I wrote this journal entry in early 2009 after learning a LOT about the Lemon Law from personal experience. Hope it keeps you safe.

Here are some links that might be of interest to you. (they all open up another window so you can come right back here and keep reading)

Thinking about buying a vehicle and wondering which ones fail more? This graph will shock you.
Check out Mercedes and BMW!!! (holy crap, is what I thought)
Take a close look at this graph:

http://www.normantaylor.com/images/lemon-law-graph-1.jpg

This lawyer, Norman Taylor, has a Lemon Law book online. Educate yourself before you buy your next vehicle:
READ THIS BOOK BEFORE YOU BUY YOUR NEXT VEHICLE.

http://www.normantaylor.com/lemon-law-book”
He also has an excellent blog here:

http://www.normantaylor.com/blog/

Buyer be VERY aware! This article is written from experience. I cannot give you the full details of my own experience, but I did feel like it was important to tell you where we went wrong so you don’t make the same mistake.

These are things we never really thought about because we trusted our dealership. We are in a unique situation here in Alaska because we have very few dealerships and very little competition. If you live in the lower 48, it is worth it to travel to another state if you just can’t get the information you need.

First and foremost we learned: DO NOT TAKE DELIVERY IF YOU SEE OBVIOUS DEFECTS WITH IT. That was the most important lesson we learned. Just because the dealer had been great about repairing our previous vehicle doesn’t mean squat. Technicians quit, new ones are hired, and new service managers take over. Don’t take the chance they’ll do what they promise. Just don’t. Ask for your trade-in back and cancel the sale until they get everything fixed. If they try to muscle you into taking it anyway because they “might sell it to someone else,” don’t bite that hook. Demand your money back and/or your trade-in. Don’t sign the sales paperwork. DON’T sign the sales paperwork until you have done a thorough test drive and walk-around check. If you did still take delivery of your vehicle, it doesn’t mean you won’t have a Lemon Law case. It just helps you in the beginning before you ever take delivery. The dealer and manufacturer still have an obligation to you to make your vehicle conform to warranty items in the first year.

In order to protect yourself, think in turns of delivery. Where did the car or RV come from? The factory, of course. In the factory, during and after it was assembled, it had a factory checklist of some kind. Those who were inspecting it noted things that were not working correctly or did not look right. A quality inspector then initialed next to those things found. In that checklist, there were notations about whether the broken items would be fixed on the spot or fixed at the dealership.

Let’s say that some items were supposed to be fixed at the dealership. You now have both a transportation document that indicates if anything was damaged in transit, and you also have a dealership invoice.

After that, you have a service document that tells you what things were supposed to be fixed at the dealership before you decided to buy it.

With me so far? We never saw ANY of these documents before we bought the vehicle we’ve been stuck with. If we had seen them? We would have NEVER bought it.

Let’s just say that you buy the vehicle and it starts breaking. And it keeps breaking, and it is out of service more than it is in service. The Lemon Law is there to protect you.

Did you know that you can demand your money back, in the month after your warranty runs out?

While you own the vehicle, keep track of invoices and dates the vehicle went into the shop and came out of the shop. Keep a list of your own of how many times something has been attempted to be repaired. Is it more than 3 times in the first year? You are entitled, under the Lemon Law, to get either your money back or another unit to replace yours.

The Law protects you. Demand your money back or a replacement unit, stating that your unit has nonconformities. Ask a lawyer the best way to do this. He/she will probably send it by certified return-receipt mail. If they ignore you, see a lawyer who specializes in Consumer Protection Cases. Not sure where to find one? We just called several law firms in the area to find out who specializes in these types of cases. The lawyer you see will tell you whether or not your vehicle is a lemon and has a chance in court. Very few vehicles do qualify as a lemon, but yours could if it can’t be sold on the market as it is, has had one or more repairs that have been attempted at least 3 times, and you are just getting nowhere with the service department.

