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Old 09-17-2014, 06:12 PM   #1
dstew74
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So I'm in the middle of the lemon law process

Like the title says I'm going the lemon law route with my 2012 Ford Focus Ti. I live in Georgia. I'd like to share my experience so far.

The process requires you have had a non-conformity repair attempted in the first 12k miles or 1 year of ownership. Then two more attempts at repair in the next two years or 24k miles. Then you have up to 1 year additional to file a claim. It's a bit different if the non-conformity is considered a safety issue. The DCT isn't considered a safety issue.

It's also important to note that I don't have to participate in the BBB autoline program as is it isn't certified by the state of Georgia.

So at 6k miles I went in for the shudder/DCT issues and got programming done. At 15k miles I went in again for the shudder/DCT issues and got updated programming. At 18.3k miles I went again and was told there was no updated flash. At 18.6k I went back and broke the RPM flare threshold on the PID test, 350. I got new clutches and seals for my trouble.

That period was within the first two years of ownership. Over this summer the wonky DCT behavior has returned. I'm within the third year of ownership and as such I started the lemon law process. Currently around 28k miles. I filled out a form and overnighted it to Ford.

The form is an official request for a final repair attempt. You must give Ford a chance to fix the issues.

Well today Ford had their scheduled final repair attempt. A Ford service engineer drove my car for 31 miles and said no issues. He also said both my PCM and TCM were on the latest software level. That is interesting as neither have been touched since 18.6k miles in October of last year. I also know, thanks to this forum, about TSB 14-0131 which comes with updated software in addition to the "F" clutch revision. He also neglected to have another PID test ran on my vehicle. Or if they did, they didn't put it in writing on my repair invoice. He was nice enough to explain how a dual dry clutch transmission shifts though.

Tomorrow I'm doing step 3 which is overnighting a re-purchase request, per Ga lemon law, as Ford neglected to fix my non-conformity, DCT continues to require programming and/ or repair, when given a final attempt.

Ford has 20 days to honor my request per Georgia lemon law. I'm sure I'll hear back soon.

I've learn so much from this forum. I just wanted to share my experience for anyone on the lemon law fence.


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Old 09-18-2014, 05:01 PM   #2
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I sure hope you have a plan B and not counting on this. I'd put money, A LOT of money, on getting shot down with this if I were a betting man.


Lemon law is a state by state thing, with each having different rules and methods...but I did google GA's and looked at the quick descriptions on a few sites as the way you described it, it sounded awful lax compared to most. Without getting into the finer points, the big flag I see is they all say you are covered up to 2yrs/24k with no mention of any additional time beyond that to file. If you are just starting this at 28k, I think you pretty well missed the boat here. Unless there is in fact verbage allowing time beyond 2/24 to start the process, your protection ended right when you exceeded 24k (or 2yrs if you are beyond that), regardless what happened before. This is before even getting into the uphill battle of what's "normal", what Ford illustrates the problems and fixes to be, etc. Basicly they are probably going to say 1 real problem due to the clutch replacement, the reflash incidents being normal operation and simply minor driveability improvements with newer releases, and of course working normal like they stated during your last visit....even though we all know otherwise. Unless your car was leaving you on the side of the road several times and they were changing the same components several times (for example repeatedly changing the clutch pack), then you don't have a recurring problem they cant fix. Just take a look around at others that have tried the Lemon Law on here. It looks like a handful were succesfull early on before ford got smart, but nearly everyone gets denied going that route since Ford started officially calling everything DCT related normal operation.


Then in addition to that, you have to also consider what they end result would be if you were successful to begin with. Again, lemon law is a state by state thing, but most have a formula for deducting fair use from the value. Basicly X amount for the time you've had the car (usually minus shop time), and X amount per mile on the car. That could be a significant hit on yours being around 2yrs old and nearly 30k miles if GA works the same. You need to take that into account and compare that value to what it's worth selling or trading normally and decide if it's worth the hassle. To be fair, it likely is since these cars depreciate fast, but I think you are mistaken if you think you're going to just fill out some paperwork, sit back, and get all (or even most) of your money back or a new car out of it.


