Oct 25, 2012
By Dale Goldhawk
TOPIC – Lemon-Aid: A Canadian “Lemon Law” is Needed
INFO – “After a decade of runaway, brakeless, Toyotas, “death wobble” Chrysler Ram trucks, computer-controlled cars that go berserk, and record recall campaigns, Canadian car owners need a Lemon Law now more than ever,” Says Lemon-Aid author and former NDP MP Phil Edmonston.
“It makes no sense that Canadian consumers don’t have the same protection as Americans have had in every state for over three decades. Canadians need a code of conduct that all automakers in Canada must follow when their products are unreliable, unsafe, or unfit for their intended use. A Lemon Law does just that,” adds Edmonston.
“With a Lemon Law, Canadian consumers can leave their protest signs at home, and use the courts, instead.”
Edmonston says “In the past, aggrieved car owners could go to court, picket, decorate their cars with lemons, or use independent garages to prove a mechanical failure was factory- or design-related.
Unfortunately, with today’s high-cost ($31,000 average transaction price) and high-tech vehicles only the automaker or dealer has the diagnostic tools and software needed to discover what went wrong and this information is rarely shared with a complaining customer.
Car owners are too often told their vehicle is operating ‘normally’, or that they are driving too fast, or too slow, or that all cars of that model behave the same. Other times owners are bounced back and forth between dealer and carmaker, or simply told that the failure couldn’t be duplicated.”
“A Lemon Law would end this ping-pong run-around by telling both the dealer and automaker: “fix it within three tries, replace it, or refund the purchase price”. Instead of hiring a costly expert to find out the cause of the car’s stalling, sudden acceleration, loss of brakes, water leaks, paint peeling, etc., the plaintiff need only show the car was out of service more than a certain number of days, or that the dealer failed to fix the vehicle after three attempts.
This is a very simple legal requirement that sends a clear message to buyers and sellers as to their rights and obligations. A Lemon Law evens the playing field because dealers will know their third unsuccessful ‘fix’ could be their last and auto owners would see a ‘lemon’ defined legally, thereby encouraging them to file suit, without waiting for government help.
Lemon-Aid has successfully lobbied over the past 42 years for class actions, no-fault auto insurance, strong small claims courts, and effective provincial consumer protection legislation. Hopefully, lemon laws will be adopted by all Canadian provinces,” says the former Member of Parliament, bestselling author, and consumer advocate.
Lemon Law Background Information
Just over a decade ago the province of Ontario came within a whisker of adopting its own Lemon Law.
In 1992 Mississauga Tory MPP Rob Sampson proposed a Bill that allowed buyers to take back any vehicle that hadn’t been successfully repaired under the manufacturer’s warranty after three attempts to correct the same problem, or would cost more than $1,000 to repair. This Bill, if approved by the Legislature, would have been Canada’s first ‘Lemon Law’.
Under Sampson’s bi-partisan Bill, the consumer had the option to make the automaker repurchase the motor vehicle or, provide a free replacement.