Welcome back to our Blog ! In our last blog, we discussed some of the top technology trends in the automotive industry. This week, I’d like to share with you the true story of “my lemon”, a story of how one example of such technology ruined my vehicle ownership experience – and presented a real safety issue. Had I known back then what I know now about the Lemon Law and how it protects consumers, the experience would have been far less stressful and time consuming.

A couple of years ago, I purchased a 2014 Jeep Cherokee which was still under the manufacturer’s warranty. At the time, the vehicle had around 5,000 miles on it, so I technically bought it ‘used’, probably having been a dealer demonstrator. During the test drive, all seemed fine. I was enamored with the automatic (“adaptive”) cruise control, great sound system and the overall look of the car. Model year 2014 was the year that Chrysler had radically redesigned the Jeep Cherokee line, starting with the exterior design and following all the way through to the telematic system, power train and the infamous new 9 speed transmission. As we discussed in our last blog, rushing a product out the door without proper testing can and usually does lead to defects. This was no exception.

One afternoon, I had started my weekly return drive home after a long week on the road. I was 180 miles from home and ready for some downtime. After about 15 minutes on the freeway, several warning lights on the dashboard started to blink like a Christmas tree, most of which I hadn’t seen before. This was followed by a complete disengagement of the transmission! “Shift to Park” started blinking at 65 MPH! All of this occurred at freeway speed while in the far left lane. Pressing the accelerator resulted in zero power and nothing but an engine revving, yet the indicator shows “D” as if the transmission is in “drive”. This was a dangerous situation…..being in the middle of the freeway, everyone rushing past and suddenly you have no power. I had to coast over to the shoulder, shut off and restart the vehicle, and limit my speed to 50 mph. I finally made it home after what must have been three or four repeat episodes – pull over, re-boot, drive. What a nightmare!

After finally arriving home, the real fun began. Calling several dealerships in the local area, I was immediately greeted with statements such as “well, we are booked out 3 weeks, would you like to make an appointment?” and “ we are swamped with recalls, we are very busy at this time”. Oh, and I was planning on taking my family on a thanksgiving trip the following week. But then, the the real eye-opener: doing an internet search for the transmission issues on this vehicle revealed thousands of other owners experiencing the same problems with this new transmission. I read story after story of these individuals recounting everything from rough treatment at the dealer, to some who had even endured complete transmission replacement, and were still experiencing issues. I wondered how I’d ended up with such a lemon.

In the end, I traded the vehicle back to the same dealership from where it was purchased. All told, I’d owned the vehicle for about 8 months. The transmission problem was a real ‘ghost in the machine’, (it didn’t surface at first, nor could they reproduce the problem). It definitely cost me in time, frustration and worry. I was thrilled to rid myself of this lemon.

The bottom line: if you have a vehicle AND it is under the manufacturer’s warranty, you are entitled to fair treatment and getting the problem fixed in a timely manner. In many cases, the vehicle gets bought back by the manufacturer, and they may even have to pay civil penalties and/or reimbursement of your expenses. It helps to understand your rights as a consumer, and the California Lemon Law Expert is here to help you or someone you may know who is in this situation. If your vehicle is not functioning properly and is under warranty, you have rights under the law that you need to thoroughly understand.

Our business is growing and our mission is simple : to educate you, fellow consumers, about the “Lemon Law”, and how it protects those who have found themselves stuck with that new car, truck, RV, motorcycle, etc, that just isn’t performing up to expectations. Stay in the know, visit this site often and let us know if we can be of assistance. The initial consultation is free, and if you’re having a problem, it is well worth a few minutes of your time to understand your rights and how you can get the help you need.

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