Not trying to be Debbie downer or that this being successful is 100% flat out impossible. The deck is severely stacked against you with this however. Just some stuff to think about is all.
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:56 PM   #3
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Thank for taking the time to respond. I spent a great deal of time reading about the Ga lemon law prior to starting the process. I'm fortunate to be covered by Georgia's lemon law. While it's not as consume friendly as California it's not as manufacture-friendly as said New York either.

To address your major point about the 2yr/24k expiration I'll just quote the Georgia Department of Consumer Protection's website found at the bottom here

Quote:
IMPORTANT: Remember, there is a one-year time limit to file for arbitration, should you need it, from the date your Lemon Law rights period expires. While your repair attempts had to be made within the Lemon Law rights period of two years or 24,000 miles, whichever occurred first, you must complete Steps 2 and 3 and submit your completed State Arbitration Application within one year of the expiration of the Lemon Law rights period. Do not delay and lose your right to proceed.
I had four repair attempts made in the first 2yrs/24k lemon law period. The last repair attempt was the replacement of clutches. Car ran like new for another 7k miles. I'm within my rights to proceed with a lemon law claim now that the clutches are acting up as my one year time limit isn't up.

The other point you brought up was the formula for determining repurchase. Georgia's formula is straight forward.

Quote:
If your vehicle is repurchased, a refund to you for a vehicle you bought would include:

The purchase price (the cash price of the vehicle indicated in the contract, including any reasonable allowance for a trade-in vehicle);

Collateral charges (including but not limited to sales tax and other government charges, dealer charges, dealer-installed items, extended warranty, and all interest you paid on any loan from a lending institution);

Incidental expenses associated with repairing the vehicle, such as towing, alternate transportation or repair charges;

Minus a deduction or offset for use based on a formula that includes the purchase price and the miles you put on the vehicle up until the time of the first repair visit for the defect or condition [(Purchase Price x Miles) 120,000].
I brought the car in for first attempt at repair around 7k miles. My deduction would be less than $2k. The current mileage on the car isn't pertinent to the formula. I would even get paid back the interest on the car note along with the cost of my extended warranty.

If Ford chooses not to re-purchase at this time, I can then file for a state led arbitration hearing where I get the fun task of proving the steps I took to repair the vehicle and that the issue persists. I've have documentation of 4 attempts to repair within the first 2 years and documentation for the final repair attempt for which they attempted no repairs. Didn't even do TSB 14-0131 but stated my TCM / PCM were on the latest release on the repair invoice. Which is simply not true. So honestly I'm not the least bit concerned with having to go to arbitration if needed. It's informal and well structured. Not a big deal at all. Ford would then have the ability to appeal to superior court and I would probably have to get a lawyer. The decision of the arbitration panel is admissible and I would retain the services of firm that gets paid only if they win, basically fee shifting.

At this point the process is spelled out nicely and very easy to follow. The cost has been 40 bucks to overnight a couple of forms to Dearborn. Ford can't ignore the process and has to follow along.

The most entertaining point so far was last night. I went to the Post Office to mail my re-purchase request to Dearborn and a gentleman stopped me to tell me how much he like my car. He then asked how it has been to own....
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:59 AM   #4
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dstew74,
I am a little further in the Georgia Lemon Law process (I also live in Marietta) than you are and I would like to offer some helpful tips that I would have liked to have known when I started this absolute nightmare of a process. This is what has worked for us. Note that these are in no particular order.

