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 a state or
federal government agency to address your issues.
In case of deceptive or misleading vehicle advertisement or
dealers you may contact your state consumer protection agency or the Federal
Trade Commission. For complaints about the financial aspect like your auto loan
agreement or payments you may contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Most importantly, for complaints regarding your vehicle’s safety like issues
with seatbelts, tires, or car seats, you may contact the Department of
Transportation. 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
defects have to be evident within a certain timeframe or number of miles
defects must be substantial and affect the vehicle’s operation, such as
the transmission, engine, brakes, and other major parts of the vehicle.
The vehicle’s defect is still persistent even after
multiple trips to the mechanic for repair.
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. Mandatory arbitration clauses to settle disputes are found in
many vehicle contracts.
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.