Lemon Law and the Vehicle Business

A consumer recently wrote into the Consumer Action section of the Press of Atlantic City, New Jersey web site, complaining that they had purchased a 12-year old vehicle, and had paid an additional $1,000 for a 1-year warranty. When a defect arose on the vehicle, however, the dealership refused to honor the warranty because it apparently had been only verbal; no written warranty was issued. And, since the vehicle fell outside the state’s lemon laws, the consumer was basically out of luck.

This story illustrates the continuing need for the lemon law. Dealerships and manufacturers operate as businesses that, like many enterprises, constantly work to increase profit and decrease the bottom line. Unfortunately, the address of defective vehicles falls right under that bottom line, and is treated as such.

“In American business, the bottom line is profit,” said Norman Taylor, leading California lemon law attorney. “Both vehicle manufacturers and dealerships must make money. Many things can interfere with this goal, and with the way the manufacturer-dealer relationship is constructed, one of those things can be defective vehicles.”

It’s a battle that Taylor consistently fights. He has been a lemon law specialist since 1987, and he and his firm, Norman Taylor and Associates, have handled over 8,000 cases for consumers with a 98 percent success rate. He is one of the leading lemon law attorneys in southern and all of California.

There are many limitations placed by manufacturers on dealerships that create overwhelming pressure. For example, the manufacturer is producing large numbers of defective products, something the dealer cannot change. As another example, the manufacturer sets a warranty repair budget for the dealership; when this budget is depleted, the dealer is penalized and may have to eat repair costs themselves. And in yet another, a variety of bonus programs are created for dealers, based not on quality of product or service but on staying within that warranty repair budget.

“When a warranty budget is exceeded, the dealership must absorb additional warranty repair costs,” Taylor explained. “Dealerships cannot afford to treat these losses lightly, or to exceed their warranty repair budget every month. “Hence it is no surprise that dealers resort to tricks on the consumer – ‘no problem found” or ‘they’re designed to work that way ma’am.’”

Because of this business relationship, it well behooves any consumer, if they believe they have purchased a defective vehicle, to contact a qualified lemon law attorney right away.

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