By Attorney Terrence M. Polich
When people first call me about a potential lemon law case, sometimes they ask whether they still have to make the payments as required by any financing on the lemon vehicle. The answer is: Definitely, continue making the payments.
Owning a lemon vehicle is emotionally stressful and it can be a serious financial hardship. It is tempting to think that if the new vehicle you bought is always in the shop or not running properly, why should you make the monthly payments?
Tempting though it is to stop paying, it is a bad idea. If you do not continue making the payments, aside from the adverse hit your credit rating will suffer, the finance company could repossess your vehicle. If the vehicle is repossessed, it may make prosecution of your lemon law claim impossible.
Sometimes the car manufacturers’ customer service representatives will wrongly tell a consumer to stop making payments on their lemon vehicle. When they do so, they are unscrupulously trying to make it impossible for the consumer to eventually prosecute a lemon law claim. For example, in order to initiate a lemon law claim, the consumer must transfer title to the manufacturer in order to obtain a refund or replacement vehicle. If you do not have the vehicle because it has been repossessed, you cannot transfer title.
Another good reason to continue making the payments is that the lemon law compensates you for those payments if your claim is successful. All equity accumulated on the vehicle as well as all interest paid to the finance company is reimbursed to the consumer as part of the lemon law refund, or in monetary damages if the case is successfully litigated.
Navigating the issues you face when you find that you have bought a defective vehicle can seem overwhelming. Feel free to give me a call if you have questions about the Wisconsin lemon law or any other aspect of warranty law. Initial consultations are free and most of the time, there is no fee unless we win. Make sure to check out our website for more information or to contact our Wisconsin lemon law attorneys.
Attorney Polich has over 20 years’ experience litigating lemon law and other consumer warranty cases.