A reader: Last July, I bought a new car. Whenever I drive through the mountains, I have problems with the acceleration. I can press the pedal to the floor and cannot pick up speed. I took it back to the dealer four times, and they say nothing is wrong with the car. Any suggestions?
Action Line: Speak to the dealer and ask for the general manager and explain your dilemma. If that doesn’t do you any good, you can always contact the manufacturer directly. The best contact information can usually be found on the manufacturer’s website. If you still don’t receive satisfaction, contact the BBB and file a complaint online at bbb.org and click on File A Complaint.
You should also check to see if your vehicle falls under the California or federal Lemon Law rules.
According to the California attorney general, “the ‘Lemon Law’ applies to these problems if they arise during the first 18 months after the consumer received delivery of the vehicle or within the first 18,000 miles on the odometer, whichever occurs first. During the first 18 months or 18,000 miles, the ‘Lemon Law’ presumes that a manufacturer has had a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle if either (1) the same problem results in a condition that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven and the problem has been subject to repair two or more times by the manufacturer or its agents, and the buyer or lessee has at least once directly notified the manufacturer of the need for the repair of the problem as provided in the warranty or owner's manual or (2) the same problem has been subject to repair four or more times by the manufacturer or its agents and the buyer has at least once directly notified the manufacturer of the need for the repair of the problem as provided in the warranty or owner’s manual or (3) the vehicle is out of service because of the repair of any number of problems by the manufacturer or its agents for a cumulative total of more than 30 days since delivery of the vehicle.”
For more information on Lemon Laws, you can also check out Autopedia at fblinks.com/lemon
If the vehicle falls under the Lemon Law rules, you might be eligible for a BBB program called AutoLine. AutoLine is a great program (did I mention it’s free?) where you sit down with a representative of the manufacturer and present your case to a trained arbitrator. The arbitrator’s decision is binding on both parties so, if the decision is in your favor, the manufacturer has to honor whatever resolution the arbitrator decides is best. Again, this service is free and you can’t argue with that. To contact Autoline call 800-955-5100.
Make sure you keep accurate records and receipts, so you can present a clear story to everyone you contact.
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 4201 W. Shaw Ave., Suite 107, Fresno, CA 93722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.