Check Your Buyer's Guide

The state of Pennsylvania recently joined the 36 other states in objecting to the General Motors bankruptcy case. In a similar manner to other state actions, Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has stated that state officials have serious concerns about consumer and business rights, ranging from lemon law claims and warranties to state laws regarding car dealerships. Corbett noted that the Attorneys General who joined in this filing do not necessarily oppose the planned sale of General Motors, but they have expressed concern that the current agreement is unclear or ambiguous about many such issues.

Since many manufacturer and dealer practices with regard to defective vehicles continue to be unfavorable to consumers, it is wise for consumers to know from the beginning how well they are covered as regards warranties.

“When buying a used vehicle, a consumer should be absolutely certain to check the Buyer’s Guide where the type of warranty for the car he or she wants is shown,” said Norman Taylor, leading California lemon law attorney. “The Buyer’s Guide clearly states what type of warranty the buyer can expect: as-is, limited or a full warranty.”

Taylor has repeatedly seen the dangers of not being sure there is an actual warranty or is the salesman confusing you by using the term warranty when he is actually talking about a service contract. A service contract does not confer the same rights to a consumer as does a warranty. 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.

In addition to knowing if there is a warranty versus a service contract, a consumer should also follow up and obtain in writing the extent of any limited warranty. The conditions should be clearly stated, such as what percentage of labor and parts the dealer will cover, for exactly which systems within the vehicle, and for what duration.

A solid warranty is, of course, the consumer’s primary protection in case he or she ends up with a defective vehicle—a lemon. “At the heart of every lemon law is the manufacturer’s or a dealer’s breach of warranty,” said Taylor. “It is this broken promise that gives consumers the right to receive a replacement or refund if the vehicle is a lemon.”

The moral of the story: be certain of your vehicle’s coverage right from the beginning. And if you suspect you might be driving a lemon, it is best to contact a qualified lemon law attorney right away.

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