1) Just know that they will most likely deny your repurchase or replacement request the first time you send it to them no matter how much evidence you have to prove your car is definetly not operating normally. I found out the hard way that literally ALL of your service reports have to say literally the same exact thing phrase for phrase and word for word and each separate problem has to be numbered as a separate issue. If your service reports aren't idenital in how they're written, your best bet is to take it back to the service department until you have 30 days out of service. This is actually quite easy to do where we live but before you take it back to a dealership, take it to a transmission specialist and get their diagnosis of what's wrong with it in writing to use at arbitration as evidence. Don't let them do any work on it since that may void your warranty but do get their opinion in writing. It woud benefit you if they specifically stated that it is a transmission issue. Then take it back to your dealer. Cherokee Ford in Woodstock usually keeps mine for a week every time I take it in and I always get a complimentary loner car even though I'm under 25. Jim Tidwell kept mine for a consecutive 7 weeks last time it was in. Speaking of dealerships - avoid Hennessey Ford and Lincoln on Peachtree Industrial Blvd at all cost - they wrecked mine and took 3 tries over 3 weeks to fix it and weren't able to do a decent job so avoid that mess. When they call you and tell you your car is ready to be picked up tell them you want to drive it with the service manager or technician and verify that it is actually fixed before you pick it up. When you ride with them, point out what it's doing that isn't right and tell them you don't want it back until it's fixed. If you have to pick it up, then take it back the next day and have them work on it again. I thought we had a very solid case with our 4 repair attemps for multiple issues and applied for arbitration anyway only to get a phone call a week later to find out our case would be completely ripped to shreds in court (due to wording on the service reports). They can't argue about how many days it has been out of service so save yourself the headache and go that route. On that note, check the service reports before you leave. Make sure the wording is identical to the other reports and make sure the date it came in and the date it left are correct.

2) Apply for arbitration ASAP once you have 30 days out of service. The packet is 10 pages or longer and by the time you copy all of the documentation they need your package will be about 60+ pages but it's worth it so do it sooner rather than later. As far as the documentation goes, your bill of sale IS different from your finance agreement - something I didn't realize. Also, if your dealership neglected to give you the bill of sale when you bought the car (like in my case) they CAN still give it to you. They will tell you they don't have it and send you to a million different people to get it but if you're a big enough pain in their ass they will give it to you- this includes any service reports they're refusing to give you. When you're filling out the arbitration packet there are several things you should know. Days out of service counts weekends and weekdays and if they worked on your car and returned it to you the same day that counts as 1 day out of service. when you list your defects list all the transmission issues as one defect and use the same exact wording that's used in your service reports or it won't hold up in court. If you're having issues with the sync like I am, then list all those issues together as another defect.

3) Certified mail is much cheaper than overnighting the forms but it does take about 4 days for it to get to them and 3 or 4 more for the certified slip to get back to you.

4) If Ford initially denies your request for repurchase or replacement, but tells you to file a claim with CAC, don't bother. This was the biggest waste of my time. This is where you request that they reconsider your repurchase or replacement request by doing an "in good faith" review. They don't call you back for weeks no matter how many times you call or leave messages, their employees are rude, and when you do actually get someone on the phone they don't know anything about your case and can't provide you with any information and there is NEVER a supervisor or manager you can speak with. They'll tell you they'll have one call you in 24 or 48 hours - yeah, try 3 weeks. Complete waste of time.

5) If the dealership tells you they cant pay for you to have a loaner or rental then speak with a manager. Literally refuse to leave his office until you have a safe car to drive home. Mine is getting stuck in neutral when I try to pull out into traffic - that's not safe. Don't freak out when they pick up the phone and you hear the person on the other end ask what your "mental state" is at the moment. I was flustered lol but it did turn out to be the GM they had called and as it turns out, they WERE able to give me a complementary rental that day.

6) Keep in mind that any service visits AFTER your final repair attempt, are not considered as admissable evidence at arbitration UNLESS you resbumit your repurchase or replacement request again (after the repair visits you wish to count as evidence have occurred).

7) Once you submit your arbitration packet, you will get a call within about a week from someone at the Office of Consumer Protection to discuss your arbritation packet. They are very frank and do not sugar coat things at all. This call was devastating to me since I found out that my last 42 days out of service didn't count since they were after the final repair attempt but that's ok because they advised me to resubmit the repurchase or replacement request which made those service attempts admissible at arbitration. Anyway, they'll tell you what you need to amend and put you in line for an arbitration date. These people are on your side and they're very very helpful. Not to mention that they will return your call within a reasonable time frame.

