Car Dealership Faces License Review from Lemon Law and Overstocking Complaints

A car dealership is facing license review due to multiple complaints of poor business practices, including selling vehicles with dangerous mechanical problems and exceeding the number of vehicles allowed on the lot at one time.

Repeated investigations of Griffin Powers’ dealership in Bellingham, MA reported that the dealership was keeping more cars in inventory than its 44-car limit. The owner attributed to the higher number of people selling their vehicles for cash. Powers did have the inventory within his license guidelines during a September 2009 inspection.

Of greater concern though, have been multiple complaints related to serious mechanical problems. One customer who bought a used BMW complained that the front left wheel came off the car on the Interstate only 2 days after purchase. The dealership did not follow through with a reimbursement for repairs and after the car broke down again, the customer gave up on putting more time and money into the vehicle.

Normally business license renewals are straightforward and without issue. But when Powers met with the board in charge of license renewals, the number of complaints exceeded other businesses according to board Chairwoman Dawn Davies. While some of the complaints were addressed at the meeting, the board exercised their option to postpone their decision on the license renewal until December. Several receipts were presented for buy backs for customers requesting to return their vehicle under the lemon law, but many other complaints were lacking proof of resolution.

Under most state lemon laws, car dealerships are required to make it clear when a vehicle has been purchased as a buy back, or lemon. An audit in Massachusetts recently revealed a high percentage of dealerships who failed to put notices on vehicles that were buy backs. A recent Wisconsin dealership was forced to pay $93,000 to compensate consumers who had bought buyback vehicles without being forewarned. Some states have increased consumer protection, allow a vehicle to be deemed a lemon after only a single incident involving a life-threatening failure of a steering or braking system. New Jersey Lemon Law is one example of improvements in consumer protection.

Many states are realizing that protecting their consumers is especially important in this economy, when consumers have less to spend and are putting more at risk for large, important purchases. Besides a house, a vehicle can be the most expensive purchase most people make. You have to know you’re protected when things go wrong. If you are worried about the safety of a vehicle you recently purchased, don’t wait; contact an experienced lemon law attorney in your state.

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