My most recent podcast/video of Lehto’s Law went up on Thursday and, as often happens, more than a few people told me they’d really like the podcast to be in written form. Fine: Here’s a writeup of the podcast. We’ve now come full circle.

The topic was the Top 5 Consumer Complaints I hear at my office everyday. I have an office with a phone and I foolishly put my phone number on my website, virtually inviting people to call me with complaints. Seems obvious now, but hindsight is cliche’ cliche’. I don’t use a script when I do the podcast (does that surprise anyone?) so this is simply a writeup of the topics covered.

The #1 complaint I hear is from people who have bought a used car AS-IS and now the car has exploded, inploded, caught fire, crumbled, discombobulated or some such. What can they do? Short answer? Almost always: NOTHING. I have railed against the as-is car purchase for some time. Yes, if you know what you are getting into and price accordingly, an as-is sale can work out. But if you trusted the used car salesperson to simply be selling you a dependable car at a good price? Not so much. Sorry, an attorney in Michigan can almost never help you here.

Number Two: The new car that might be a lemon. Brand new car been in the shop 4 times in the first year or 30 days? We might have a winner. This is what I do and I like these calls. Gather up your papers (purchase/lease agreement and all repair orders) and we can talk. If you have a good case I might be able to get the manufacturer to buy your car back or replace it - and they’ll pay my fees on your behalf. Everyone wins!


Third on the list: What about the other stuff? Lemon laws don’t cover RVs, personal water craft, motorcycles,boats and so on. That’s where the Federal Lemon Law (the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act) comes in. If it’s a consumer product that came with a warranyt, this law covers you. Similar to the lemon law, it allows for you to be able to demand a replacement or a refund - and your attorney fees from the manufacturer.

Next? The mythical 3-Day Right To Break Any Contract. This is not something that is real but I do get this call every week or so. No, you do not have the right to break any contract for three days, no questions asked.


Finally, Bad Car Repairs. I have written about this extensively, inspired by how many calls I get on the topic. No, not all mechanics are bad but there are a few bad apples out there. And yes, sometimes consumers expect too much from their mechanics. What? I can’t get these brakes resurfaced when I’ve ground them all the way through? My advice on this one is preventive in nature: Try to find a good mechanic in the first place. Ask around. Word of mouth is what makes or breaks a good mechanic or shop. And when you find one, tell all your friends. Can you sue a mechanic over a faulty repair? Yes, but it’s easier (and better) to find a good one in the first place and avoid the hasssle.

There you go. The Lehto’s Law Episode 40 Summary. Didn’t take me as long as I thought to write it. Now I’ll probably have to do one every week. (He grumbled under his breath.)


Follow me on Twitter: @stevelehto

Hear my podcast on iTunes: Lehto’s Law

Steve Lehto has been practicing law for 23 years, almost exclusively in consumer protection and Michigan lemon law. He wrote The Lemon Law Bible and Chrysler’s Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit’s Coolest Creation.


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