of the most challenging aspects of our lemon law
firm reviewing a potential lemon law claim is when
the new client does not have all or part of their
warranty repair documents. The next is properly
worded warranty repair documents.
We will take a look at the
4 different documents which are relative to a
California lemon law case.
“Repair Order”. This the more commonly known
as the “write-up” copy at the dealership.
The Service Advisor asks you what your
complaints are, and (hopefully) he enters them
into the service computer as you have dictated
it. The “Repair Order” is also given to
customer to review for accuracy prior to signing
it. It is after the signature that a copy is
given to the customer.
“Repair Invoice”. This is the single most
important documents for your “warranty
repair” file to keep at home. This “Repair
Invoice” is the copy the dealer gives you that
“closes out” or “completes” the repairs
for that visit. It will have “miles in/miles
out”, as well as “date in/date out” It
will also have in text what diagnosis/repairs,
etc. were performed on your vehicle.
“Service Drop of Form”. THIS is a consumer
“no-no”. This is simply a form that the
customer OR service advisor hand writes with
customers complaints. This is not an official
warranty repair order document, and likely will
not generate a “repair order invoice” when
the consumer goes back to pick up his/her
vehicle after repairs are completed. The # 1
cause for a consumer saying “I don’t have
any record of that repair”. Demand a “Repair
Order” and a “Repair Invoice” for every
service visit with your vehicle.
“Warranty Repair History” printout. Every
dealership links, via computer, to the
manufacturer. There is database on every car, by
VIN number (Vehicle Identification Number). Any
service advisor or manager at a dealership can
enter your “VIN”, and produce a plain paper
printout of your vehicle’s entire warranty
claim history. This is available in two versions
– the “summary” and the “complete”
version. You do not want the “summary”, you
want the expanded “complete” warranty repair
history. If you can only get the “summary”,
it’s better than not having anything at all.
If the Service Advisor will not produce it, see
the Service Manager or Director of Service. You
are entitled to the warranty history on your
vehicle. You may likely be required to produce a
drivers license and current vehicle registration
in order to prove you are the owner of the
are many potential pitfalls to getting properly
written/executed repair documents. Here is a
“quick reference list” that will help you later
on in any potential “lemon law” action.
have the Service Advisor write up the Repair
Order in your worded description of the symptom.
review the Repair Order before signing it.
get a signed copy of the Repair Order.
refuse hand written “Service Drop off Forms”
that are offered to you. Request a “Warranty
Repair Order” to be completed for your
a dealer calls you and says “come pick up your
car, we are going to hold the repair order open
while parts are on order”, do not pick up the
vehicle until they “close out” the present
repair order via and give you a “Repair
Invoice”. This dealer tactic makes 2 repairs
into 1, thus decreasing the number of “repair
attempts” as recognized by our California
lemon law. Always ask the dealer if he/she has
your “Repair Invoice” ready before you go to
pick up your vehicle. If there are parts on
order for your vehicle, and the dealer does not
want to “close out” the repair order, simply
tell the dealer to list the “SOP” (special
order parts) as “special order parts -
customer to return when parts arrive”. That
will do it.
need to inspect the “Repair Invoice” for
accuracy. Did the dealer have the correct number
of days referenced in the “date in/date out”
section, memorializing the correct number of
days your vehicle was down for warranty repairs?
You, the consumer, must “police” your Repair
Invoices for accuracy, and have the dealership
re-print it with corrections made. Another way
is to have them hand-write it on the Repair
Invoice, and add their signature and date.
a dealership is not required to reproduce
"Repair Order" invoices for you simply
because they are lost, misplaced, etc. It
is the responsibility of the consumer to get a keep
good warranty repair documentation.
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