BEECH GROVE, Ind. — Buying a new car can mean peace of mind, unless that car turns out to be a lemon.
Trey Williams, a small business owner, came to CBS4 Problem Solvers after he believed his Jeep Cherokee would qualify as a lemon. Williams bought the car brand new last June, but said it quickly started malfunctioning.
Williams recorded videos for months, in which alerts would be flashing, the car wouldn’t shift, and strange things would happen like the temperature registering at 106 degrees on a mild day.
“I’m so over this. Every day it’s always something,” Williams said in one video.
“I have no idea what to do. I’m at a loss, complete loss,” Williams said in another video.
By December, Williams said he had been to multiple dealers and been told multiple times that mechanics either “could not reproduce” the issue or could not fix it. He was thinking of filing for arbitration with Jeep’s owner, Fiat Chrysler, when he first brought the videos to CBS4.
“I’m hoping they will definitely do the right thing and make it right on their end,” Williams said.
CBS4 Problem Solvers got in touch with a Fiat Chrysler spokesperson, who said weeks later via email, “We’ve offered the customer a buyback replacement.” A month after that, the buyback still hadn’t happened, so we checked back again, and were told a customer service representative would get in touch with Williams soon.
While Williams waited, CBS4 Problem Solvers looked into Indiana’s lemon law to see what all consumers need to know. According to the Attorney General’s Office, you can file under the lemon law if your car is less than 18 months old or under 18,000 miles, whichever comes first. You need to allow a dealer at least four repair attempts, or 30 days with the car out of service.
It’s important to get records of every repair order and keep those records. Once a claim is approved, the manufacturer has 30 days to replace the car or refund you. If they don’t, you can file a lawsuit.
“I had two attorneys reach out to me that said they would take the case, no problem,” Williams said.
He didn’t have to file, though, because Fiat Chrysler came through. At the end of February, Williams traded in his Jeep for a new one in a different model. He said it was great news, especially since he relies on his car to run his small business.
“I think I’ve definitely gained some patience and definitely gained a little bit of car knowledge along the way,” Williams said. “I’m 100 percent satisifed, I could not be any more happy with it.”
A Fiat Chrysler spokesperson sent CBS4 Problem Solvers the following statement:
“A reporter from CBS4’s Problem Solvers team notified FCA US LLC (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) of a complaint involving a customer and his purchase of a new Jeep. After speaking with the customer and reviewing his situation, FCA US, the parent company of Jeep, decided to offer the customer a buyback replacement, which the customer accepted. FCA US thanks CBS4 for bringing this customer to the Company’s attention as the customer appreciated the Company’s assistance.”