By Erin Levine
Buying a car is a daunting task. I know, because I am currently in the market for a new vehicle. There are so many choices and so much research to be done – do I want new or used? Should I buy from a dealer or a private party? Car or truck? You get the idea.
It seems that regardless how much work you put into finding the right car, you are still at risk of ending up with a lemon. The exact criteria for what a lemon is can vary from state to state, but it is essentially a newly purchased car that ends up having a serious problem that affects the ability to drive the car safely. This is where the Lemon Law comes in. In general, to be covered under the Lemon Law, the car must be relatively new and still under the manufacturer's warranty. The manufacturer will get a reasonable chance to repair the problem, or buy the car back.
But what if the manufacturer won’t cooperate? Your BBB has a program called AutoLine, a program available to all Accredited Businesses and Consumers. The goal of BBB AutoLine is to open the lines of communication between the consumer or business and the manufacturer, to resolve your auto warranty or lemon law dispute as quickly as possible. By visiting the AutoLine page on the BBB website, you will be provided with a list of everything you need before you file your lemon law complaint, as well as a guide to preparing for the arbitration. You may also contact their Hotline number at (800) 955-5100 for further assistance.
Just in 2011, your BBB has held 26 AutoLine hearings. While it is always important to do your research, sometimes it just isn’t enough. Lemons happen, and your BBB is here to help you through the dispute resolution process, completely free. For more information on the BBB AutoLine Program, the California-specific description and rules, or for a list of BBB Accredited Auto Dealers, visit us at bbb.org.