Every automobile manufacturer provides a toll-free phone number that consumers can call to seek assistance from the manufacturer’s Customer Assistance Center to resolve their vehicle problems.

Consumers must be aware that these telephone conversations are generally recorded by the manufacturer’s Customer Assistance Center, and may be used by the manufacturer against the consumer in a later legal action brought by the consumer.  Therefore, the consumer should always be courteous and respectful in these telephone conversations, and NEVER resort to insults or profanity!  Since it is required that the manufacturer inform the consumer that their conversation may be recorded (often under the explanation of “for quality control purposes”), the consumer can (and should) inform the Customer Assistance Center representative that he/she intends to also record the conversation.  What is fair for one is fair for both parties.

The consumer should be prepared to accurately memorialize any conversation with the manufacturer’s Customer Assistance Center.  This can be accomplished by the taking of detailed notes, including the date and time of call, the representative’s name and the substance of the conversation, including the consumer’s request and the manufacturer’s response.  As referenced above, the conversation can also be recorded in its entirety so long as the representative is informed of the recording.

Often times in response to the consumer’s request for a vehicle replacement or repurchase (buyback), the manufacturer’s representative will “inform” the consumer that he/she does not qualify for Lemon Law relief.  In some cases, the manufacturer’s representative will “inform” the consumer that he/she must first go through the manufacturer’s arbitration process.  In other cases, the manufacture’s representative may respond to the consumer’s request for a vehicle replacement or repurchase by offering a “goodwill” gesture, such as a service contract. 

The consumer must be aware that a manufacturer’s denial of the consumer’s request for a replacement or repurchase, does not mean that the consumer is not entitled to a replacement or repurchase under the Lemon Law.

The consumer should consult with a qualified California Lemon Law attorney for an opinion regarding his/her entitlement under California’s Lemon Law.

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