Lemon Law Horror Stories: Don't Let This Happen to You

Buying or leasing a new vehicle is exciting. You are probably looking forward to enjoying all the latest comfort and safety features. Don't forget that new car smell. Few things are as exciting as driving off the lot with your new car. One of the most frustrating things that can happen is discovering that your brand-new vehicle is a lemon.

No one expects to buy a lemon. The last thing you want to deal with is going back and forth to the dealership for multiple repairs. When it turns out that the manufacturer can't repair the problem, and you're faced with either a replacement or a refund, you may find yourself asking if there was anything you could have done to avoid this.

While you can't always predict when a car will turn out to be a lemon, there are things you can do to give yourself the best chance at avoiding one. Below we review three common lemon law horror stories and what you can do to avoid them.

Not Getting a Pre-Sale Inspection for a Used Car

When you purchase a used car, whether from a dealer or a private seller, you may know to ask for a vehicle history report. However, what happens when this report does not tell the whole story? Not only are there unscrupulous sellers out there who will falsify a vehicle history report but depending on what is going on with the car, the history report may not tell the whole story. This can result in you ending up with a defective vehicle that doesn't qualify for a lemon law claim or a breach of warranty claim, leaving you with no legal recourse to hold the seller or manufacturer responsible.

Consequently, the vehicle history report is not enough. When buying a used car, you should insist on a pre-sale inspection (sometimes referred to as a pre-purchase inspection or PPI) from a certified mechanic. During a pre-sale inspection, the mechanic will review the vehicle for cosmetic, mechanical, and safety issues or defects. The goal of a PPI is to uncover any existing conditions or problems with the car before purchase.

Not Doing Your Own Research When Buying a Car

When you're purchasing a new or new-to-you vehicle, especially from a dealer, most people tend to take the dealer at their word and assume the car is in perfect condition. However, this does not preclude the vehicle from having a recall issue associated with it. It is not uncommon for new model cars to have a recall issue discovered early on. You must have a full understanding of what is going on with that car and that manufacturer. Therefore, it is important that you do your research on the vehicle before making the purchase.

Similar to not insisting on a pre-sale inspection, if you are looking at a used vehicle, it is important that you check the vehicle for active recalls. You can do this by inputting the vehicle's VIN into the NHTSA recall search tool. This will tell you if there are any active recalls for that make and model, as well as any past recalls that have been issued. You can then ask more questions before purchasing and ensure that the problem was resolved.

Just because a vehicle has had a part or component recalled does not mean you shouldn't buy it. But you should be fully aware of the problem and have a record in case the problem resurfaces. Typically recall issues are repaired, and the problem is resolved, but on the off chance the car is a lemon, it is important to have a full record of the vehicle's history.

The Manufacturer/Dealer Is Not Your Friend – Hire a Lawyer

I am sure we have all heard stories about someone having to chase after a manufacturer to resolve a problem with their new car. This is not only frustrating but ends up costing you time and money. While most dealerships and manufacturers do their best to take care of consumer issues as quickly and effectively as possible, it is important to remember that they are not your friend. At the end of the day, their top priority is their bottom line. Consequently, many manufacturers can be reluctant to replace or refund a problematic vehicle when they should.

If you are dealing with an ongoing issue with your car, and you believe you qualify for a lemon law claim, you should reach out to a skilled lawyer as quickly as possible. Your attorney will help you understand your rights as a consumer and whether you qualify for a lemon law claim or a breach of warranty claim against the vehicle's manufacturer. Should your case go to court, your lawyer can represent you and fight to ensure that your rights are protected.

At Norman Taylor & Associates, we have extensive experience handling lemon law cases in California, and we have seen it all. To discuss your case with an attorney today, contact our law firm.

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