Tuesday, September 27, 2022

STONEWALLED: THEY REFUSED TO HONOR THE WARRANTY
by Craig Kimmel
Ask Craig your question! Craig Thor Kimmel is a nationally recognized automotive consumer advocate and managing partner of Kimmel & Silverman, P.C., the nation's largest lemon law firm. For more information on automotive consumer issues, visit http://www.lemonlaw.com

Craig Kimmel

Dear Craig:
I purchased a new Mazda Protege. Around 32K I noticed a knocking sound in the front axle/wheel base when making right turns. I took the car to the dealership on 5 occasions but the problem was not remedied. An independent Mazda mechanic said that the factory had built a faulty front axle and that Mazda should replace it under the 50K warranty. My trips to the mechanics took me over the 50K mileage. I went back to the dealership (two more occasions) but got stonewalled; they refused to honor the warranty, denied there was a problem with the axle, and charged $100 to replace pins in the wheel base which they said could be causing the knocking noise.

I lost considerable work pay (spent commuting to the dealership) and finally gave up on getting help. The problem is worse now, with a grinding noise in the wheel base when I make sharp turns or hit the brakes (since replaced).

I have no faith in the dealership and am thoroughly frustrated...can you help?
--April

April,

Great question and we at Debtsmart.com can help! There are several scenarios, based upon the facts, some of which were not in your email. Under the first scenario, you are entitled to free repairs. If the last time the Mazda dealer made repairs resulted in parts installation within the previous 12 months or 12,000 miles. That is because Mazda issues a separate 12 month, 12,000 mile parts warranty for every dealer-installed Mazda part. This is not widely disclosed, but is widely known in the industry. If these facts fit, go back to the dealer armed with copies of your last repair invoice and assert your right to free repairs during the 12/12 parts warranty. If you have problems, write Mazda a certified letter, requesting the same. Give a set deadline of 10 days for a response.

Scenario two is as follows: Check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website www.nhtsa.dot.gov for a list of known mechanical issues with your Mazda. The site allows you to input your make, model, year and problem for search of technical service bulletins, or TSBs. If your problem comes up, print the TSB, bring it to the dealer and follow my instructions of the above paragraph, as the concern should be covered without charge.

Scenario three involves your legal rights. Five repairs for an axle concern is extreme. These components rarely fail before 50,000 miles absent some defect. Certainly it is clear the dealership was unsuccessful in addressing it properly, because you continue to have issues arise. You can collect your invoices, or obtain copies from the dealer if you are missing any, and consult with a qualified consumer lawyer in your area. A good consumer lawyer, a "lemon lawyer" if you will, can at least get your car fixed, and in my experience has a very good chance under state and Federal laws to obtain a full refund or new car. The best news for you is that the attorney fees are paid by the manufacturer and most experienced attorneys will take the case without any retainer or costs up front. This makes the entire process free to you. What is better than having an expert lawyer work for you for free without having to go back and forth with the dealer and Mazda? You can locate experienced consumer attorneys in your area by visiting www.lemonlawamerica.com for a user friendly map, state by state, where help is available.

We hope to hear from you as to how you made out. Good luck consumers and don't give up!


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