Used Car Market Likely Flooded with Sandy-Damaged Vehicles

Posted by sally on November 6th, 2012

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, used car buyers on the Eastern seaboard and beyond need to be double- and triple-check the vehicle histories of cars they may be interested in. As reported by the New York Times, car insurance companies are receiving record numbers of water damage claims. Because salt water is particularly harmful to electrical systems and air bags, many of the insured vehicles will be deemed total losses. The problem is, the cars don’t appear to be damaged. The result? Many nefarious individuals will purchase the vehicles at salvage auctions, and then try to “scrub” the titles and sell them in other states.

According to the Times article, there are more consumer protections available today than, say, following Hurricane Katrina. Insurers are now required to register vehicles deemed total losses with the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. There are two primary ways consumers can check to see whether the vehicle they’re considering has been flood-damaged. First, http://www.vehiclehistory.gov provides data from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. Second, Carfax offers a free flood-checking service at http://www.carfax.com/flood.

If you’re in the market for a used car in the next year, it is worth your while to have the vehicle you’re considering checked out by a mechanic. Ask him or her to specifically look for signs of flood damage.

When a Lemon Law Can’t Help You

Posted by sally on March 29th, 2012

Thanks to our friends at Console & Hollawell for this guest blog post.

Ineligible Car Defects

Lemon law regulations don’t cover all vehicle defects – only defects that affect the vehicle’s market value or safety, or that substantially impair use. Additionally, if you believe auto-accident injuries you sustained are the result of manufacturer defect, seeking the services of skilled car accident attorneys in Cherry Hill is essential to uphold your rights.

Laws also assume a manufacturer has a reasonable amount of time – usually 30 days – to repair the vehicle before you can invoke your state’s lemon law. Even if the manufacturer can’t repair the vehicle, the company has the option of providing you with a new car or refunding the purchase price. If the manufacturer selects the latter, you’re going without wheels.

Buyer’s Remorse

Simply hating your new car purchase or wishing you hadn’t spent so much money isn’t a valid reason to invoke a state lemon law. What you’re experiencing is buyer’s remorse. While most states have laws providing consumers with a 72-hour window to return product purchases, automobiles are usually exempt from those rules. Accepting your vehicle as a return is at the discretion of the dealership and most don’t want to retake the inventory. Your best hope is to keep the car in good condition and trade in the vehicle at a later date. Don’t crash your vehicle as a means to get rid of it. You may sustain serious injuries and destroy your vehicle, leaving you with an auto loan to repay and no car.

Mileage Limits

Once your vehicle passes a certain mileage limit, lemon laws in your state no longer apply. For example, in Pennsylvania, any mechanical problem occurring with a vehicle after you drive it 12,000 miles falls under normal wear and tear. Vehicle repairs under state lemon laws can occur after the 12,000-mile benchmark as long as the problem occurred before the benchmark expired.

Used Cars

If you bought a used car, some state’s lemon laws can help you with inherited defects, but other states don’t have used car lemon laws. When that’s the case, you can file a claim under an existing warranty if your vehicle has any coverage remaining. Otherwise, you should assume you’re accepting the vehicle in an “as is” condition. Have a prospective car purchase thoroughly examined by a trusted mechanic before you spend any money.

Suffering injuries in a car accident caused by manufacturer negligence may entitle you to seek damages from the automaker. Compensation can help you replace lost income or pay rising medical costs relating to your injuries and continuing medical care.

Important Lessons about Buying a Used Car

Posted by sally on March 29th, 2012

The Hartford Courant ran a great story about a local FOX News investigation into a young woman’s bad experience in buying a used car. The 18-year-old purchased a 1996 Corsica for around $1,000, only to find that it wasn’t road-worthy. Although the vehicle failed its Massachusetts state inspection, and although the used car dealer had 17 DMV complaints filed against him, he’s still in business. He did, however, refund the buyer’s money.

The article also has excellent tips on what to do when considering the purchase of a used car, including checking the vehicle’s history, having a mechanic check it out, researching the car’s value, and asking for service records.

Advice on Buying a Used Car

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on April 27th, 2010

We were happy to be able to share some tips on what to ask when buying a used car. Check out Josh Max’s article at AOL Autos.

Alaska Lemon Law Advice

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on April 7th, 2010

To obtain Alaska lemon law advice, it’s best to go to the source. In this case, the State of Alaska Consumer Protection Unit provides a wealth of information about lemon law warranty, and outlines defective automobile laws. It does not, however, address out-and-out car dealer fraud.

Alaska law defines a “lemon” as one that has defects that cannot be repaired in a “reasonable” number of attempts. What’s considered “reasonable”? According to Alaska lemon law, it’s either one defect that the dealer or manufacturer has tried to fix three times, or a combination of defects that puts the vehicle out of service for a total of 30 or more business days. The law covers a vehicle during the term or the express warranty or one year of the original delivery date – whichever comes first. However, if you think you have a defective vehicle and want to pursue a lemon buyback, you must give the manufacturer written notice and allow the automaker one final attempt at fixing the problem.

Alaska Lemon Laws for Used Cars

Unfortunately, Alaska does not have a lemon law for used cars. However, the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act covers any product, including a used car. Therefore, you can seek protection under that federal law if you think you have a used car lemon.

While Alaska doesn’t have a lemon law for used cars, it does have a lemon law for boats and ATVs. This new law, passed in 2009, covers boats, snow machines, and ATVs for problems that can’t be fixed within the first 12 months after you buy it. As with new vehicles, defective boats, snow machines, and ATVs are subject to three repair attempts, a final notification to the manufacturer, and a final repair attempt before being considered lemons.

Selecting an Alaska Lemon Law Attorney

When you select an Alaska lemon law attorney, he or she can help you navigate the waters of Alaska lemon law. For example, the law says that if the manufacturer has an informal dispute settlement procedure in place that’s been approved by the Attorney General, you must participate in that before going to court. However, if there isn’t an approved program in place, you can go directly to court.

It can be difficult to sort out the nuances of the law, which is why you need a lemon law attorney at your side. Automakers have teams of lawyers to fight lemon law claims – both in informal arbitration and in a court of law. You’ll only be on equal ground if you have a legal eagle with you. The attorneys at LemonJustice.com can help guide you through the process, and can often negotiate a favorable settlement for you without ever having to go to court.