Lemon Law and the GM Guarantee

Since General Motors filed for bankruptcy this year, they are working hard to win back confidence. They are now offering a 60-day money-back guarantee on their Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac brands; through November 30, a buyer can return a vehicle between 31 and 60 days for a full refund, no questions asked.

There are qualifications to this guarantee, however, that any buyer should be aware of. Businesses and corporations don’t qualify. You must own the vehicle for at least thirty days. The odometer reading must not have more than 4000 miles. It can’t be a leased vehicle. Additionally there are many “small items” that cannot be included in the refund including licensing, titling or registration fees, insurance, dealer installed accessories, aftermarket products or add-on equipment (other than factory options ordered with the vehicle), and a number of others.

One notable qualification is that a vehicle must be “in the same working order as it was on the Delivery Date.” This caveat raises the question of, what if a vehicle defect becomes evident after the car has been driven for 30 days, and the manufacturer does not accept responsibility for it and attempts to blame the vehicle owner for the defect?

This is a common occurrence. “For a manufacturer to accept a vehicle as a lemon is, on most occasions, a dead loss,” explained Norman Taylor, leading California lemon law attorney. “The manufacturer isn’t going to let this happen without a fight.”

Taylor understands such practices well. 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.

“Unfortunately, you will find that a manufacturer’s first line of defense is often either denial or outright falsehood,” Taylor continued. “The manufacturer will try to prove that whatever you did to the car is the real cause of any defect.”

Since a manufacturer does not want to accept responsibility for a lemon unless forced to do so, a claim of vehicle defect will be met with resistance and deflective measures from the very first moment of calling it to the dealer’s attention. If a consumer makes it through the “gauntlet” of dealer tricks, he or she will then be up to the manufacturer and a whole new round of problems.

The bottom line: before you buy a GM vehicle under the new guarantee, beware of the restrictions. And if you think you may be driving a lemon, it is best to contact a qualified lemon law attorney right away.

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