by Stephanie Hart
Navigating the fine points of new car warranties and of their unresolved problems, understanding how Lemon Laws can help can be overwhelming even for experienced car owners. But Stephanie Hart now shows us a free program and they can offer solutions for your car ownership conundrum.
STEPHANIE HART: So what should you do if you think your vehicle has a defect.
First look at the warranty. Determine if your vehicle is still under warranty.
Next find out who handles disputes for your manufacturer. That can be found in your warranty.
Then make contact.
You may just end up talking to folks at BB Auto Line. They help consumers and businesses resolve vehicle warranty, lemon law, and class action disputes.
And they do it all for free!
BBB Auto Line mediators and arbitrators play a neutral, third party role facilitating the dispute between the manufacturer and the consumer.
And their influence is growing. In 2019, BBB Auto Line received more than 16-thousand claims, about 47-hundred were considered eligible claims-about a quarter. Ten years ago in 2009, it received nearly 12-thousand claims and about 6-thousand were eligible-about a half.
Claims typically vary a lot from a vehicle rattle to an engine concern.
Factory warranties offer good protection, but there are limitations.
ABBY ADAMS: The warranty that a vehicle owner gets with their car is going to vary greatly between manufacturer to manufacturer and even from vehicle to vehicle. The most common type of warranty is a bumper to bumper warranty and a powertrain warranty and that can vary greatly. It can be five years 60,000 miles or ten years 100,000 miles.
STEPHANIE HART: What warranties don’t cover, often Lemon Laws do.
Each state has its own lemon law which protects consumers with potentially defective vehicles. for example, New York has a Lemon Law for used cars while other states may only apply its Lemon Law to new cars.
Lemon laws also vary on how many repair attempts it requires before deeming the vehicle a “lemon” and whether or not there’s a penalty for the manufacturer.
State-by-state Lemon Laws play a significant role in the dispute resolution process. It’s a good idea to reach out to your local motor vehicle department or state attorney’s office for more information.
BBB Auto Line says most of the time disputes are resolved in mediation.
ABBY ADAMS: In fact over 62-percent of our claims are resolved in mediation where the two parties will come to their own settlement on their own terms.
If the consumer is awarded a remedy whether that be a repair, replacement or a re-purchase of the vehicle, and that can be decided upon by either mediation or arbitration, the manufacturer then has 30 days to comply with that remedy.
STEPHANIE HART: Ideally, that solution satisfies everyone involved, and ends your love/hate relationship with your car.