When it comes to buying a car, the biggest fear a lot of people have is that they are going to be left with a useless piece of junk or even worse, they have been conned into buying a lemon.
How do I know if I am buying a lemon?
The short answer is you don’t. No matter how many people have had good or bad experiences with purchasing a particular model from a particular brand, your purchase could be the lemon that everyone else has managed to avoid.
To clarify, a lemon isn’t just a vehicle that has problems when you buy it, a lemon can be a car that has a substantial defect that is or isn’t covered by the car warranty and even after it has been taken in to be fixed multiple times, the defect still remains.
How often do people have problems?
On a survey taken by CHOICE, an alarming 66% of people who responded found that they had problems with their cars during the first five years of owning them. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all those people managed to buy lemons; most only had minor issues that meant the cars were still driveable. However, 14% of people had major issues with brand new cars. These issues were problems that left the vehicles either unusable or extremely dangerous and difficult to drive.
Of the 66% that had problems with their new vehicles, 73% were still under full warranty.
Doesn’t warranty help me?
Warranty protects you more than anything else when it comes to lemons, but if you’ve really bought a lemon, no matter how many times you take it back to be fixed under the warranty, the problem may still persist.
Are there any brands that I should avoid?
What is interesting is that it seems that brand does make a big difference when it comes to buying lemons. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should completely avoid a brand, but understanding that your likelihood of purchasing a lemon is higher with some manufacturers can help you decide if you are torn between two or three different models.
Holden is one brand that did badly in the CHOICE survey. 68% of people surveyed that purchased a vehicle from them had problems with their cars. Ford were only slightly better with 65% of people surveyed experiencing some kind of problem. Next, was Audi with 62% of the people surveyed having some kind of problem with their vehicle. Then came Jeep, Volkswagen, Nissan and Hyundai all had 61% of their customers surveyed experiencing problems with their new vehicles. BMW had 57%, Mitsubishi 55%, Kia 54%, Subaru 53%, Suzuki 51%, Toyota 50%, Honda 49% and Mazda 44%. This doesn’t break down whether the issues were minor or major for each company, but even minor issues can become major issues after a while of not being fixed.
As you can see, the problem isn’t just restricted to one particular company or a one particular class of vehicle; it is one that is spread across them all – no matter how good their reputation for reliability.
What if I already bought a lemon?
If you have bought a new vehicle and are having problems with it and you’re still within the manufacturer warranty period, take it back to your dealership. The warranty cover may allow you to get it repaired without it costing you anything (as long as you haven’t managed to damage the vehicle and cause the fault yourself). The bright side of all the problems that people in the CHOICE survey had is that more than half of them were able to have the fault fixed under warranty. One out of five of the people surveyed were given a replacement vehicle.
The dealership won’t co-operate
If you’re having problems, are still within the warranty period and the dealership is refusing to do anything, then look for the head office for the dealership, contact the manufacturer, go to consumer watchdog groups, keep making a lot of noise until they fix or at least address your issue. Some vehicle owners have also been pushed into signing non-disclosure agreements in order to get the fault on their vehicle fixed.
What you should never forget in this situation is that there is a legal obligation for all products sold, this includes cars, to be free from defects and to actually work. Dealerships telling you they are giving you a new car to replace a faulty one as a sign of goodwill are not at all. Those that say they are allowed to replace a vehicle at their discretion are also not allowed to.
Things to remember
If you have a lemon make sure you contact your dealership and the head office of the car company in Australia. Make sure that you put everything down in writing – you don’t want to get into a bout of he said, she said. Make sure that you mention Australian Consumer Law and consumer guarantees and that your vehicle is suffering a major failure. You should also make sure to mention the ACCC and Consumer Affairs.
You may be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement, but as there are no specific lemon laws, it may be a small price to pay for a working vehicle.
How Approved Car Loans can help
With Approved Car Loans, we offer Vehicle Select, our service that is dedicated to finding you a better deal on your next vehicle. Best of all it is a completely complimentary service! Visit the looking for a car section for more information about Vehicle Select now.
We can also arrange extended vehicle warranties not only on new cars but used cars as well, no matter whether they're from a dealer or purchased privately you can still have great peace of mind. Furthermore, an extended vehicle warranty can usually be added to your finance allowing for easy, affordable monthly repayments. Visit the Extended Vehicle Warranty section to find out more.
Speak to your Approved Car Loans Finance Consultant today on 1300 4 CAR LOANS for more information or to get your best rate finance quote.
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