Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Shop-Click-Drive: GM to Reportedly Extend Online Car Sales Tool to Entire Dealership Network by End of Year

General Motors has announced that it plans to expand its new online shopping tool that allows customers to bypass the showroom by purchasing their brand new vehicle online.  The program, Shop-Click-Drive, lists a total of 48 participating dealers on its website, but GM reportedly plans to extend the new web-based application to its entire dealership network by the end of 2013.
According to the Shop-Click-Drive website, a vehicle can be purchased online from a participating dealer around the clock, 24/7, and in just five (5) short steps:
1. Get Started - Select a vehicle from a participating dealership's website.  Click here to find a participating dealer and click on "participating";
2. Estimate Payments - See available financing plans, the latest incentives, and estimate your trade-in value if applicable;
3. Apply for Credit - Complete your secure and confidential credit application online and hassle free;
4. Personalize & Protect - Shop for additional vehicle personalization and protection options, including GM accessories, extended warranties, and more;
5. Scheduled Delivery - Schedule a trade-in evaluation, arrange a test drive, sign the sales paperwork, and take delivery of the vehicle, all on your time schedule.

About 900 cars have been sold so far through the Shop-Click-Drive program.  Of the 900, only 5 have elected to have the vehicle delivered directly to them, while the some 895 others have opted for a trip to the showroom to finalize the deal face-to-face.

As expected, many dealers are reportedly not fond of the new program, since it nearly eliminates their chance to sell consumers profitable service work, add-ons or finance and insurance products with their new cars.  The option is still there to purchase these items, but the decision to purchase is more "pressure free" than at the dealership.  Other dealers, however, reportedly see it as just another way to reach millennial purchasers who increasingly seek to make many purchases online.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Got a New Vehicle? Make Sure to Document Any Problems!

Do you have a new vehicle?  If so, hopefully your first few years will be problem free.  But, if you have any problems with your new vehicle in the first year, make sure to document everything.  You never know if you will need it in the future.

Most consumers think that if they have a problem with their vehicle that the dealer cannot find or cannot fix, then the manufacturer will stand behind their warranty.  Unfortunately, for most motor vehicle manufacturers, this is not the case. In fact, many manufacturers will try to attach the consumer, claiming that the consumer is lying about the defect, is causing the defect because they are driving the vehicle wrong, is imagining the defect, or simply wants out of the vehicle because they cannot afford it.  For most manufacturers, customer loyalty goes out the window and the only thing that becomes important is the bottom line.  One way to make sure you have the best case possible, if you end up with a lemon vehicle and no way out but a lawsuit, is to build your evidence early on.
Keep a notepad and pen in your car.  When the vehicle malfunctions, write down what occurred, when and where the malfunction occurred, and under what circumstances it occurred, such as the temperature, speed of the vehicle, and length of time driving before the occurrence.  Of course, wait to make your diary notes in the notepad until you are in a safe location and off the road.  Or, if you prefer to keep the diary on your mobile device, you can do that too.  The key is to write it down as soon as possible after you experience the malfunction.
If the defect is something that can be safely recorded on video or in photographs, then take photographs and make videos.  Find some way of documenting the date and/or time in each photograph or video.

Keep your phone records and a list of the phone numbers you call related to the vehicle defects such as the local dealer's service center or the manufacturer's consumer hotline.  This way you can prove the contacts that you have had with the dealership and/or the manufacturer if they later deny it.

Make sure that you get repair invoices for each visit, and that the repair orders accurately describe the dates the vehicle was in the shop and the problems that your vehicle is experiencing.  It is alarming the number of repair orders that I see that do not properly document the dates that the vehicle was in the shop, do not properly describe the problem, or do not even include problems that the consumer brought the vehicle into the shop for. When the repairs are not properly documented, this can hurt even the best lemon law case.

If the dealer fixes the problem, then you won't need the evidence you have compiled.  But, if they do not, and the problem is a substantial problem, then you will.  And, it is certainly better to be safe than sorry when it comes to an expensive item like a motor vehicle that you need to get to work, to the grocery, or to the doctor's office.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

Monday, October 7, 2013

Kawasaki Issues Safety Recall for Police Motorcycles

Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. has recalled all model year 2012-2013 Kawasaki Concours 14 police motorcycles. According to Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., the additional police accessories installed on the motorcycle, such as emergency lighting, radios, and other gear powered by a second battery, may cause the 30-amp main fuse to blow, and the additional police wiring harness may chafe leading to a short which may blow the main fuse. In either circumstance, if the fuse blows, the engine may stall, and the vehicle could crash. This is obviously a safety concern for the men and women who protect and serve.

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration ("NHTSA"), Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. will notify vehicle owners directly, and its authorized dealers will correct the electrical system problems free of charge. Owners may also contact Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. direct at 1-866-802-9381. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safecar.gov.
To read more about the recall, and to read additional recall documentation, click here.

If your police department has a Kawasaki Concours 14, make sure to get it into a Kawasaki authorized dealer right away.  To find a dealer near you, click here.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running