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Lemon laws in your state

My parents bought a cream 2006 Mercury Mountaineer from a Ford dealership in Lansing, Kansas. This was the second SUV they bought; Our first vehicle was my father’s silver 2005 GMC Envoy. Personally, I loved my mother’s Mountaineer because it always smelled new and was kept clean. He religiously washed his truck. It was through his meticulous efforts that we favored his vehicle over our father’s Envoy. Unfortunately, over a period of months, we found out that her beloved Mountaineer was a lemon!

In the Consumer Action Handbook (2007 Edition), lemons are defined as cars with distinctive defects that are not sufficiently repaired (p. 9). My mother’s mountaineer had several problems:

* It was an automatic gear but it was changed frequently as if it were a lever.

* While on Thanksgiving break, the key got stuck in the ignition.

* The brakes would freeze.

My mother visited the Ford dealership every two weeks a total of five times. He stayed with the Mountaineer for two years before switching to a new black 2007 Ford Explorer. It wasn’t the vehicle he wanted, but because he didn’t ask about lemon laws before buying the vehicle, he was out of luck.

Looking at what happened to my mother, I think it is important for consumers to visit recall.gov before purchasing a certain product. From there, you have the option of researching various products such as vehicles, ships, medicines, cosmetics, environmental products, and even food. Other useful websites include:

* cpsc.gov (US Consumer Product Safety Commission)

* recalls.org (“A non-profit organization for the benefit of the public”)

* nhtsa.dot.gov (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Going back to the manual, it is recommended that consumers learn what kind of protection they have for a defective vehicle. In addition, the consumer should know what steps are required to ensure that they will adequately refund or be offered a replacement immediately. A directory of consumer protection offices arranged alphabetically by state, country, and city is included in the back of the manual. (p. 9)

To increase your chances of satisfaction, the manual provides these steps:

* Call your city or county government office first. You should ask the office what kind of situations they handle and ask for a complaint form. You should also request documentation on your vehicle recall, as many consumer protection offices offer information based on state and local issues. Then, if you are not satisfied, submit a written statement. (p. 127)

* Make a list of recurring problems. Give this information to the car dealer. (p. 9)

* Request documents on what needed to be fixed, what was fixed, and on what dates the car was brought to the shop. (p. 10)

* Report the problem to the car manufacturer and dealer. To contact the car manufacturer, see the owner’s manual or the section on car manufacturers on pg. 61. Of course, this information will only be useful if you have the manual. (p. 10)

* Go to safetyforum.com to alarm other consumers of your lemon. By registering, other consumers can avoid accidentally buying your defective vehicle. (p. 10)

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