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Where’s my Loaner? The Dealer’s Dirty Little Secret

By Legal

When most people buy a new or newer used vehicle, they only focus on the price.  Dealerships know this, but rarely offer good deals.  Instead, they markup vehicles as much as possible and offer seasonal discounts and incentives that are nothing more than smoke and mirrors—tricks to get people interested so their salespeople can do what they do best—SELL!  They find clever ways to take advantage of consumers so the discounted price is never what you actually end up paying “out the door.”  They assure you if there’s any issues with the vehicle, their service department will repair it and never leave you stranded.  But what really happens when your vehicle breaks down?

It all depends on what’s in your warranty.  Very few manufacturer warranties include any coverage whatsoever for loaner or rental vehicles when your vehicle is in the shop.  Dealerships certainly don’t advertise this.  Once they have you hooked and ready to buy, they use it for leverage to upsell you for an extended warranty or service contract for “added protection and peace of mind,” and many people fall for the trap.  The dealer’s dirty little secret is in the fine print, of course!  The truth is most of these additional warranties do not include full coverage for rental or loaner vehicles no matter how long your vehicle may be broken down or how many times it needs repair work.

If you’re lucky, the dealer will provide a complimentary loaner at no cost.  But if your vehicle requires an extended stay or is brought back to the shop repeatedly for more and more repairs, many times they’ll demand you return their loaner or not even offer one in the first place.  If you purchased an extended warranty or service contract that provides for at least partial reimbursement of rental car expenses, you’ll be asked to pay up front and get reimbursed later, which many people simply cannot afford.  That puts consumers in a bind, and when they reach out for legal advice, they’re shocked to learn the Lemon Law does not require the dealer to provide loaner vehicles no matter how long their vehicle is broken down.

So what can you do to protect yourself?  The Lemon Law only works if you take advantage of it, and the sooner, the better.  When it comes to filing a Lemon Law claim, TIME IS YOUR ENEMY!  The sooner you contact an attorney to review your case, the sooner you can get rid of your Lemon.  Don’t expect the dealer to make it right.  They make their money on the sales floor, not in the repair shop.  If anything, they’ll use your troubles as a sales opportunity and offer you another “great deal” on a trade so they can take advantage of you all over again.  Don’t wait and don’t take the bait!  Contact us today for a Free Case Review, get rid of your Lemon, and get back on the road.

Top 5 Tips How to Avoid Buying a Lemon Vehicle in Arizona

By Legal

Before you buy a vehicle in Arizona, you should take the time to learn about your consumer rights and how to avoid getting stuck with a Lemon.  Most people have never heard of the Lemon Law and make the mistake of assuming the law will protect them.  But the Lemon Law has strict requirements and short deadlines, so follow these simple tips to protect yourself:  

   Do your research

When searching for your next vehicle, use the Internet to your advantage and do some digging.  Once you find the vehicle you want to buy, focus your search on news articles, technical service bulletins, and other sources of information about the product’s performance and reputation.  

While any vehicle can be a Lemon, some makes and models are worse than others.  Like reading the reviews before choosing a restaurant, doing your research beforehand could save you a lot of heartburn.   

   Learn what vehicles qualify 

The Lemon Law was meant primarily for traditional automobiles.  Big trucks and motorhomes, most offroad vehicles, boats, and anything without an engine does not qualify.  If you buy a product like this, you have other consumer remedies available to you, but not the state Lemon Law.     

   Understand the difference between buying and leasing

The Arizona Lemon Law only applies to consumers who purchase vehicles, not lease. Before you make the decision to lease instead of buy, keep in mind that the manufacturer does not have the same legal obligations and you have fewer rights if you lease in Arizona.  Leasing the vehicle in a different state may be worth the trip.   

   Pay attention to your sales contract 

Dealers like to tell people used cars are “as good as new.”  But even if a vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and the warranty extended, the law isn’t the same for used cars vs. brand-new.  You have fewer rights and less time to file a Lemon Law claim.   

Buyer beware!  Dealer demo vehicles are often advertised as new but marked as used when sold.  Pay close attention before you sign on the dotted line.  If they told you it was new, it should say new on the sales contract.   

