Last post on Nov 04, 2012 at 2:48 PM
You are in the Volkswagen Golf
What is this discussion about?
Volkswagen Golf, Hatchback
#439 of 1529 weatherdan and VA Lemon Laws
Jul 24, 2001 (12:36 pm)
I know how you must feel now. I was in the same situation. My wife's 2000 Golf GLS was also a lemon. We bought it new in June 2000 and it was officially purchased back by VW of America in January 2001. It had less than 4000 miles on it. Let me share some of the things that I learned throughout the whole ordeal first then I'll say a little more about our case.
Since you've already contacted a lawyer, I suppose you're probably familiar with the Lemon Laws in Virginia. (We live in California and I guess VW lemons are everywhere.) If you need more info, www.carlaws.com has quite of bit of useful stuff. My feel is that VW of A is trying to get away with selling you a lemon. Don't give them the opportunity to mess with you again! Let them pay for the inconvenience and emotional trauma that you endured. We contacted the Autoline of the Better Business Bureau and initiated the mediation process (www.dr.bbb.org/autoline.cfm or 800-955-5100). I highly recommend looking into this, as it is the most effective tool you have to fight against VW and it's free! You'll have to prepare some paperwork (records of repairs and other complaints, etc.) but it sure beats filing a lawsuit. Oh, we didn't even get to the point where we needed to contact a lawyer. What the BBB Autoline does is act as the mediator between the consumer and the manufacturer to help resolve the problems. If that turns out to be unsuccessful, you can then go to arbitration. I firmly believe that you will have a winning case and get your car officially "lemoned" without resorting to further legal actions beyond arbitration. In our case, the more we looked into the lemon laws, the more we realized that we had a good case against VW. Your case sounds even better than ours! Doing the research ourselves also gave us a sense of power (not that it'll solve your problems, but at least you'll gain some confidence). At the end, VW settled with us before we continued to arbitration and agreed to refund every penny of our money and re-purchase the car "out of goodwill," according to their offer letter. So technically, our car was not lemoned. Instead, VW did not admit any wrongdoing and can turn around and sell the car if they wanted to. But at least we were out of the misery. (I feel bad for whoever ends up buying the car we had, though.) Please do yourself a favor and look into the lemon laws if you haven't done so. That said, there are limitations and restrictions under the laws, so pay close attention to whether you meet all the requirements. If you do, then you should be in excellent shape to stage a comeback. Some lemon laws automatically consider a car a lemon if it's been in the dealer for warranty repairs more than a total of 30 days in the first 18 months of ownership. Don't let them offer you a one-year extension of the warranty (they tried to offer us the same thing), or pay you $1500 towards the purchase of a new VW. They should be responsible for your losses and you shouldn't pay or take a hit financially for their mistake.
In case you're interested, here's a condensed version of our VW Golf horrors that began 2 weeks after we bought it:
Screeching sound from brakes when the brakes are NOT applied
Brake lights stay on when the pedal is not depressed
Cruise control inoperable
Same brake light problem again after brake light switch was replaced the first time
Immobilizer kicked in erroneously and car wouldn't start. (This turned out to be the dealer's fault when they replaced the engine control module to fix the cruise control.)
Squeaking noises from the dash (numerous repair attempts)
Cruise control failed again
Brake light switch problem again (this time the lights won't come on so the automatic transmission cannot be shifted out of Park).
Power mirror switch broke
For these repeating problems, we visited the dealer probably 10 times or more in the first 5 months. To add to the bad experience, the local dealer was absolutely horrible (ignorant and apathetic). We were just so glad and relieved that we got our money back. Now my wife drives a 2001 Honda Civic EX and we're both very happy with it. I have to admit that my wife and I both loved the Golf (when it was functioning properly). It was more fun to drive and had some neat features, but I'll not consider buying another VW product (Audi included). It's just not worth the risk and the trouble. I understand that every manufacturer will inevitably have a few lemons every now and then, but buying a VW (especially one that's not made in Germany) increases that chance by several orders of magnitude. Our Golf was assembled in Brazil (VIN number starts with a 9) and I really believe that the workmanship and quality control there are not as good as the German plants. Even though people say that all VW's plants are held to the same "stringent" quality standards, it is hard to doubt that Germany is a far better place to produce complex machinery than Brazil. You don't see Mercedes, BMW, or Lexus building their cars in developing countries. If all the plants had the same quality, then J.D. Powers and Associates wouldn't need to bother giving out quality awards to individual plants. Incidentally, all the award-winning plants are in Japan, Germany, or the U.S., NOT Brazil.
Anyway, enough said. Weatherdan, I hope you will stand up and fight for yourself and wish you the best luck!
