct this misconception: there is a Federal lemon law called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. § 2301 et seq.)

    Unlike many Federal statutes, such as bankruptcy or immigration, there is no preemption over state law as Mag-Moss supplements consumer rights.
  • 28firefighter28firefighter Seattle, WAPosts: 2,921
    Due to the confines of a confidentiality agreement, I can't explain further, but this issue has been resolved by Mazda NA to our satisfaction.

    Also thanks - I just learned about Magnuson-Moss in my Sales & Leased Goods course, but that definitely would have been helpful about 4 months ago.
    2017 Mercedes C300 Sport 4Matic, 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i
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