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I actually wrote this for people on the Acura TL forum. A few people have been posting about the process and suggestions. I figured since I just went through this on the FX35 I would post it here if anybody needed it.

(Disclaimer crap: You can’t hold me responsible for doing this, this is just what I did, and how I would have changed it if I did it again)

Warning: This is long!

I decided since I have seen a few threads regarding the lemon law that I would simply do this once to offer my suggestion to anybody who is suffering from problems with their new car. As much as I hate to see people fighting to get rid of their TL, problems show up, and they must be taken care of.

ABSOLUTELY KEEP COPIES OF EVERYTHING YOU RECEIVE AND SEND.

I also suggest that anybody who buys a new car follow this, JUST IN CASE you need to file for relief under the lemon law down the road.

First, read your state’s lemon law summary. You need to know it like the back of your hand. Read it over and over until you have it memorized.

Next, document any and all service attempts on your vehicle. You absolutely need every work order you received from the dealership.

Now, I know in Michigan, and I assume most states say that 4 repair attempts on the same non-conformity manufacturer’s defect is considered a lemon vehicle. In Michigan after the third repair we are required to send the manufacturer a letter stating our intentions of filing under the lemon law. This letter must include all relevant information to the problems, your VIN number, etc. You will want to send this letter USPS mail certified with return receipt and a tracking number. In Michigan your vehicle is a lemon if it is out for 4 repairs on the same part if it is a severe impairment of value, safety or use. In my case, my Infiniti had a leaking sunroof among other issues. Your vehicle also qualifies as a lemon in Michigan if your vehicle is out for service a total of 30 days, for ANY repairs. If you are attempting to file under the number of days out of service, you need to send the “final opportunity to repair letter” after the 25th day of repairs.

In Michigan, and it may be the same in other states, may not be – but, after the manufacturer receives the letter, you need to give them “reasonable” time to contact you and allow the manufacturer to send a factory trained technician to repair the vehicle, NOT the dealership service department. Generally 10 days is sufficient.

Now, if after this repair you still have the same problem you can call the BBB to file under the lemon law. Now you want to go to bbb.org read up on their Auto Line program and read the manufacturers BBB Auto Line summary. (http://www.dr.bbb.org/autoline/progsum.asp)

Keep in mind, when using the BBB the consumer always has the right to reject the decision. You can, however, accept the decision. Either way, the manufacturer would be legally required to comply with your choice.

The BBB will mail you a packet of information regarding your case. You will be assigned a case representative at the BBB in Arlington. He/She will contact you to attempt to resolve the issue outside of arbitration. In my case, Infiniti first offered me one months car payment back if I allowed them an opportunity to repair the vehicle. I declined; they came back and offered the same plus an extended warranty. I declined again, and then we went to arbitration. If you decline and go to arbitration you will not be given the same offers again. This may or may not be the case with your vehicle.

If you are seeking replacement or repurchase, the BBB arbitrator will inspect your vehicle and take it for a test drive. He/She will want to see the problem displayed during this test drive.

You have the option of doing the arbitration in writing, in person or over the phone. Personally I did the writing, and I would suggest it. I feel it gives you the upper hand; you get a few days to write your letter and critique it. You want it to be perfect and convincing. You want to make sure you are grammatically correct, you want to filter out any jibberish that does not apply to your case. You want to point out any and ALL problems that existed with your vehicle even if it still does not exist. Make sure you state what problems are resolved and what exist. This shows the arbitrator that there are multiple problems with the vehicle and you are not just blowing steam up everybody asses.

Remember your letter needs to be professional sounding. The manufacturer will definitely have somebody with legal writing skills write their letter. (by the way, I’m 19 years old so many of you probably don’t remember this part… not saying you are old or anything :D lol) Remember back in school when your English teachers said indent every paragraph? Don’t do any of that crap in these letters. Keep in mind that in order to become an arbitrator for the BBB they prefer people who have either been lawyers, or have legal experience. You of course want the date of your letter, the address it is going to (the BBB’s address in Arlington Virginia) and a reference line with your VIN number and BBB case number.

Your letters should be neatly written an eloquent. Let me tell you, my letters definitely were not as good as they could have been, and from looking back on them, I found that even a little detail such as not indenting will make your letter look far more superior.

