You can buy virtually anything online, your next car included. Online sales of new vehicles are booming. According to news reports, online vehicle sales made up less than 2 percent of vehicle sales before the pandemic. Last year, customers made nearly 30 percent of vehicle purchases online.
A growing number of sites are eager to help you buy your next set of wheels, including Carvana, Vroom, TrueCar, CarGurus and more.
Shopping with your feet up
While purchasing a vehicle from your living room can be more relaxed and convenient than driving around dealerships in Denver.
But what happens to those people who buy a lemon from an online dealer? Do they have the same consumer rights in cases of auto dealer fraud and breach of warranty as those who purchase vehicles from new car dealerships?
Legal protection is available
If you’re one of the unlucky people who bought a lemon, there’s good news: Yes, you are also protected by Colorado’s lemon law, which applies to every new vehicle sold in the state and every used vehicle originally sold within the state during the vehicle’s first year in operation.
That means that if you bought a new car, pick-up or van within the past year and have had to repeatedly take it in for mechanical repairs for the same substantial problem, you could be entitled to a replacement vehicle or a refund.
CarFax, a site that provides vehicle history reports, says that documentation is vital for consumers who buy a lemon online. That means you’ll need to back up your claim that your vehicle has been repaired four times or more by providing receipts and service records for your vehicle.
Unfortunately, many consumers in this position find that manufacturers aren’t willing to issue a refund or provide a replacement for their lemon. Consumers are given a variety of excuses: their documentation is insufficient or the problem isn’t severe, or the issue has already been repaired, the dealership can fix the problem with just one more visit to the mechanic, and so on.
Notice is critical
To receive the benefits of the Colorado lemon law, the consumer must provide notice to the manufacturer by certified mail of the defect and provide the manufacturer an opportunity to cure the defect alleged. As a result, the consumer should mail a certified letter to the manufacturer at its address in the warranty manual before the vehicle experiences four repair attempts or thirty business days out of service to give the manufacturer a chance to fix the vehicle. If the consumer solely works with the dealership then the lemon law may not help the consumer.
The bottom line is that the dealer and manufacturer are ignoring their consumer rights, and even though they’ve paid thousands of dollars for a brand-new car, pick-up or van, they’re still stuck with a chronically flawed vehicle.
Fortunately, you can fight back with the help of a Denver attorney experienced in using Colorado’s lemon law to protect consumer rights.