Jul 24, 2001 (2:12 pm)
Wow! Thanks so much for the superb information. I am "digesting" it now. www.carlaws.com has excellent information too. I am concerned that I may not have met the notification requirement as my first official contact with VW (beyond the dealer obviously) would have been after the 18-month limit stipulated in the Virginia law. And that was via telephone. Of course I am not a lawyer. My warranty expired on 4/17/01. I will consider BBB Autoline. I noted on www.carlaws.com that, at least according to that attorney, "swaps" that occur when there has not been supposed proper notification often involve the dealer offering at least $2500. I was offered $1500. Hmmm! It was also interesting to read your repeated problems as I had my door lock malfunction supposedly "repaired" four separate times although it was after the inital 18 months (first occurence was 18 months and 1 week after, wouldn't ya know it?). But the rear seat seatbelt jam occurred repeated within the 18 month period and it certainly is a safety item! Again, thanks very much for your comments and valuble information. That was very generous of you and I sincerely appreciate it.
#441 of 1529 VW Golf or a perfect Honda?
Jul 24, 2001 (2:47 pm)
For those of you who read the Golf forum and are scared away from VW I suggest you read the Honda Accord Problems in Maintenance and Repair Section. 1446 messages on items such as vibrating steering, failed transmissions (post 1433), moving seats, A/C problems, and etc.
I currently have a Golf TDI (from Brazil) that is 100% problem free and I also owned an Accord a few years ago that was 100% problem free.
If you have a VW that is a lemon then either get VW to replace it or repurchase it. Don't think that you are guaranteed to be lemon free by buying a Toyota or Honda.
Some steps to avoid having a lemon.
1. Buy from a dealer with a good service reputation. A dealer with bad service will create a lemon by being unable to correctly diagnose and repair a problem. If there is no good VW dealer in your area, don't get a VW.
2. Do not buy a vehicle the first year of a new model.
3. Do not let the service deptmartment have 10 attempts to fix the same problem. If they can't fix a problem on the second attempt then hold their feet to the fire and get VWoA involved.
4. Be educated. My Nissan truck has a problem with carrier bearing that is extremely common, I discovered this problem by communicating with other owners on the internet. If you have a problem that is widespread then the manufacturer should have to fix it even if the car is out of warranty.
Don't let one lemon sour your opinion on a manufacturer.
I went to a gatering a few weeks ago where there were 20 plus VW owners, the majority of the owners were extremely happy, one of the owners had very frightening stories about dealership service experiences.
#442 of 1529 Weatherdan and BBB Autoline
Jul 24, 2001 (3:59 pm)
I'm glad that you found the information useful. At least my experience with a bad VW Golf helped another fellow consumer who fell victim to a lemon. We were lucky that we smelled something fishy and acted early enough to prevent further damage. I think you still have a great chance of winning the war.
Even though you might not meet all the requirements under Virginia's lemon laws, I still think you have an excellent chance if you go through BBB's Autoline. They will assign you an agent and a case number and you can provide them all the relevant information. I have a feeling that VW won't settle with you very easily during the first stage of mediation (they offered to extend our warranty and 1 month's loan payment as compensation). Eventually they offered to examine our car and attempt one last repair and if it failed, buy the car back. But just insist on having the car lemoned. It doesn't hurt to try! Take it to the next level and go to arbitration if you need to. It is still free and you should be able to manage it without a lawyer. Arbitration gives both sides (you and VW of A) the opportunity to present their case in front an independently selected "arbitrator" (sort of like a judge in a regular courtroom). The arbitrator is selected by BBB from a pool of ordinary citizens who do not have any ties to the automotive industry. This may or may not be an advantage to the consumer depending on how knowledgeable he or she is. But the arbitrator is usually fair and might approach the case from the consumer's stand point. It is important to go through the information package that the BBB Autoline will mail you and follow the steps. If I'm not mistaken, you do have the option to skip mediation and go straight to arbitration. It'll be up to you to decide whether it's worth the time and effort to try and communicate with VW through the Autoline and come to a resolution. I recommend giving it a try. VW might decide that it's not worth their effort to go to arbitration and settle with you. Of course, patience is required as the process often takes a few weeks (for the consumer to file a complaint and for the manufacturer to respond). If you decide to go directly to arbitration or if the mediation falls through, the important thing is to present your case based on all the facts and details as best as you can. You have the option of hiring a lawyer to accompany you to arbitration, but that might cost some money. Remember that you have a very strong case and you should take a firm stance from the beginning (mediation) that you will do whatever it takes to have this matter resolved to your satisfaction or you are prepared to take it to the next level. Try not to get angry with VW simply because they won't care and it won't do your case any good. The decision of the arbitrator is legally binding to the manufacturer but not the consumer. This means that if the arbitrator rules in your favor, VW has to comply with the decision. But if you lose the case, you won't lose anything and you can still pursue further legal actions. So you basically have nothing to lose by going with BBB Autoline. Don't take VW's crap and suffer more by accepting their $1500 and shelling out more money to buy another potential lemon from them. Fight for yourself! I have confidence in your case. Good luck!
