The $2400.00 Lemon Aid
by, 06-02-2010 at 10:34 PM (1846 Views)
Sit back with a cool drink for the tale I am about to tell is as true as it is long.
Thursday started out like every other day... the sun was shining, the weather was comfortable. The only thing different about that day is that we handed $2400.00 in cash to a rat.
The rat didn't have a tail, but a rat all the same. He was a used car dealer. Now, I don't think all dealers are scammers, but this one was the shining example of why people don't trust them much.
We needed a car - in the most absolute definition of need. Not having a car was putting stress not only on my household, but my ex-husband as well because he was having to leave work early 3 days a week to bring our daughter home from school.
We wanted to avoid another car loan. So, with that in mind, we bought what we thought was the 'responsible choice'. The car only had 69K miles on it. It wasn't 'pretty' but we dismissed cosmetics for the extremely low miles.
69K may not seem very low in miles, but it was a 1990 Toyota Corolla. Before we took possession of the car, the dealer changes the oil pan, a router, a caliper and some other 'thingy'.
Old Man took the car to work Sunday and all the guys at work ranked on him up one side and down the other. They pointed out flaws that we weren't properly educated to notice. They all said we should take the car back.
Massachusetts doesn't have a buyers remorse. The only way we would be able to return it was if it failed inspection and the costs to repair the car to passable status was more than 10% of the purchase price. It's Massachusetts' Lemon Aid Law.
Since we didn't take possession of the car until Friday night, we had to wait until Tuesday morning to get the car inspected.
As I was waiting in the line of waiting cars, the head mechanic came over to me. I didn't know why he singled me out, I wasn't next in line... my radio wasn't too loud.
He smiled and said "Ma'am, I just wanted you to know that I don't think your car is going to pass inspection." He looked confused when I responded with an over-joyed "That's the best thing I have heard today". I don't think it's the usual response to failure.
IT FAILED !!!
First thing to fail was the wipers; they didn't 'park' when you turned them off. I honestly didn't realize that was a failing offense.
The next failure actually made me smile. The exhaust had a leak.
The nice mechanic told me to call the dealer and if he was a gentleman (which the mechanic truly is) he would take the car back without a hassle.
I went home, called the 'gentleman' to tell him the car failed inspection and I would be returning it. He said "No, I will fix what is wrong, you can't bring the car back".
He made the mistake of thinking because I am a jolly rolypoly that I must also be a complete moron. When it comes to cars, I am still learning. The law, I know!
When he presented himself as the rat he is. I told him I would be getting the estimates for repairs and sending the letter of intent via certified mail and will be persuing the Lemon Aid Law.
Off to the muffler shop. I explained to them what was happening and they were more than happy to put it up on the lift and give me an estimate.
$819! Everything needed to be replaced. I was under the car. There was nothing to weld patches on to other than rust. Where there wasn't rust, there was holes.
That was MORE than enough to force the return. While we were under the car trying to avoid the rain of rust, he pointed and said "The manifold has a crack in it. The estimate is only for the exhaust. Go to another mechanic and get the estimate for that too".
And, that's exactly what I did. When I returned to the garage that failed the car earlier that morning, they were more than happy to write up an estimate to replace the manifold.
They offered to check everything else for me, but I said no. At that point, I knew I was going to definately return the car. Over 50% cost for repairs.
If I had not gone for the exhaust estimate, I wouldn't have known about the manifold. I highly doubt the dealer would tell me out of the kindness of his heart.
That brings us to today. Old Man and I brought the car back to the swindler... er, I mean dealer. I think he realized it was the easier thing to do because I came armed with estimates, forms and various printouts. That, and I looked rather bitchy.
We exchanged unpleasantries. Him yelling that he didn't tell us to buy a 20 year old car... me volleying back with how he did not disclose everything that was wrong with the car and had we known upfront, we wouldn't have!
He gave us a check for $1000.00 (which we cashed as quickly as my car could get us to HIS bank). We will get the other $1400.00 when we give him the title. We applied for the title on Friday, I called Tuesday and it is being expedited to us. The sooner we get him out of our lives, the happier I will be.