While we were waiting to hear back from Ford about our second repurchase or replacement request, one of Ford's leagal analysts called me and said that they are going to honor my repurchase request. That was Monday. I had to send her a copy of my bill of sale and my account number for ford credit. Then, I got a call today (Thursday) from another lady who needs another copy of my bill of sale, my finance agreement, and my registration so they can calculate how much I should get for the car. She's supposed to call me back on Tuesday with an offer and she said their deadline to have this resolved is 30 days from today. My dealership messed up my paperwork and said I got $3,000 rebate on the bill of sale when I actually got a $2,000 rebate, which is correctly noted on the finance agreement. However, I'm afraid they will try to cheat me out of $1,000 that I should get back since the paperwork is incorrect, but we'll see. We might end up having to go to arbitration to get the correct amount back but we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime I have calculated how much they [I]should[I] offer me, based on the formula on the lemon law website, so I will know whether or not to accept the offer. We'll see how quickly this all goes - the lady I spoke with today said their deadline to have this resolved (if I accept thier offer) is 30 days from today.

8) Claim your costs for overnighting the lemon law forms and the cost for registering your tag as incidental costs to be refunded to you as well.

9) If you're unsure whether or not you're in the Lemon Law rights timeframe, call the Office of Consumer Protection and ask. They're extremely helpful.

10) We thought it was be easier to get ford to agree to replace my car as opposed to repurchasing it. After talking to the lady who is sending my stuff to the calculations department, I found out that it actually takes a little longer to get a replacement car than to have them repurchase yours and it's no easier to get them to do one or the other.

11) They have informed me that when you accept their offer, you set up a time to meet at your local dealer to sign all the papers. You can either sign everything and give them the keys and wait to get your check in a couple weeks through the mail OR you can sign all the papers except the odometer statement and something else about the condition of your car and then keep the car until the dealership recieves your check, then go and sign the other two papers and surrender your car and get your check at the same time.

12) Its actually a blessing that you don't have the latest software update because according to the service manager at Jim Tidwell "Ford has programmed the computer to hold the accelerator at idle for a second after you take your foot off the gas to lessen the bogging" so they have admittedly and purposely programmed my gas petal to stick and WILL NOT change it back. Believe me it is NOT FUN having a gas petal that sticks.

13) When you take it to the service department, you need to know what the new and current tsb says and check to make sure they did what it calls for. They always tell me they've just reflashed the computer and that it is fixed until I tell them what the new tsb says and then they'll do what they need to do. For me, this was replacing my clutch (twice) but they wouldn't do it until I refrenced the tsb.

I know this is a long post but I hope all of this was helpful to you and I wish you the best of luck with your case. Be persistent and a genuine pain in Ford's rear end.
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Old 09-19-2014, 08:44 AM   #5
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Wow very well detailed, good job describing everything. I just don't understand why a dealership doesn't think they are in the wrong when they "fix" a vehicle 4 times or more and there are still problems.

Best of luck to both of you!
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Old 09-21-2014, 09:42 AM   #6
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Go for it! Best of luck!
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Old 09-22-2014, 09:40 PM   #7
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Wow very well detailed, good job describing everything. I just don't understand why a dealership doesn't think they are in the wrong when they "fix" a vehicle 4 times or more and there are still problems.

Best of luck to both of you!
good luck!
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Old 10-06-2014, 11:23 AM   #8
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Ford contacted me today to decline repurchase of the vehicle. Pretty much to be expected.

I've already contacted Georgia Governor's Office of Consumer Protection and requested the arbitration packet. I'll have that back to them this week. Then they will approve or deny my request for state-led arbitration. The approval is based on whether or not I've followed the lemon law process correctly. So approval shouldn't be an issue.

I'll keep updating the thread through the process.
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Old 10-09-2014, 12:27 PM   #9
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Received my arbitration packet yesterday and spent several hours getting it all in order. I sent the arbitration packet today to the State of Georgia. They'll get it tomorrow. Fingers crossed it gets approved.
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Old 10-09-2014, 02:17 PM   #10
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Good luck man. I'm in the process also and they are sending an engineer out as well. We'll see what happens. It's ALMOST to the point of paying the difference between trade and what I owe. I cancelled my extended warranty because there is no way in I'm keeping this terrible car that long.
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