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Used Cars/NH Inspections

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Question
Hello-

We bought a 2001 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 back in the end of July.  This is from a licensed dealer that guarantees the vehicles will pass inspection, but sells them "as is".  When we first picked it up, we didn't drive 100 feet down the road and the check engine light came on.  We brought it back and he told us it was because it sat a while, he cleared the code and told us to drive it at least 150 for the codes to reset.  We drove it for about an hour and the check engine light came back on, so we brought it back and he said he would fix it and get the inspection sticker for us.  A few days later, we picked the truck up at the inspection garage, all set and inspected.  Just yesterday, we took it to our mechanic to have him look it over and give us a list of things we need to pick away at.  Knowing this was a used 2001 truck, we knew there would be wear and tear, and maybe would need to replace ball joints or things that are just about to wear out.  We knew buying the truck, these things were up to us to get taken care of, and had no issue with that.  The fact it had passed inspection told us nothing major was wrong with the truck and it was legally road worthy.  Come to find out, by our mechanic, it should not, in any way, have passed inspection.  The exhaust is missing all 3 catalytic converters and the rear emergency brake has been completely removed, the parts were torn out.  It also failed emissions test.  Now, we know for a fact, this is not something that happened in the not even 2 months we have owned it.  We know it was pushed through inspection illegally, and now we are driving a car that should not be on the road.  Our mechanic told us, this truck should only have been sold as a part vehicle, not one that is road safe.  My question is, what can we do now?  It is not even 2 months since we have taken ownership of this truck, and it was the dealer who brought it to the garage he uses to have it get inspected.  Someone, if not both, put a sticker on this truck knowing full well, it did not pass.  We trusted both the dealer and mechanic in telling us the truck was safe and passed inspection.  Can we do anything now?  Thank you for your help.

Answer
This motor vehicle will not pass a New Hampshire inspection and is unsafe for operation. The following defects must be corrected before an inspection sticker will be issued.

Example: Bondough's Best, a used car dealer, receives a used Porcine Troughmaster in trade. While getting it ready for resale, Clyde Bondough notices that the Troughmaster's frame and exhaust pipes are rusted through. Harvey Parsley comes to the lot the next day and says "Porcines are the best! I especially love the Troughmaster." Before Bondough's can sell Harvey the Troughmaster, it must tell him that the car probably will not pass a state safety inspection, and offer him a chance to get the car inspected. Harvey may still buy the Troughmaster if he gets a list of all the items that did not pass inspection and the warning stated in the text.

Any violation of RSA 358-F is considered to be an unfair and deceptive trade practice which triggers certain rights and remedies under the New Hampshire Consumer Protection Act.

RSA 266:8 also gives the used car buyer protective rights. When a dealer licensed by the New Hampshire Department of Safety finds that a car will not pass the state safety inspection, the dealer must:

   Destroy the inspection sticker on the car
   Fill out a form distributed by the Department of Safety
   Have the buyer sign the form to acknowledge that the buyer is aware the car will not pass inspection
   Provide the buyer and the Department with a copy of the form, and keep a copy of the form in the dealer's files""

Okay so where does that leave you... It leaves you on your way back to visit the car dealer who apparently has a deal with a used vehicle inspector who will issue fraudulent inspection stickers of compliance with the law. Here in my area we only have the smog the DEQ requirements that a vehicle must pass and of course there were several people who made a very good living finding ways to circumvent the law who had a special skill in getting vehicles through the smog test much like your dealer no doubt.

Plan of Action

I would take full advantage of RSA 358 F and take the vehicle back to the dealer let them know what your own inspection revealed with your honest mechanic and given the opportunity to unwind the car deal... Make sure that you leave no doubt in his mind that the issue is far from closed and his actions will dictate your own but that you are one of those customers that never goes away and never gives up. Let him know that kinking state consumer protection and safety requirements expose him to a tremendous amount of liability should anything ever happened on driving one of his unsafe vehicles. Find a guy who issued sticker for them and let him know that you plan on holding him equally responsible when and if you are required to take it to court.