Make sure in your letter you of course specify exactly what you are requesting, repurchase, repair or replacement. If you are requesting a repurchase you will want to put in there what the refund amount will be. You can figure out deductions by using the formula available on the BBB website. The manufacturer (link provided above) may have their own program for usage deduction. Infiniti for example takes 10 cents per mile until the first repair for the problem.

Of course, make sure you send your letters to the BBB representative within the deadlines that are set for you.

Once they receive your letter and the manufacturer’s position the letters will be exchanged between both parties. You will both have an opportunity to write a rebuttal letter and fax it in. You will then both receive copies of those letters with NO more opportunity to respond, so make sure you have all your information in the letter. If you have a problem such as leaking which can be photographed, take pictures and send them in with your letter. Also take another set to the arbitrator when you go for your vehicle inspection.
If you can get letters from technical experts or even people you know who have witnessed the problem, this will only help your case.

After the inspection of your vehicle the arbitrator will get all the paperwork, go over the issues and eventually write his ruling. The decision can be denial, interim repair or a ruling in your favor.

If the decision is a denial, reject the decision and file under the lemon law with an attorney or pursue the issue however you wish.

If it is an interim repair decision, you can accept or reject. I did not want to accept; however, I did just because I wanted to avoid a full blown court battle. This will give the manufacturer 30 days from their receipt of your acceptance of the decision to perform the repairs.

If the ruling is in your favor, you will want to sign the acceptance form and send it in. The manufacturer then has 30 days to comply with the decision.

Now, if you received an interim repair decision (like I did), and the problem still exists after the repair, you will want to send a letter to the BBB case representative stating the issue still exists and you would like the arbitrator to review the case again. My suggestion is to contact the arbitraton specialist with the manufacturer (generally their name and phone number will be in their written positions to the arbitrator). You will want to tell them who you are of course and say that the problem still exists and you would like to resolve it outside of the arbitration. They will probably ask to allow their technical representative to look at the car and see the issue. If you are 100% confident the problem is not normal and it exists, then you may want to comply with their request. If not, refuse and simply go back to the BBB. You will want to put in your upcoming letters stating that you attempted to work with the manufacturer to resolve the issue when the repairs didn’t work; however, you could not come to a mutual agreement. This makes it sound like you are a reasonable person. (Remember it is the little things which can make a huge difference in the end)

Remember at any point in this process the arbitrator may request a neutral third party technical expert to look at the vehicle. Also needless to say, whenever you go for the inspection make sure you are early, your car is cleaned out thoroughly and you are dressed appropriately.

Now if you are back with the BBB you will write your position to the arbitrator and state that the problem still exists and that you would like the vehicle repurchased/replaced. Explain the entire case again in a nutshell in the letter.

Once you send this letter, the manufacturer will respond to it. You will have an opportunity to write a rebuttal letter. The manufacturer will be given the final opportunity to write a response to your rebuttal.

The arbitrator will need to inspect your vehicle again for the defect. He/she will then go oven the entire case again and either request a technical expert or issue a final ruling which will be in favor of you or a denial. You can then accept or reject the decision.

I suggest if you are in any state outside of California to review the following:
http://www.dr.bbb.org/autoline/alprocess.asp

If you are in California:
http://www.dr.bbb.org/autoline/caprocess.asp

For all cases review the manufacturers’ specific program with the BBB:
http://www.dr.bbb.org/autoline/progsum.asp

To review the lemon law summary for your state:
http://www.dr.bbb.org/autoline/lemonlawinfo.asp

Part of a package of all your manuals when you purchased the vehicle should include a warranty and lemon law booklet to go over the lemon law requirements of your state also.

Ok, well its past midnight and I’m tired. I probably left out a few things that I will mention later – if I think of anything.

Good luck!
 

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Well Done! It will save someone a lot of homework.
 

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Well written write-up (perhaps a moderator should move this to the Write Ups Forum in How Tos).

Interesting you mention the Acura TL forum (I assume you mean http://www.acura-tl.com ); I am a member there as well - although more or less inactive (the FX replaced my old '02 TL-S).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
msu79gt82 said:
Well written write-up (perhaps a moderator should move this to the Write Ups Forum in How Tos).

Interesting you mention the Acura TL forum (I assume you mean http://www.acura-tl.com ); I am a member there as well - although more or less inactive (the FX replaced my old '02 TL-S).

Indeed it is acura-tl.com :-D
 
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