    Be prepared to pay back negative trade equity if you financed 

Rolling in negative equity from your trade is a classic method dealers use to talk people into purchasing vehicles they can’t afford.  Unfortunately, the Lemon Law only entitles you to a refund of what you paid for the new vehicle, so any negative equity acts as a deduction from your Lemon Law refund.  Depending on how much you’ve paid towards the loan, this may result in you actually having to pay to return your Lemon vehicle!   

If you think you purchased a Lemon vehicle, the best advice is to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.  Many people give up without ever contacting an attorney and are surprised to learn that the law allows you the right to hire an attorney for free.  The law is there to protect you, but it only works if you take advantage of it—before it’s too late!   

For more information, contact Hammer Law PLLC to speak with an experienced Lemon Law attorney at (480) 480-1014 or hammerlemonlaw.com. 

Best Advice When Taking Your Lemon Vehicle into the Repair Shop

By Legal

To qualify as a “Lemon” under the Arizona Lemon Law, your vehicle must have either four repairs for the same issue or 30 total days in the repair shop under warranty.  Of course, it’s easy to get frustrated when you have to take your vehicle into the repair shop over and over again, or if it’s in the shop forever without actually fixing the problem.    

But to prove your vehicle is a Lemon, you need more than frustration.  You need evidence.  Follow these tips every time you take your vehicle in for repair: 

        Be kind. 

You catch more bees with honey than you do with vinegar!  Staying polite and respectful will help your case and the dealer will be more inclined to take your concerns seriously.  

        Get records, every single time. 

If you don’t have written evidence, it’s your word against theirs.  Make sure you never leave the dealership without a repair record that shows the date you took it in and picked it up.  

       Make sure your records are accurate. 

Take the time to look over your repair invoice and make sure the date is correct and all your concerns are recorded, even if nothing was found or no work was performed.  Without written evidence, it can be difficult to prove a Lemon Law claim.   

       Take your Lemon vehicle in every time you have a repair issue. 

For repair issues, you should continue to take the vehicle into the shop until it’s fixed.  No matter how frustrating it is to be without your vehicle, the more repairs, the stronger your Lemon Law claim.  All things considered, you don’t have a claim if you don’t have any repairs!  

       Don’t talk about your case with the dealer. 

A Lemon Law claim is against the manufacturer, not the dealer. As a result, don’t threaten attorneys or the Lemon Law, or the dealer might not want to work on your vehicle anymore.  

If you’ve had warranty repairs, don’t wait!  You may be entitled to relief under the Arizona Lemon Law.  For more information, contact Hammer Law PLLC to speak with an experienced Lemon Law attorney at (480) 480-1014 or hammerlemonlaw.com. 

Are Motorcycles Covered by the Lemon Law?

By Legal

In Arizona, we like to get outside and ride!  One of the best parts about Arizona is the beautiful weather, which allows us the ability to ride our motorcycles and offroad vehicles basically year around.  But expensive toys like these aren’t very fun when they’re broken down and can even put you in a life-threatening situation if you’re caught unprepared.  That’s why it’s important to know your consumer rights when you purchase a motorcycle or offroad vehicle, so you know exactly what to expect if something goes wrong.

Understandably, most people don’t think about the fine print of their warranty terms or legal rights until they start having repair issues.  And most people are surprised to learn that in Arizona, the Lemon Law doesn’t apply to dirt bikes and offroad vehicles like it does street bikes or regular cars or trucks.  To qualify under the Lemon Law, your motor vehicle must be “designated primarily for the transportation of person or property over public highways.”  See A.R.S. § 44-1261(A)(1). 

Even if licensed for the street, most offroad vehicles like ATVs, UTVs, and dirt bikes unfortunately do not qualify because their primary use is not for the highways.  On the other hand, dual-purpose motorcycles—sometimes called dual-sport or adventure motorcycles—are both street legal and designed for going offroad.  Built on a dirt bike chassis, these motorcycles have added lights, mirrors, and signals, which allow them to be licensed and qualify under the Lemon Law.  Other products like scooters and mopeds may also qualify, as long as their top speed allows for normal highway use. 

If you purchased an offroad vehicle you think is a Lemon, you may still have a case even if your product is not specifically covered by the state Lemon Law.  There is a federal law that may still apply to your situation—the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA).  See 15 U.S.C § 2301 et seq.  Under the MMWA, you can still pursue a breach of warranty claim even if your product is not covered by the state Lemon Law.