#443 of 1529 howac: what's that saying about best laid plans...?
Jul 24, 2001 (5:41 pm)
Well it was a great idea about the BBB Autoline. But according to the Golf owner's manual, the Autoline is available on a nationwide basis as long as the vehicle has been driven less than 24,000 miles (I'm okay there) *and* has not been in use for more than 2 years (I'm at 27 months!). Still it is a free call so I have nothing to lose upon inquiring I suppose. But I expect I will be barking up the wrong tree. Thanks again for the comments and suggestions. It is one of the best things a VW forum (actually any car forum) should do: provide good information when problems develop either with the car, the dealers or the company. It is a shame VW has not stepped up to the plate to either replace or repurchase the vehicle which has had obvious serious problems, despite the efforts by the dealer to fix one thing after the other.
#444 of 1529 Heh, I went through the BBB Autoline program to get rid of my Honda!
Jul 24, 2001 (6:57 pm)
2000 Honda Accord EX V6 Coupe. I had crazy problems with that POS. Went through the program, got offered a $400 settlement. Then I sold the car and went to pick up the check, and they (Honda) said they wouldn't anymore because I didn't own the car. First Honda and last Honda. Good luck with VW, let's hope you get taken care of.
#445 of 1529 Weatherdan
Jul 25, 2001 (12:34 pm)
Don't give up! I still recommend that you give BBB Autoline a call. Tell them what happened and see whether they will be able to help you. Despite the fact that you've already had the car for more than 2 years and 24,000 miles, the problems began and repeated well before now. Curiously, VW's new car warranty is only 2/24000, while most other manufacturers offer at least 3/36000. Even though VW has a 10-year powertrain warranty, it's the little things that can drive you crazy and sometimes affect the safety of a car. If BBB Autoline cannot offer any useful help, you still have other warranty laws to protect you. I think www.carlaws.com mentions something about that. Take a look, maybe you'll find some helpful info. Again, good luck to you!
In response to moparbad (great advice, by the way) and adg44, I know that Honda and Toyota (and other makes known for their reliability) also produce bad cars occasionally. Of course there is no guarantee that you'll always get a problem-free vehicle. But your chances will probably be better if you go with the more reputable brands. I didn't have anything against VW (and I still wonder how much we would have loved our Golf had it been more reliable), it's just that we were unfortunate to have encountered a lemon. Just like adg44, if I had bought a Honda (or even a Lexus, for that matter) and the car turned out to be a lemon, I'd tend to shy away from the brand in the future. It seems reasonable and natural after you experience the pain and hassle of dealing with a lemon. I hope people won't think that I'm deliberately putting VW down. I really hope that VW will get their act together and produce high-quality cars more consistently. Maybe I'll be persuaded to try another VW some time in the future.
#446 of 1529 VW Warranty for 2002
Jul 25, 2001 (1:36 pm)
For the 2002 model year, all new Volkswagen vehicles will come standard with an increased four-year/50,000 mile (whichever occurs first) bumper-to-bumper warranty, up from two years/24,000 miles. The warranty covers wear-and-tear items and adjustments during the initial 12 months or 12,000 miles of ownership.
In addition, Volkswagen will offer a fully transferable limited powertrain warranty that covers five years or 60,000 miles (previously 10 years/100,000 miles, but transferable only from the original retail owner to a family member).
50,000 mile warranty is now better than Honda, GM, Nissan and Ford, etc..
The new warranty will help with fear of out of warranty costs, still it won't help with aggravation if you have a lemon or dealer problems.
#447 of 1529 Yeah, it might be a better warranty
Jul 25, 2001 (3:32 pm)
But the dealers suck and if have modded your car like me, it really does no good.
I am going in tomorrow for a clunk out of 1st and I'm positive that my third gear synchro is going bad.
#448 of 1529 4 yr/50,000 mile warranty on 2002s? Not what we were told.
Jul 25, 2001 (6:28 pm)
A couple weeks ago when my girlfriend was test driving a 2001 Beetle, I explicitly asked about the new 2002 warranrty. We were told by Alexandria VW in Virginia that the 2002s will come with a 3 yr warranty. Can't recall the mileage limit at the moment. Probably something like 40K or 50K. It is just this sort of dealer information inconsistency that drives a consumer away.