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Mira Motors, Service Contract, Lemon Law

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Case Description

Buyer, who was located in Perris, visited Mira Motors in Ontario to look at some cars available for purchase. When Buyer asked the Mira Motors general manager, named Sam, about the condition of a 2008 Dodge Caliber on the dealer’s lot, Sam told Buyer that “Everything is good, we got it checked out.” Sam then reassured Buyer stating the Vehicle was in perfect running order with no mechanical issues. Buyer was then given a printout similar to “Kelly Blue Book” stating the vehicle’s value. Based on the dealership’s representations and believing he was getting a good deal, Buyer agreed to purchase the Dodge Caliber.

Excited about the purchase, Buyer wanted warranty coverage for additional protection. Sam said the Dealer would “throw in” a 90-day warranty at no charge and “If anything goes wrong, bring the car in to any Dodge dealership and all repairs under the warranty will be covered.” Buyer was then given a large stack of sales documents to sign. Unknown to Buyer, the “90-day warranty” was really just a service contract with a $1,500 maximum repair limit and Buyer was actually being charged $114 for it. The service contract was never disclosed or itemized on the contract, Buyer’s Guide, nor Optional Goods and Services Disclosure. Further, the sales documents did not contain a “Buyer’s Guide” as required by law and Dealer did not properly disclose that a portion of Buyer’s down payment was deferred.

Within less than a month of purchase, Buyer noticed a knocking noise coming from the engine compartment while driving. When Buyer checked the oil, he saw that there was no oil in the engine and noticed a burnt oil smell. Buyer immediately put 3 quarts of oil into the Vehicle and took the Vehicle to Moss Bros. Dodge in Moreno Valley for repair. Buyer left the Vehicle with service adviser Carlos Aikerman to verify warranty coverage and have the vehicle inspected.

A few days later, Carlos told Buyer “Your engine, turbo, intercooler, and catalytic converter need to be repaired …your “warranty” is only good for $1,500.” Carlos then estimated that the necessary repairs would cost nearly $11,000. Buyer decided not to proceed with repairs once he learned from Carlos that the “warranty” was not really a warranty but rather was a service contract with a $1,500 coverage limit.

After his conversation with Carlos, Buyer called Mira Motors and asked a manager named Angie if Mira Motors inspects all their vehicles before selling them. Angie replied saying “Mira Motors inspects the brakes, oil, fluids, electrical, etc. of every vehicle”. Buyer then informed Angie of the Dodge Caliber’s horrible mechanical condition and demanded that Mira Motors fix the vehicle or buy it back. Angie told Buyer that Dealer would not pay for the repairs unless the Vehicle was taken to Dealer’s mechanic.

Buyer telephoned Mira Motors’ mechanic but the mechanic spoke very little English, which made it very difficult to communicate. Given the mechanic’s inability to communicate and Buyer previously being told by Mira Motors’ general manager that he could take the vehicle to any Dodge Dealership for repair, Buyer did not feel comfortable sending his Vehicle to Mira Motors’ mechanic. Angie continued to insist that Buyer’s only option was to take the Vehicle to that specific mechanic and eventually told Buyer that Mira Motors would not agree to repair the Vehicle at all.

Shortly thereafter, Buyer retained our firm against Mira Motors regarding their acts of fraud, misrepresentations, and failure to repair the subject vehicle under California’s lemon law. Mira Motors refused to cooperate, and forced the matter to trial, where the court cancelled the contract, awarded our client $18,977.20 in damages, and further ordered the dealership to pay Buyer’s attorney’s fees.