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Re: Defect Disclosure Question (archive)

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Posted by WL on June 10, 1999 at 10:09:42:

In Reply to: Defect Disclosure Question posted by JonM on June 10, 1999 at 09:27:15:

Sad to say it happens all the time. The policy most manufacturers follow is that if the damage is minor enough, then the repair is made and the can can be marketed as a "new" car. As I recall (perhaps incorrectly) the threshold is actually set by the manufacturer and not by the FTC or other government entity. Hypothetically, BMW may say $750 is the limit - above that it's a used car below that it's new. Another manufacturer may have a different policy...

As an aside, BMW got socked with a huge multi-tens-of-millions of dollars decision in an Alabama lawsuit that dealt with just this issue. They sold a "new" 7er to a fellow who later discovered that the door (I believe) had been repainted due to damage in transit. Even though it had been BMW's standard policy, the Alabama jury awarded a huge punitive settlement to the plaintiff. Perhaps a one of our legal scholar/message board denizens can expand on this. The case occurred several years ago...

: As some of you know, my lady friend is in the process of buying a new 323i. It has been a long, drawn-out process. These cars are tough to find with specific options and colors. At any rate, she found one. It was "on the boat". It finally arrived, and the dealer (unnamed at this point) called to let her know it was in. Great. A day or two later, the car had been moved off the boat and to the VPC staging center in Oxnard, CA. The dealer called back. The fleet manager claimed "the car had been scratched and the VPC was going to repaint one rear quarter panel". No way I say.

: I talked her out of buying the car, even though she is EXTREMELY anxious to get it. She ordered a black car, and I think there is no way the paint will ever look like factory, no matter who paints it. If this was a $12K Honda commuter car, maybe things would be different. I told her to back out of the deal. The fleet manager who she has been dealing with claimed: (a) you can never tell when the VPC repaints a car (b) this happens all the time (c) the dealer usually doesn't even know when this happens and (d) if she didn't buy the car, the next person who does buy it will not be told about the scratch or the repaint. Yikes. Instantly I know yet another dealer to stay away from in Southern California...

: She backed out of the deal and ordered a new 323Ci Coupe, 5 speed, sport, black/black, xenons, etc. etc. Way cooler than an automatic sedan anyway. Good girl.

: At any rate, my question for the board is this: doesn't the dealer/BMWNA have to tell you the car was repainted? How do you find out what has happened to your car? What are our rights as consumers about disclosure? How can I make sure the same thing doesn't happen to the Ci?

: Jon Maddux

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