Consumers have a lot of responsibilities when they buy a new car, but one of their rights is to drive off with a product that functions properly. But if that product has a defect that cannot be repaired, Arizona's Lemon Law gives consumers the right to a refund or replacement.
"The cruise control will not work, the stability control will not work," Jomar Reschreiter said.
Reschreiter says her Mercedes starting acting up almost immediately after she bought it this past February. A sensor malfunction was causing all the safety features to shut down. She took it to a Mercedes dealership for repairs.
"The minute I received the car back again, the same thing happened as I was driving home," Reschreiter said.
Over the next few weeks Reschreiter says she was back and forth to the dealer several times for the same defect.
"They cannot fix it," Reschreiter said.
Sounds like the Arizona Lemon Law applies. But how can a consumer be sure? Attorney Hyung Choi has handled many of these cases. He says consumers can ask for a refund or replacement if the same exact defect cannot be cured..
"Within two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first, then the vehicle can be deemed a lemon," Choi said.
Within that time frame, consumers must allow dealers four separate chances to fix the same defect.
"But once the consumer feels the dealer had enough chances to repair, then it's best to contact the manufacturer directly," Choi said.
Choi says the consumer must go through arbitration in order to get a possible buy-back offer from the car maker. He says it's important to have documentation at your hearing.
"Make sure you do get repair invoices, and make sure those invoices accurately reflect the complaints you made to the dealership at the time," Choi said.
Arbitration is between the car buyer and the car manufacturer - the car dealer is not involved.
Under Arizona's Lemon Law, the car maker can charge you for the miles you drove while you had the vehicle, and deduct that amount from their buy-back offer. So, make sure you keep a log of miles you drove back and forth to the dealership for all the repairs and any test miles the dealer drove, and fight not to be charged for those miles.
Reschreiter says Mercedes Benz USA did provide her a full refund for her vehicle.
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