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New Designs Same Excuses

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  September 8, 2009

There are many situations in which car owners need to know their rights under the California lemon law. For example, let’s say you just spent thousands on a new car and the transmission starts lurching and hesitating after a few thousand miles. You bring it back to the dealer and instead of being told “we’ll fix it right away” what you hear instead is “the manufacturer is working on a solution” or “there’s supposed to be some new software to resolve that problem (at some unspecified future date).” Many consumers have found themselves in this predicament.

What’s wrong with this picture? Behind every new model are thousands of hours of research and development. One would think that prior to being put on the market the manufacturer would have all these problems worked out. But new motor vehicles are complex and apparently development and research does not always spend the time necessary to test their goods completely before putting them on the market.

Fortunately, under California lemon law and the laws of most other states, this scenario remains the automaker’s problem and not yours. The manufacturer is entitled to a reasonable opportunity to repair your vehicle, whether they have a fix or not. Opportunity is the operative word. If you present the vehicle for repairs and they do not have a fix, be sure to document your visit as this counts as an opportunity for them to get it right. After a reasonable number of these chances to get it right, and failing to do so, and providing it is a “substantial” defect, the manufacturer now has a duty to buy your vehicle back. “We don’t know how to fix it yet” is not a valid excuse. Contact a lemon law attorney to find out more about solutions that actually work.

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