And Another Thing!..Problems With Your Vehicle

Vehicles…….many of us have them……many of us need them.  Usually your most valuable asset outside of your home, a vehicle is more than a means of transportation.  When you purchase a vehicle you seek something comfortable, functional, and reliable.  None of these are too much to ask yet too many people are unable to enjoy them.  The “reliable” part causes much consternation.

If you have a warranty or vehicle service contract you should read the terms of your agreement to determine how to have your vehicle’s problems assessed and ultimately repaired, if appropriate.  The terms of the agreement should be capable of being read and understood by you so that you will know your rights as a consumer.  And note a vehicle service contract is NOT a warranty.  The vehicle service contract usually comes with lesser protections, more limitations on coverage, and may not even bind the seller of the vehicle.

The term “lemon” is frequently used to describe a vehicle that is fraught with problems.  Technically speaking, in most states only a vehicle purchased new can be deemed a lemon.  There are federal and state laws which provide a protocol for determining if a new vehicle is a lemon and what you the consumer can do to receive just compensation.  Some states have lemon law statutes which cover used vehicles and these are a huge benefit to the consumer.  These used vehicle lemon laws, however, tend to be the minority.  The vast majority of states do not provide statutory framework applicable to used vehicles that cause multiple headaches.  In the majority of states consumers with used vehicles must navigate an oft-confusing array of legal principles derived from a combination of contract law, consumer protection law, lending statutes, and other bodies of law.  North Carolina’s lemon law statute only applies to new vehicles.

If you purchased a vehicle “as is” or with no warranty or vehicle service contract you may be out of luck.  It would not hurt to contact a lawyer for an assessment of your situation but realize you may be faced with handling your vehicle problems out of your own pocket unless you can get the seller to agree to help with the cost of repair.

If your vehicle has experienced ongoing or recurring serious mechanical problems you should consult an experienced vehicle law attorney for a consultation.  Before contacting an attorney, however, you should take a few moments to prepare a listing or log of the problems you have had with your vehicle. (Click here for a sample Vehicle Problem Log).  Be sure to obtain or make ready the service and repair documents that relate to these vehicle problems so the attorney can review them in assessing your situation.  You will also need to make sure you have all of your purchase paperwork handy. 

On the front side do your due diligence in purchasing a vehicle—especially a used vehicle.  And on the back side if multiple serious vehicle problems occur seek legal advice sooner rather than later.  Here’ s hoping your vehicle gives you miles and years of great service.


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