In the state of New Hampshire you have a law firm that specializes in consumer protection issues like these that may be the second prong of your attack to get this resolved here is their information and here is what they said regarding this exact issue: the attorney John Skinner the third (the same name as my old college buddy John Skinner) said this:

"you are in New Hampshire, so your re-course is slim. However, I am one of only a handful of consumer protection attorneys in the State and we may be able to help. Although is no used car lemon law in NH, and so I recommend that all used car purchases be done in MA, where you actually DO have recourse, here in NH we do have law specific to Inspection Sticker fraud. I have used that law in the past to make used car lemon law claims for consumers. Feel free to contact my office for a further review of your case"
you've got to love an attorney who manages to find a way to talk about himself regardless of the topic. Here is his contact info as an FYI.

John Skinner, III
CLASS, Consumer Law Advocacy and Skinner Rivard Law Offices
Attorneys in Firm 4
We fight for the rights of consumers and employees!
(603) 391-5668
587 Union Street Manchester NH 03104
Web http://www.skinnerlawpllc.com
Email info@skinnerlawpllc.com

So let's recap: if it were me I would immediately take truck back to the dealer and let him know what you discovered and let him know how little you appreciate being cut loose in a intentionally unsafe vehicle... Remind him what the law says, make sure he knows that you're one of the customers that will never go away and never give up... Tell him he has a unique opportunity to resolve an issue before she loses control of it and the matter leaves your hands but with the filing of formal complaints against him not to mention the hatchet job you plan on doing to his reputation online by simply recounting the factual basis of your complaint so that other members of the public could read it and make their own decisions. And make sure that's it during this conversation that you mention that he will be in trouble with the Department of Motor Vehicles which is the agency that scares car dealers the most. And finally telling that one or the other he's taking the truck back or fixing it to your satisfaction and so it's safe (which is is an option he has at this point) either because it's the right thing to do or as a result of lengthy and expensive litigation.

If that fails then I would go to Mr. Skinner and start posting negative reviews everywhere you can against this dealer and make sure you

Please feel free to ask as many follow-up questions as you require to fully understand this issue I am here for you until you are completely satisfied and can give me perfect reviews and maximum bonus points thank you... My personal e-mail address is road loans at Gmail

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Roger Alvey

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I can answer any question about the car buying process. I am a recognized industry expert on all issues regarding auto finance, including sub prime and buy here pay here financing, I can answer questions about car lock out systems, GPS monitoring by your bank, and about auto recovery methods and defenses. I am a 20 yr car industry expert and can tell you what to look for in a used car, how to negotiate the deal, help with how to market your own car, and how to negotiate with the internet department of any car store. I can tell you every single way the dealer is set up to beat you and how to avoid those traps, I can discuss all aftermarket and extended service contract products you will be offered in the finance process, I have lectured extensively on "The Best Way to Buy a Car" to civic groups and university students. I am a credit expert and can tell you what the dealer and banks are looking for and the rate you can expect to pay. CHECK OUT MY WEBSITE AT http://thecarguyz.wordpress.com/

Experience

20 years industry experience in top management of dealerships and dealer groups. Recognized industry expert since 2004 in the Top 10 industry experts for The Gerson Lehrman Groups Auto Industry Council. I also do consulting work for Experts360, Atheneum Partners, Expert Connect and Coleman Research. I have been a franchise owner and understand all facets of the auto industry from the time the car leaves the factory until it leaves the lot with it's new owner. I have written training materials for both the prime and the subprime sales and finance process.

Organizations
NADA, OADA, NFIB, State Certified Used Car Appraiser

Publications
Special Finance Insider, Dealer, and Automotive News, Gerson Lehrman Group Auto Industry Council News (frequently, various industry websites and blogs including my own blog at http://thecarguyz.wordpress.com/

Education/Credentials
Willamette University - Salem Oregon BA Economics Willamette University Graduate School of Business - Econometrics Statistics

Awards and Honors
GM's Award of (their most prestigious award) Given to Dealers who surpass their annual benchmark planning volume while also maintaining Top Box (top 5%) CSI

Past/Present Clients
Citadel Investment Group , Summit Partners US ,Broad Peak Investment Management, Nautic Partners, LLC, Hellman & Friedman Investors, L.P. and over 40 additional money managers, hedge funds and research groups

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