To find out if the Lemon Law applies to your specific situation, please fill out our Free Case Review or give us a call at (480) 480-1014 to speak to an attorney at no cost.

Top 5 Things You Need to Know if You Own an RV, Boat, or Offroad Vehicle

By Legal

Top 5 Things You Need to Know if You Own an RV, Boat, or Offroad Vehicle
Most people aren’t thinking about their legal rights when making a large purchase like an RV, boat, or offroad vehicle. They’re thinking about how much fun they’re going to have camping, boating, or off-roading. When things go wrong, people assume that the law will protect them, especially considering the enormous purchase price they paid. But the Lemon Law does not apply to these high-dollar recreational products the same way as a traditional automobile, which presents a number of issues that may affect your Lemon Law rights. Here are the top five things you need to know:

1. The Arizona Lemon Law does NOT cover most RVs, trailers, recreational vehicles, or boats.
There are few things that can disqualify you under the Arizona Lemon Law. The first test is whether or not your vehicle is “self-propelled,” which means—does it have an engine? If you have to pull it, it’s automatically disqualified under the Lemon Law. (See A.R.S. § 44-1261(A)(2)).
Next, is it licensed for the street and primarily intended for use on the highway? If so, you probably own a motorhome or dual-sport motorcycle, and the motorcycle should qualify. For motorhomes, the Lemon Law excludes any issues with the livable portion of the unit, and only applies to chassis issues for vehicles under 10,000 Gross Vehicle Weight. (See A.R.S. § 44-1261(A)(4)(C)).
If you don’t qualify for a Lemon Law claim, don’t worry—you may still have a breach of warranty claim under federal law.

2. Your deadline for filing a claim may be shortened by the terms of your warranty.
These big companies know how to protect themselves from liability. All that fine print in your warranty is important, and they include it for the simple reason of making it harder for you to hold them accountable when you have issues. One of the tricks manufacturers like to use is to shorten the amount of time you have to pursue a legal claim against them or their dealer. That deadline can be as little as 90 days after the first year of ownership, regardless of your warranty length or even if it’s still in the repair shop.
If you’ve had repair issues under warranty, you should consult with an experienced Arizona Lemon Law lawyer as soon as possible. Even after the deadline, you may still have a case.

3. Your warranty can be voided if you live in it.
People buy recreational products for lots of different reasons. During the pandemic, remote work became much more common, and more and more people opted to forego a mortgage and embrace life on the open road. But when unexpected repair issues turn what should be a dream life into a nightmare, people are shocked to learn that their warranty prohibits using the product as a full-time residence, and their warranty coverage may be voided entirely.
Make sure to ask questions and review the warranty carefully before purchasing a recreational product for full time living. Not all warranties are the same.

4. Registering your product in a different state or to a business may impact the warranty terms.
Many people register their recreational product in a different state or to their business as a way of saving money on taxes. But there are multiple ways manufacturers can use this against you. Some warranties can be limited depending on the state you buy, take delivery, or register the product in. Others can be voided if you register the product to a business, even if you don’t use it for business or commercial purposes.
Bottom line—always review the warranty carefully before registering a recreational product. The risks may outweigh the tax benefits.

5. Liability lies with the manufacturer, not the dealer.
The dealership is not owned by the same company as the manufacturer. The dealer is an independently-owned entity that has a contractual relationship with manufacturers to market and sell their products. Most dealers are indemnified, or legally shielded, from liability by way of their contract with whatever company actually made your product. For this reason, most Lemon Law and breach of warranty claims can only be brought against the manufacturer, not the dealership.

Lemon Law Basics

By Legal

When most people have a Lemon Law issue, before they call an attorney, they usually go to Google and try to figure it out themselves. But like most legal issues, it’s not that simple, and people get taken advantage of when they try to handle it on their own. That’s why the law allows you to hire a Lemon Law attorney for free, because you’re up against a billion-dollar company with an army of attorneys—and that’s not a fair fight.

Luckily, most Lemon Law claims can be settled relatively quickly without the need for a lawsuit. About 95% of our cases settle out of court in about 90 days or less. That’s because the law sets pretty clear standards for what qualifies a vehicle as a “lemon.”

