Car dealership vs. my 80yr old father

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Oct 14, 2019
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#1
I tried contacting this website directly but was told to post it here instead. It truly seems nobody is interested in helping with this.
I'm looking for help with my 80 year old father's car. He purchased it new from Norman Gale GMC in Cedar Knolls, NJ last summer. Shortly after he started getting Check Engine lights and had to bring it in. That began an odyssey that has lasted over a year. The car would spend days, weeks, and now months at the dealer at a time why they attempt to fix it. It currently has been there in August with no end in sight. It has easily spent more time waiting to be fixed at the dealer than it has at home.
We inquired about the Lemon Law, and they're refusing to do that, too.
To make matters worse, first they didn't even offer a loaner car. Now they do, but it's a bare bones car and doesn't have any of the options he paid for. That's fine when you have it for a day or two, but not when you drive it more than your own car.
And to top it all off, in the rare occasions he does get it back, they don't even wash it as a courtesy and it comes back absolutely filthy.
We have tried contacting GM corporate many times. Every time they promise to look into it and call us back within 2 business days. They never do.
It's time for them to do what's right- buy back the car, spend all the time they want trying to fix it themselves, and we can move on with their lives.
I strongly suspect they're doing this to him because he's 80 and they know he won't fight it.
The current excuse is that they're waiting on a part they can't get due to the GM strike. But this would be yet another of countless times they've claimed to have fixed it, just to have it go back in a few days later.
We need help. This is a disgrace, and after nearly a year and a half it's been going on long enough.
 
Oct 14, 2019
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#5
We inquired about the Lemon Law months ago with the same brochure in hand. The dealer told us it wouldn't work because of GM's bankruptcy filings and corporate would just stonewall us without responding. They also said that since many of the repairs attempts have been done on a handshake, and not paperwork, they don't have the records to support the service attempts and durations. We don't know who to believe.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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We inquired about the Lemon Law months ago with the same brochure in hand. The dealer told us it wouldn't work because of GM's bankruptcy filings and corporate would just stonewall us without responding. They also said that since many of the repairs attempts have been done on a handshake, and not paperwork, they don't have the records to support the service attempts and durations. We don't know who to believe.
GM declared bankruptcy in 2009 and was reorganized — not liquidated. The new General Motors LLc sold you the car and that company is solvent.

Someone is stringing you along.

A judge ruled that class action law suits for defective cars purchased pre 2009 bankruptcy could not proceed against the new GM — this has nothing to do with your father’s situation.

They do not have paperwork? Nothing on handing over a loaner car?

Do not believe them, the claims are garbage.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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We inquired about the Lemon Law months ago with the same brochure in hand. The dealer told us it wouldn't work because of GM's bankruptcy filings and corporate would just stonewall us without responding. They also said that since many of the repairs attempts have been done on a handshake, and not paperwork, they don't have the records to support the service attempts and durations. We don't know who to believe.
They are lying to you. As Christina said, the bankruptcy was long before you bought your car. And GM corporate can stonewall all they want--You only need to wait 10 days before filing for a hearing.

It's problematic if you have no documentation. You don't even have paperwork for the latest incident? The car has been with the dealer for two months. You only need 20 consecutive days out of service to trigger the law.

You should try asking again for the service records for the car. They have them--They're not doing repairs "on a handshake". They needed records to bill GM for the warranty work they performed. Don't mention the lemon law this time. Ideally, ask for the records from someone with whom you haven't discussed the lemon law (eg the service admin or cashier).

You could also try calling the NJ Lemon Law unit (phone number in brochure) to see what advice they can offer.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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One other idea: some GM service records (esp. warranty work) are reported centrally. You can ask a different dealer to run a report for you. From what I can tell, it's called a GMVIS report.
 
Likes: VoR61
May 1, 2018
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We inquired about the Lemon Law months ago with the same brochure in hand. The dealer told us it wouldn't work because of GM's bankruptcy filings and corporate would just stonewall us without responding. They also said that since many of the repairs attempts have been done on a handshake, and not paperwork, they don't have the records to support the service attempts and durations. We don't know who to believe.
Never take legal advice from your adversary. Why on earth would you believe what the dealer is telling you? Dealers are incentivized by manufacturers to do whatever they can to avoid lemon law claim against the manufacturer so have absolutely zero incentive to give to give you accurate information.

Most lemon law attorneys work on contingency. Reach out to a couple in your area. They will be able to quickly tell you if you have a valid claim and whether they will work with you on contingency.
 
Mar 23, 2015
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We inquired about the Lemon Law months ago with the same brochure in hand. The dealer told us it wouldn't work because of GM's bankruptcy filings and corporate would just stonewall us without responding. They also said that since many of the repairs attempts have been done on a handshake, and not paperwork, they don't have the records to support the service attempts and durations. We don't know who to believe.
The wrong people to ask if you qualify for a Lemon Law refund, are the people you want the Lemon Law refund from. Of course they're going to give you inaccurate information! Hopefully, you/your father have some record? Each time he picked up the car he should have signed a repair form and gotten a copy? I keep all mine in the glove compartment? Regardless sit down and start drafting a timeline with him of each repair and pulling all the receipts you DO have and USE the information in the brochure. STOP dealing with the people at the dealership who've already proven to be unethical. Is there a different dealer in a reasonable distance? You're going to likely have to step in and be aggressive on your Father's behalf if he isn't able/willing to do so for himself. But it's been a year already and time is a wastin'!
 
