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View Poll Results: Would you support the idea of Lemon Laws?
YES 35 81.40%
NO 4 9.30%
UNDECIDED 4 9.30%
Voters: 43. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-11-2002, 17:36   #1 (permalink)
JR
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POLL: Lemon Laws

While I canít imagine this hasnít been covered some time before in the distant past, the number of threads lately that deal with poor service, quality, dealers etcÖ has made me think the time is right to ask this question again.

Would you support the idea of ĎLemon Lawsí in relation to the purchase of a car?

Itís a fact of life that once in a blue moon a manufacturer will turn out a genuine lemon. And Iím not making a generalization there like saying Ďthe AU was lemoní. Iím saying that for whatever reason, once in a while an individual car of any make or model will be built that is from start to finish a collection of faults and f*ck ups.

As it currently stands, many, many locally built cars have Ďproblemsí that are known bugbears and buyers are warned to watch out for that problem. Sadly, a large number of imported models can suffer from similar dramas. Iím firmly a believer that problems like this persist because itís cheaper for the manufacturers to repair them as warranty claims than it is to eradicate the problem by redesigning the component at the new vehicle development stage.

The point is that at present manufacturers aren't held to any type of measurable standard (a number of recent Ďopen letters to Ford Australiaí on these forums have shown some of the more extreme Ford related cases), and business as usual in the car industry rarely has anything to do with going out of your way to keep the customer happy.

Holden and Ford (and to a lesser extent Mitsubishi & Toyota) have had numerous recalls on their best selling models in the past 20 years, but many of the problems they supposedly fix continue on into subsequent models in one form or another.

My question is why?

Many (if not all Ė I really donít know) states in the USA have ĎLemon Lawsí that make the manufacturer replace the vehicle once itís deemed to be beyond a certain level in terms of faults and/or problems.

If properly legislated and enforced, these laws could go along way towards restoring some of the confidence that most of us seem to have lost in the last decade when it comes to buying a car.

As has been said previously in other threads, a lot of us seem to think weíre going into combat when we go into a dealer to buy a new car, and the after sales service experience does little in most cases other than to reinforce that opinion. Genuine consumer protection in the form of lemon laws could be the answer to this.

Please vote in the Poll above, and post your comments and opinions below.

Cheers
Jason
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Old 12-11-2002, 18:34   #2 (permalink)
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I voted yes but with the following viewpoint.

The Lemon laws that were introduced in the US and some European countries were introduced in response to the refusal of manufacturers to take a proactive stance on the issues that a small percentage of their customers were facing.

Sadly they differ from State to State but all typically contain clauses similar to the following:

1. The vehicle must contain a problem covered by the warranty that substantially impairs the vehicle's use, value or safety to the buyer/lessee.

2. The warrantor must be unable to repair the vehicle's warranty problems after a reasonable number or repair attempts. What constitutes a reasonable number of repair attempts will vary depending on the problem.

Note: Whilst it varies from State to State a reasonable number of attempts have been made if the dealer has made four repair attempts for the same problem or the vehicle has been out of service for 30 days or more within the first 18,000 miles or two years.

Remedies also vary between States with some allowing for full refund or replacement whilst others use a pro-rated system based on distance travelled.

All of this is to be applauded of course but my reservation is based on personal knowledge where I have known all of the major manufacturers to replace vehicles that were clearly lemons. They have almost certainly taken way too long to do it but they have a t least done it. From this point of view I would have to question the necessity for further government intervention that will no doubt only serve to make the legal profession fatter than it already is.

Cheers
Russ
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Old 12-11-2002, 18:46   #3 (permalink)
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Re: POLL: Lemon Laws

Quote:
Originally posted by JR
Iím firmly a believer that problems like this persist because itís cheaper for the manufacturers to repair them as warranty claims than it is to eradicate the problem by redesigning the component at the new vehicle development stage.
I don't believe this. It is too costly to go back and redesign a whole new part once it has been designed and tested and approved - hence warranty fixes, but when you are starting from a clean sheet, no manufacturer or designer in their right mind would design a dodgy part to fix under warranty if or when it breaks.

My 2 c anyway, take it or leave it :)
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Old 12-11-2002, 18:51   #4 (permalink)
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Russ,

I know this is going to sound like a cheap shot at Holden, but itís not meant to beÖ

With the problems theyíve had with the oil usage in the GENIII and the necessity of rebuilds and such being prevalent enough for it to percolate back to ears here, how do you think American lemon laws will impact on the Pontiac GTO when it is released.

Could Holden potentially end up with another Ford Capri like disaster?

As much as Iím sure this would amuse many here, itís not a good thing when any Aussie manufacturer falls on their ass, and Iíd hate to see it happen due to the flow on effect it would have on the whole Australian component parts supplier industry.


Cheers
Jason
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Old 12-11-2002, 19:00   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tickford6
I don't believe this. It is too costly to go back and redesign a whole new part once it has been designed and tested and approved - hence warranty fixes, but when you are starting from a clean sheet, no manufacturer or designer in their right mind would design a dodgy part to fix under warranty if or when it breaks.
Ask anyone whoís owned any Falcon with power windows from XD right up to AU how reliable their windows are once that new car gloss fades. Iím sure youíll get a wide variety of answers, but the point is that 3 separate model cycles have been encompassed in there (XD-XF / EA-EL / AU-BA) and still we have reports of dodgy windows.

If this isnít a fundamental design fault, then itís a case of cutting corners at some point in the manufacturing process.

This is merely the example that comes to my own mind most quickly from both personal and family experience, but Iím sure any owner who has stayed loyal to a brand over numerous cars of any make could relate similar stories.
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Old 12-11-2002, 21:36   #6 (permalink)
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In response to your question it would really depend on how it was handled at the dealer level.

If it was handled with the same secrecy it was here then there is likely to be less of an issue.

The Lemon Laws in most US States are not aimed at endemic problems with a model but individual vehicle issues - the genuine production lemon rather than bad basic design.

Therefore if each individual has their issue fixed within the reasonable time frame then the laws don't apply.

Musch the same is the case with the Falcon power window mechanisms. They are usually fixed (at least temporarily) upon request and unless they repeatedly fail without satisfaction they wouldn't qualify as an issue under those laws.

Basically you cna build a car with fundamental flaws and as long as you fix / replace the faulty component and it doesn't fail too often then you will get away with it.
Russ
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Old 12-11-2002, 22:36   #7 (permalink)
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in the US some of the dealers got caught reselling the lemons....

Holden should have their own lemon law!!!
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Old 12-12-2002, 23:26   #8 (permalink)
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I had a Kiwi friend who told me all about how their Consumer laws work in Nu Zelund. Apparently over there the customer is always right even if their wrong.

I beleive that there should be some form of legislation covering the timely rectification or replacement of faulty products be it toasters or cars of whatever persuasion. Perhaps not as draconian as across the Tasman but something with teeth.

Alternately if you have a beef you can always get on to John Laws and he'll fix it.
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