STONEWALLED: THEY REFUSED TO HONOR THE WARRANTY
|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,
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?
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!