A vehicle of any kind is a big investment and costs a lot of money. As a consumer, you want your car to be functioning perfectly and safely, so what do you do in case the vehicle that you’ve bought is not living up to your expectations?
You can try to file a complaint with the dealer or the vehicle’s manufacturer, but in case you do not get results you may contact the following state or federal government agency to address specific issues:
1. In case of deceptive or misleading vehicle advertisement or dealers you may contact your state consumer protection agency or the Federal Trade Commission.
2. For complaints about the financial aspect like your auto loan agreement or payments, you may contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
3. Most importantly, for complaints regarding your vehicle’s safety like issues with seatbelts, tires, or car seats, you may contact the Department of Transportation via their customer service center or mail.
Some of the agencies mentioned will review and examine your complaints while others may collate information from you and other complainants and file a lawsuit against the company in the future.
There are also Lemon Laws. These are state laws that protect consumers from defective vehicles, referred to as “lemon”, that frequently fail to meet the quality and safety standard set about by each state. There are different criteria for a vehicle to be deemed as “lemon” for each state, but overall the following items are considered:
1. The vehicle’s defects have to be evident within a certain timeframe or number of miles driven.
2. The vehicle’s defects must be substantial and affect the vehicle’s operation, such as the transmission, engine, brakes, and other major parts of the vehicle.
3. The vehicle’s defect is still persistent even after multiple trips to the mechanic for repair.
4. The vehicle has to have been in the auto repair shop for a considerable number of days (usually thirty days or more) within a year.
In cases of a “lemon” vehicle, you can have the issue resolved by contacting the car manufacturer. You will have to send a complaint letter to the manufacturer by certified mail describing the vehicle’s defect, complete documentation of repairs (mechanic work orders and invoices), and your request for a resolution (a refund or any other solutions that would work for you). If the manufacturer refuses to help, you may still be able to get a resolution via mandatory arbitration clauses.
Mandatory arbitration clauses are statements written into contracts that enable you to settle any dispute with a company through arbitration. These clauses are common in automotive, credit card, and even cell phone contracts. Although arbitration can be less expensive, the requirement of it before a negative incident happens is sometimes seen to be unfair. Arbitration decisions are binding and barring extreme unfairness during the arbitration process, the chance of appealing the decision and having it overturned is minimal.
It’s best to know your rights as a consumer, especially when buying products that determine your safety and your vehicle is one of them.
Are you in a dispute with your car manufacturer or need help with arbitration? Contact us at Hogan Injury.
None of the content on Hoganinjury.com is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information.