Technically the law says you need four repair attempts for the same issue or thirty cumulative days in the repair shop, but one or the other works, so you don’t need both. The repairs also need to take place within the first two years or within the first 24,000 miles since original delivery, whichever comes first.

Don’t get discouraged if you’ve had a lot of repair issues but still don’t meet these standards, or even if you’re outside the Lemon Law time limits—you may still have a case. The beauty of the Lemon Law is that there’s not just a one-size-fits-all solution—there are different options if your vehicle qualifies. Under the statute, the manufacturer is supposed to either Replace or Repurchase your vehicle.

A Lemon Law Replacement is not a dealer trade! It’s much better financially for you, because you don’t get charged depreciation or a mileage fee. A Lemon Law Repurchase is a refund. You get back everything you paid minus a mileage fee. If neither of these options work for you, there is also the possibility for a cash settlement with you keeping the vehicle and the warranty.

That’s why you need an attorney on your side that will aggressively negotiate the best possible deal for you, not them! You need someone on your side who will actually fight to make sure you get what you deserve.

Don’t get taken advantage of twice. Call Henry and DROP THE HAMMER!

Federal Law Basics

By Legal

One of the most important things that we tell our clients is that when it comes to filing a Lemon Law claim in Arizona, time is your enemy!

There is very strict statute of limitations for filing a Lemon Law claim in Arizona. But don’t worry. Even if your vehicle falls outside of the time period for filing a Lemon Law claim, there is a federal law that may still apply to your case. It’s called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA), 15 U.S.C. § 2301 et seq.

This law not only protects people whose vehicles fall outside of the Lemon Law period, but also covers products like RVs, trailers, boats, motorcycles, and off-road vehicles. While the requirements are similar to a Lemon Law claim, the federal law is not the same thing and unfortunately doesn’t provide consumers with the same type of remedies as provided under state law.

Usually what that means for you is cash compensation. They’re called cash-and-keep settlements. Basically, we negotiate to get you the most money possible, and then you can keep the vehicle or get rid of it. It’s up to you. If they’ve fixed it and you want to keep it, nothing about your warranty will change. If you have future repair issues, they still have an obligation to fix it under the warranty.

But if you’ve had enough and want out of it, cash can still be a great way to do that, because once we settle your case and get you paid, you can turn around a negotiate a trade with the dealer or sell your vehicle on the private market. Going about it this way actually allows some people to come out in a better financial position than they would have going through the Lemon Law process.

So keep an open mind when it comes to settlement. Henry negotiates hundreds of these deals every year. There’s not just a one-size-fits-all solution, and that’s why about 95% of our cases settle in about 90 days or less. Don’t let them tell you it’s hopeless and nothing can be done about your situation.

Call Henry and DROP THE HAMMER!

Henry’s Mission

By Legal

Henry knows what it’s like to be without reliable transportation and he takes your situation personally. Not having a reliable vehicle makes life way more difficult than it should be. That’s why people pay more for vehicles that still have warranty coverage, because you want that assurance that your vehicle is actually going to work the way it is supposed to.

But these big corporations don’t actually care about you. The more issues you have, the more money it costs the company in warranty repairs—so you’re an inconvenience to them. If they can avoid helping you, they usually will. We hear the same stories over and over again:

  • “They’re not even trying to fix it.”
  • “They’re waiting for a part. They have no idea when it will come in.”
  • “They can’t figure out what’s really causing the problem.”
  • “I don’t understand why they won’t just take it back and give me a new one.”

That’s why you need an attorney on your side, because these big companies don’t just roll over if you write them an angry letter. All they care about is avoiding lawsuits, and that’s why the Lemon Law forces the manufacturer to pay attorneys’ fees in addition to whatever you are entitled to.

Every day, we aggressively advocate and fight on behalf of consumers who find themselves unexpectedly pitted against these big, powerful companies. It doesn’t make any sense to try and handle it on your own when you can hire an experienced Lemon Law attorney for free and with absolutely no risk for any costs or fees.

Nobody asks for these types of issues, and you don’t deserve it. Don’t put up with it anymore! Call Henry and DROP THE HAMMER!