Dear Consumer Ed:
I purchased a brand new 2012 car, and when I got home I noticed it had been previously damaged and repaired (paint runs/different bolts), which the dealer never disclosed to me. I have talked to the dealer three times since discovering this. They keep saying they will replace the vehicle but refuse to put it in writing. It's been two weeks now. What can I do?
Consumer Ed says:
There could be two kinds of problems in connection with a new car. First, there could be a defect in the car that occurred during the manufacturing process. In that case, you would be protected under the Georgia Lemon Law. However, it doesn't sound as though that's what your issue is. It sounds as though you're dealing with damage to the car that happened after the car got to the dealership. A dealer is required by law to inform the buyer of any damage to a new vehicle that the dealer is aware of, if the cost to repair it was more than 5 percent of the manufacturer's suggested retail price of the car. The dealer is also required to disclose any damage to the paint that he is aware of which costs more than $500 to repair. On the other hand, a dealer is NOT required to disclose damage to glass, tires, wheels, bumpers, radio, or in-dash audio equipment, regardless of cost, so long as the item is replaced with original or comparable equipment. If a dealer does not follow these disclosure requirements he is in violation of Georgia’s Fair Business Practices Act.
If you think the dealer violated the law, you should speak with an attorney. In addition, you can file a complaint with the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection at www.consumer.ga.gov or by calling 404-651-8600 or 1-800-869-1123.
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