You’re in the showroom and, despite the recession, you’ve got
the financial resources for the high-end luxury car you’ve always
wanted. In addition to showing you all of the bells and whistles that
will enhance your driving experience, the sales person is assuring you
that all of the cash you’re about to shell out will guarantee a
very safe and reliable car. There is no chance that a car of this caliber
could be a
lemon car. Certainly the dealership will have every incentive to make very sure
that the car you drive off their lot will give you plenty of trouble-free,
high performance driving, right?
Not necessarily. A recent study of Mercedes dealers indicated that their
profitability depends on service more than sales. When dealers perform
work on your car under warranty they send the bill to the manufacturer
for reimbursement. In cases where the repair is not covered under warranty
or the warranty has expired the consumer is responsible for repair costs.
When there is a question of whether or not the defect is covered under
warranty, the dealer asks for approval for a tear down to inspect the
defect and submits the claim for warranty approval with the caveat that
the consumer may be responsible for the costs of a tear down and repairs
if it is decided that the warranty does not cover the defect. When Mercedes
put out cars that broke down every few thousand miles, the dealers were
raking in the dough. Oddly enough, as Mercedes has tried to improve their
product quality, some dealerships have felt a financial pinch.
It’s tough to trust a system where the business that sells you the
car has a disincentive to make sure it’s going to be free from defects.
This is just another reason why consumers need to know their rights under
California lemon law or the state in which they live.