It’s disappointing to save money before you do loads of research to find the right car for your needs, just to find out that your new car is defective. After finding a suitable price, the right dealer, and trying to maximize your trade-in value, you find out that your money and your effort have been wasted for nothing. This disappointment can easily be avoided after we educate ourselves on our rights as consumers. Finding out that the newly purchased car is malfunctioning can be stressful and frustrating. Dealing with this situation requires quite the knowledge of consumer protection laws, especially the lemon law. This article will discuss how you can deal with this situation to get your money back.
What Qualifies as A “Lemon Car”?
There are certain cases in which a vehicle can be claimed as a “lemon car.” The car must have substantial damage that is covered by the warranty that impairs the use of the car, the value, and, most importantly, safety. These defects are taken into consideration under most state laws. For example, faulty brakes or problems with steering are considered to be substantial defects. There is another type of defect that might be confused with substantial ones, and these are called minor defects. To understand the thin line between both types, you will need to think of the difference between loose brakes and loose radio knobs or door handles. There are other vague conditions such as a really smelly car that can’t be tolerated or paint jobs that have gone wrong; in these cases, you might not be able to determine whether they are considered to be substantial defects or minor ones.
Replacing Defective Cars Or Getting A Refund
If your car has any of the previously mentioned substantial defects and it meets the lemon law requirements, then you have the right to get your money back or to replace the car from the manufacturer. The process might differ from one state to the other. However the standard process starts with notifying the manufacturer of the type of defect you are dealing with. Then, the consumer is offered a settlement that he or she can accept or refuse. In the state of California, for example, a lemon law buyback is the best option for getting rid of the defective vehicle. This only applies when the manufacturer isn’t able to repair the defect after a rational number of attempts. The right way to approach getting your rights as a consumer is seeking legal advice from an experienced attorney in this field. This will solve the confusion in regards to how a claim is handled by a California lemon law attorney who has enough knowledge to deal with these cases. In some states, if the consumer isn’t happy with the offered deal, they have to go to arbitration before taking the case further to court. Choosing a protection agency program according to your state is the best way to go instead of being confused about the differences in various state laws. In most cases in California that qualify for the lemon law, the consumer gets a refund that includes the down payment, monthly finance or lease payments, initial registration, and other official fees; all of this on top of the attorney’s fees.
Tips On How To Deal With Defective Cars
If you are confused about the steps you should follow in order to get a replacement for the defective car or to get a refund. Some general guidelines and rules clarify what to do in this situation.
- Once you discover a defect in your new car, you need to notify the dealer whom you have bought the car from immediately. The dealer should inspect the car and write a report on what they have found.
- The checkup you demand should be thorough. The dealer should inspect the whole car and check every little detail. This is not a step you should take lightly. There can be problems you haven’t noticed yet and would pop up later.
- If you don’t trust the dealer’s inspection, then it’s better to seek a diagnostic check from an independent service provider to make sure of the integrity of the report.
- After your dealer finishes inspecting the car, you should proceed to discuss their findings and how they are willing to deal with the situation.
- If they offer to repair the car, don’t simply agree to that without making sure that they are trustworthy and experienced enough in what they are doing.
- Even if you know that they will be able to fix the car, but you are not happy with this settlement option, it’s in your rights as a consumer to demand a replacement of the car.
- After you find out what exactly is wrong with the car and you have managed to specify the defect, this is when you should seek legal advice from an attorney to provide legal assessment and their perspective.
- As a consumer, you have the protection of Consumer Protection Act number 68; however, if you don’t have CPA protection, you might have common law protection. This is why seeking legal advice is important in these situations.
These rules and guidelines should be applied as soon as you find out that there is something faulty. Waiting for weeks or months might waste away your rights, and the legal remedy you deserve.
The problem with these situations is that any small detail might make a huge difference in the outcome of the process, whether you have decided to seek a refund or a replacement of the car. The lemon law doesn’t apply to all situations you might find yourself in. If you want to qualify for the lemon law, you have to allow your dealer do a reasonable number of attempts in repairing the car before you ask for a refund or a replacement. This road might be frustrating and tiring. However, seeking legal consultation and making sure that you do all the right required steps once you discover that your new car is malfunctioning, will definitely give you an advantage in getting a satisfactory resolution you want as part of your rights as a consumer.