New Car Troubles? - Legal Tips
If your new car has a problem, schedule a service appointment with the dealer right away. Make sure that the service department is made aware of each and every problem that the vehicle is having. Explain the problems in as much detail as possible, and make sure that the dealer uses your words to describe the problem and not theirs. When meeting with the service advisor, be sure to ask about Technical Service Bulletins (TSB’s) on your vehicle. A Technical Service Bulletin is an acknowledgment by the manufacturer that there is a known problem with your vehicle. The manufacturer is required to prepare a TSB for a vehicle after a problem or defect has exhibited itself on a number of occasions.
When you return to the dealer to pick up your vehicle after the repair attempt, be sure to get a copy of the repair order or invoice that indicates your chief complaint and the efforts that the dealer made to remedy the problem. Do not leave the dealer without this documentation. In Pennsylvania, the dealer is required to give you a copy of the documentation under established state law. When you get in your vehicle, check right away to see if the problem has been properly repaired or if there is a reoccurrence. If the vehicle has not been properly repaired or has a reoccurrence of the problem, schedule another appointment with the dealer. You must realize that you paid for the warranty that came with your vehicle, it was part of the purchase price. Do not be afraid to use it. You must also give the dealer/manufacturer a reasonable number of attempts to make the repair before you pursue lemon law assistance.
What I have found is that many times the dealer will state that they “could not duplicate the customer’s concern”. Do not allow this to stop you from attempting to get your vehicle repaired. Many problems that are found vehicles occur on an intermittent basis. Just because a problem doesn't show up while the vehicle is at the dealer does not mean that it doesn't exist, and further, does not relieve the dealer/manufacturer from the burden of finding the problem and fixing it.
If the problems with your vehicle are not repaired after a reasonable number of attempts (three in Pennsylvania, other states differ) then you may be able to pursue a Lemon Law claim. A valid Lemon Law claim will force the manufacturer to either repurchase your vehicle at a full refund, or will entitle you to a new replacement vehicle free of cost. In Pennsylvania, as well as many other states, you will also be entitled to free legal representation and recovery of all other collateral charges associated with your lemon, like tax, title charges, interest and the like.
Greg Artim is a Pennsylvania Lemon Law attorney based in Pittsburgh PA. Please be sure to visit his website at www.ihatethislemon.com