Jan 30, 2018
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Our local NBC affiliate TV station has a consumer advocate (actually they have 3) who gets involved in situations like this. Perhaps a call to
one of your local stations would provide some assistance.
 
Likes: Mel65
Sep 27, 2018
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AC3DG, this is going to take some effort on your part. I have a 91 year old father and that generation tends to be very mild mannered and is easily bamboozled by people like a car dealer. It doesn't help if his hearing is poor. You need to be there each time he has an interaction with the dealership, and insist on a proper paper trail. Stop doing communication verbally, use email to get a paper trail. There is usually an area manager for GM, that would be your first step, he probably won't be much help, but it establishes a record of trying to get this resolved before filing the Lemon Law. Good luck.
 
Mar 23, 2015
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Most states license car repair facilities and require paperwork on every repair order.
But if the car repair facility is unethical to begin with....and they aren't generating that paperwork and it's all a handshake and a promise, how does this poor man prove a negative? "I don't have paperwork, because there was no paperwork to have." The dealer says, "There is no paperwork because there was no repair done--he's a crazy person." Regulations are great... when followed and enforced.
 
Likes: VoR61
Jun 24, 2019
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But if the car repair facility is unethical to begin with....and they aren't generating that paperwork and it's all a handshake and a promise, how does this poor man prove a negative? "I don't have paperwork, because there was no paperwork to have." The dealer says, "There is no paperwork because there was no repair done--he's a crazy person." Regulations are great... when followed and enforced.
As these appear to be warranty repairs, for which the dealer bills GM, I'm confident there is paperwork. GM does not pay for warranty work on a handshake. If there is paperwork with GM, there is likely to be paperwork with the customer. See SMD's post no. 8.
 
Oct 14, 2019
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Thanks everyone. Right now we're working on getting a copy of the full service history from the dealer so we can fill out the Lemon Law forms with as much information as possible. In the meantime, I've opened a case with senior support something or other at GM and have requested a buy-back. The request is going to a regional manager who will see the full service history. But as the support person said, on paper the current problem is a delay on a part needed to fix it. Even though this is the zillionth part they've replaced in an attempt to fix it as they clearly have no idea what's wrong, or how to fix it. Because on paper it's simply a part delay, that manager may reject the buyback request. Either way, we're gathering information for the Lemon Law form.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#17
We inquired about the Lemon Law months ago with the same brochure in hand. The dealer told us it wouldn't work because of GM's bankruptcy filings and corporate would just stonewall us without responding. They also said that since many of the repairs attempts have been done on a handshake, and not paperwork, they don't have the records to support the service attempts and durations. We don't know who to believe.
I agree with Mel, a car dealer is not a particularly good source of information on your state's Lemon Law. I would not rely on the dealer for the service history either. Your dad needs to develop his own timeline with the relevant service orders. This kind of a mess is not quickly nor easily straightened out, it will take a great deal of effort. I'm glad you're there for him.
 
Mar 23, 2015
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As these appear to be warranty repairs, for which the dealer bills GM, I'm confident there is paperwork. GM does not pay for warranty work on a handshake. If there is paperwork with GM, there is likely to be paperwork with the customer. See SMD's post no. 8.
I hope there are. I was basing my response on the OP's comment in his original post, "They also said that since many of the repairs attempts have been done on a handshake, and not paperwork, they don't have the records to support the service attempts and durations."
 
Likes: VoR61
Sep 19, 2015
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Thanks everyone. Right now we're working on getting a copy of the full service history from the dealer so we can fill out the Lemon Law forms with as much information as possible. In the meantime, I've opened a case with senior support something or other at GM and have requested a buy-back. The request is going to a regional manager who will see the full service history. But as the support person said, on paper the current problem is a delay on a part needed to fix it. Even though this is the zillionth part they've replaced in an attempt to fix it as they clearly have no idea what's wrong, or how to fix it. Because on paper it's simply a part delay, that manager may reject the buyback request. Either way, we're gathering information for the Lemon Law form.
If the dealership has had to order parts or replace parts there will be a record of it. I am happy that you are there to help your father as something like this can be overwhelming.

I suspect there is no certainty that this part will even solve the problem.

Just be aware of the time deadlines so you do not get strung along past the lemon law date.

Please let us know what happens.
 
Oct 14, 2019
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#20
Hi everyone- Our registered letter to GM went out in today's mail, which begins the Lemon Law process. We received a printed copy of the service history from the dealer and have started to fill out the Lemon Law application, but there are discrepancies. Specifically, the records show the car was brought in July 2nd, returned Sept 10th, and brought in again Oct 1 to present. This isn't true. It was brought in July 2, and returned some weeks later- we're not sure when. We know for sure it was brought back in Aug 21st, and has been there ever since. Which set of dates / figures do we put on the Lemon Law application? It far exceeds the Lemon Law requirements having been in for repair 9 times (4 is needed) and out of service for over 100 days (20 is needed), but we don't want to screw ourselves by having incorrect information on the forms.