Hopefully, the companies you are suing will settle before you go to court, or they could decide to sit down at an arbitration table and discuss alternatives to litigation. But if you have kept exact documentation, and you have proof the unit is defective and has been attempted to be fixed 3 separate times, you could be entitled to 3 times the price of the item, plus attorney’s fees, if you win the case. The results are for a jury to decide. Every case is different. Whatever you do, if you are in a Lemon Law lawsuit, DO NOT SELL the vehicle or let it get repossessed by the bank. You’ve just lost your case, if you do this. Case after case has been lost this way.

Don’t let the manufacturer’s lawyers or the dealer’s lawyers bully you. They might try to settle with you by offering a ridiculous settlement, but if you can have a tough skin and live through it all – their obligation under the Law is to reimburse you what you paid for the vehicle. Period. And they will try to make you feel you don’t have a case, especially during deposition. But don’t let them win. They’re used to bullying plaintiffs. Ignore them and let your lawyer do his/her job.

You will also want to keep track of people’s names where you tried to get your vehicle repaired because they will probably have to testify in court.

The unit also has to be in such a condition that it is not marketable. In other words, you could never sell it because of all the problems it has.

Another thing you must know if you are considering buying a used vehicle:

The Lemon Law does not apply to used vehicles, at least not in the same way. There are some rights you have as a consumer, so ask a Consumer Protection attorney to help you. And Car Fax services don’t tell the whole story of a vehicle. If the vehicle was involved in an accident that was not reported, you’ll never know it.

There’s also something Mr. Taylor talks about on his website in which manufacturers who have to buy back Lemon Law vehicles try to resell them without full disclosure.

Best bet if you can afford it: Buy new. I know there are a lot of people out there who say buy used a couple of years old because then all the kinks are worked out. You might also consider buying used if your next door neighbor or best friend has a vehicle for sale, and you know a lot about the vehicle. But one of the worst cars I ever owned was a car I bought from a guy I served with in the military who was going overseas. He sold me the biggest piece of crap I’ve ever owned. He never put oil in it, so its cylinder heads collapsed shortly after he sold it to me.

We also bought a car from a dealer for our daughter. Car Fax told us nothing about this car being a previous rental car. It was also a junk car. We found out too late. The dealer preyed on our need to help her get credit and a car so she could drive to work.

Do research on the State Lemon Law in your state. Many of them are very much alike from state to state, but some states don’t recognize the Lemon Law for RVs. So, buy your RV in a state that does. Even if you did already buy a lemon in a state that does not have state lemon laws, you can still sue under the FEDERAL lemon law. Here’s a list of states concerning the Lemon Law for RVs:


http://www.ohiolemonlaw.com/rvll-site/rvll-state_laws.html

Here’s a book you can buy on the Lemon Law as well: (you can get one from Amazon as cheap as 3 bucks)




Click on Book to Order A Copy

Know your rights. You could be getting screwed because you are naive, like we were.

Don’t let someone do this to you. You deserve to get a good product when you pay for it. You can return defective products when you buy them in a store. Why not get your money back or get a replacement for a crappy car or RV or 4- wheeler or whatever? It’s the law. Called the Fair Trade Law. Look it up.

You can also write a letter of complaint to your state’s attorney general. The dealership and the manufacturer could be fined for every act of deception. Read up on the Fair Trade Act in your state and the Lemon Law Statute. Want to research your state’s Lemon Law statutes and Fair Trade Act? Visit your local courthouse. Ask to see the laws or ask where you can view them. It is your right to get what you pay for. Don’t let fear or uncertainty keep you from fighting for your rights.

Go even further. File a complaint with the Fair Trade Commission here:


https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

They don’t work on your behalf to resolve complaints, but they do keep track of companies breaking the law and use the information to prosecute.

And on the other side of the fence, if you’re a car or RV salesman and would like to sell a vehicle by having an edge over other dealerships, have this information available to the buyer.

Whether it is a new or used vehicle you are selling, give them all the information about the vehicle from the time it was in the factory until now. That would impress ANYONE!

Hope this helps you.

Lynne

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