Driving A Lemon?
PETER HOLLAND: If that car has some defects in it, air conditioning does not work and you take it back two or three or four or five times -- at a certain point in almost every state they are going to say, "this car just does not run right. The consumer has given it plenty of time for the dealer to fix it and it is not fixed. It is just a 'lemon.'"
JOSH DREIBAND: People think that if something goes wrong with their car that it is automatically a "lemon" and the dealer has to take it back. Really that is not the truth.
PETER HOLLAND: If it is that your air conditioning does not work or the check engine light always comes on, typically you have to take it back three times.
JOSH DREIBAND: It is got to be three times within certain time period that it is the same issue.
PETER HOLLAND: Three or four times depending on the state. If it is one problem that is a major injury threatening thing like a break failure, they may call it a lemon at that point. Under those circumstances, you can get them to buy the car back or reimburse you some money and if you have to hire a lawyer, in most states you can ask that the other side pay those lawyers fees.
In a lemon law case, you want to take it back to a manufacture-authorized dealer so that they have the opportunity to fix it and it is in their records.
JOSH DREIBAND: It is only fair that we have the opportunity to diagnose the vehicle to begin with, look at it, and fix the car rather than a guy that is not necessarily always qualified.
PETER HOLLAND: So, if you take your car down to Joe's Garage, then it is not going to qualify as a legitimate attempt to repair.
JOSH DREIBAND: I am not saying Joe down the street is not a great mechanic, because I know there are a lot of great mechanics out there and we have a lot of respect for them. That is not what I am saying. But it is going to be the manufacturer that is going to be taking the car back, not Joe the mechanic.
PETER HOLLAND: Take it back to a dealership and have the dealership work on it and have the dealership generate a record in their computer system. And ask them to print out that record and give you a copy of it. That is how you protect yourself the best with the lemon law.