Apples are not Oranges

A large part of the work of a California lemon law attorney is to review Service Orders and Work Orders. We see hundreds, even thousands of them every week. A lot of them are straight forward and make sense. Some however, defy belief.

Has this happened to you? You take your vehicle to the dealership with an engine or transmission problem. Let’s say the engine is making a knocking -clicking noise when the vehicle is sitting at idle. The first time you take it in for this defect the technician says he has performed all manner of tests and he cannot duplicate the defect. You say OK, but you know something is wrong.

By the way, it is not unusual for car owners to be remarkably patient with the dealership. You take the car home and sure enough the next morning when you start the car it’s knocking and clicking. You listen to your tubercular engine for a week or so and when you can’t stand it any more, you take it back to the dealership.

After a couple days fooling around the service person calls you and tells you your car is ready, please come on down and pick it up. You are ready to hear how they discovered something was wrong with the lifters and parts have been replaced and now the car is running fine; more importantly, no more knocking and clicking. The Service Writer gives you the Work Order. Here’s part of what it says. “We tested every way possible, then we compared it to two other like vehicles and they make the same noises. The noise is characteristic of this model. Nothing is wrong with your car.”

You think maybe you’ve been given the wrong Work Order. Surely they don’t expect you to believe this large pile of lawn supplements. But no, the Service Writer says that’s what they found with a straight face. The sheer illogic of it is mind-numbing. If what he asserts is true, then all of the same models as yours are defective in the same way.

You try to remember if the sales literature said anything about this noise that miraculously appears in all models of the same kind; nope, nothing there. You have a look through the technical description of the vehicle in the Operator’s manual; nothing there either. You know that Apples are not Oranges. Manufacturers are not going to try to sell vehicles that all have the same defect.

The particular example I am writing about has a good ending. The consumer continued to take the vehicle in for this defect and insisted that they find the problem and repair it. Wonder of wonders, somewhere around the fifth or sixth repair attempt the dealership repair facility discovered that the lifters were defective and made repairs. This was what was wrong all along and vindicated the consumer’s belief. If this happens to you, stay calm, do not commit any major felonies on the Service Writer. Just keep taking the car in for repair and if necessary, call a lemon law attorney to ensure that this foolishness stops once and for all.