The biggest fear most consumers have when buying a car is about quality, let’s face it no one wants to get caught out buying a vehicle that doesn’t work, in other words no one wants a lemon!
How do I know if I am buying a lemon or not
The short answer is you can’t. Irrespective of how many people have had good or bad experiences with purchasing a model from a particular brand, any purchase could end up being a lemon. Getting the vehicle inspected by the AA or a qualified mechanic are the safest options.
To clarify, a lemon isn’t just a vehicle that has problems when you buy it, a lemon can be a car that has a substantial defect that is or isn’t covered by the car warranty and even after it has been taken in to be fixed multiple times, the defect still remains.
Will the Consumer Guarantees Act help me?
When you purchase a vehicle from a Registered Motor Vehicle Trade in New Zealand your new used car will come with a standard 90-day guarantee. If something comes up within that period then you can take it back to the dealer and have them look at fixing the vehicle. When purchasing privately however once you have taken delivery of the vehicle it is very difficult to go back to the seller to fix anything.
A Mechanical Breakdown Insurance can be incredibly handy here as well to allow the problem to be fixed without much fuss. They are highly recommended by Kiwi Car Loans staff for this very reason.
Are there any brands that I should avoid?
What is interesting is that it seems that brand does make a big difference when it comes to buying lemons. The problem isn’t just restricted to one company or a one particular class of vehicle; it is one that is spread across them all – no matter how good their reputation for reliability.
Are damaged imports better or worse than Japan, UK or Singapore Imports?
Just because a vehicle has been imported as a “statutory write-off” or “damaged” from Australia does not mean that the quality is less than that of your typical import Japan. First and foremost, all damaged imports go through a rigorous compliance process to ensure that a vehicle meets all safety and compliance laws. On top of this process the reason a vehicle has been “written-off” in Australia can be for minor damage as simple as sill damage, or small dints. Vehicles imported from Japan, UK or Singapore also go through a compliance process but it may not be as intensive as a damaged or statutory write-off import. Of course we would encourage a mechanical inspection of the vehicle by a qualified mechanic to ensure the vehicle is top condition.
What if I already bought a lemon?
If you have bought a new vehicle and are having problems with it and you’re still within the manufacturer warranty or consumer guarantee period, you can return to the dealership. Under warranty or the Consumer Guarantees Act you should be able to get the problem fixed provided you have not caused damage to the vehicle yourself.
The dealership won’t co-operate
If you are having problems and you are still within the warranty or Consumer Guarantee period then you can contact the Head Office of the Manufacturer with a new car, if you purchased a used car from a Registered Motor Vehicle Trader than you can contact the owner of the business. You can also contact the Citizens Advice Bureau who will help with solutions.
What you should never forget in this situation is that there is a legal obligation for all products sold, this includes cars, to be free from defects. Dealerships telling you they are giving you a new car to replace a faulty one as a sign of goodwill are not at all.
Things to remember
If you have a lemon make sure you contact your dealership and the head office of the car company in New Zealand. Make sure that you put everything down in writing – you don’t want to get into that old circle of he said, she said. Make sure that you mention the Consumer Guarantees Act and that your vehicle is suffering a major failure. You should also make sure to mention the TV show Fair Go.
You may be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement, but as there are no specific lemon laws, it may be a small price to pay for a working vehicle.
How Kiwi Car Loans can help
With Kiwi Car Loans, we work with many reputable motor vehicle traders and can help narrow down the options when buying. To find dealers we deal with click here.
We can also arrange extended vehicle warranties not only on new cars but used cars as well, no matter whether they're from a dealer or purchased privately you can still have great peace of mind. Furthermore, an extended vehicle warranty can usually be added to your finance allowing for easy, affordable monthly repayments. Visit the Mechanical Breakdown Insurance section here to find out more.
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