How to Navigate the Lemon Law Process

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 4.47.12 AM II

By Tim Esterdahl

After putting 30,000 miles on his new 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck, Dan Metzinger had finally had enough. The pickup had developed a constant vibration at highway speeds. He took his truck to his local dealer and started what would turn out to be a six-month journey to getting a resolution through the lemon law process. He documented his experience on his YouTube channel.

After several tire rotations, repairs based on technical service bulletins and numerous discussions with service technicians and service managers at the local dealership, Metzinger's truck was never repaired to his satisfaction. Out of repair options, Metzinger eventually filed a lemon law claim.

What Are Lemon Laws?

Nicknamed lemon laws, every state has consumer-protection laws that can be traced to the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act. This was one of the first federal laws aimed at protecting consumers from products that don't perform as stated. Simply put, it gives consumers the right to seek compensation if they purchase a defective productive, such as a vehicle.

And while the federal law covers all consumers, automotive lemon laws differ by state. For example, some states cover used and leased vehicles, while other states don't. Each state is likely to differ on how many repairs a consumer needs to make before filing a lemon law claim, as well as how long past the warranty period they can file a claim. Finally, the federal law generally covers mechanical defects while state laws can be more expansive. Typically, the only thing they all have in common is the vehicle must be purchased with a factory warranty.

Filing the Claim

How you file a lemon law claim varies by state as well. It can involve hiring a lawyer, filing the claim paperwork yourself or using a third-party resolution process.

Metzinger started his claim by filing through the Better Business Bureau's Auto Line. This is a free third-party resolution agency that helps consumers with their claims and is offered in many states. His case was one of the 17,233 cases Auto Line handled in 2017.

"Since its inception, the program has helped more than 2 million consumers find solutions to their automotive problems," said Juan Herrera, national director of dispute resolution programs for BBB. "Consumers can file a complaint online at, upload supporting documents and work with an assigned dispute resolution specialist on a wide range of car and truck warranty issues. A list of participating manufacturers is available on our website. Consumers can also call 800-955-5100 for assistance."

The only caveats of the BBB program are that not all manufacturers participate and the program works differently in each state. While Metzinger did get a response from GMC through the Auto Line process, it did not resolve his lemon law claim.

Determined to move forward, Metzinger hired an attorney, filing another claim. GM's legal department, which does not work with the BBB Auto Line, responded and then things started moving quickly.

"The process went faster than I thought it would," Metzinger said. "[GM] offered me $8,000 on Jan. 3, [2018]. ... We countered at $15,000. ... The following day GM offered $9,000. ... We eventually countered at $14,000 on Jan. 9."


After a little more back and forth, Metzinger's attorney called on Jan. 13 and told him GM had agreed to $13,000. Metzinger and his wife decided it was enough compensation to avoid the risk of going to court and ending up with nothing. The issue was finally behind him.

While the money helps, it wasn't what Metzinger wanted, which was a replacement truck. Metzinger wonders what he should do with his current truck after the check arrives. "A financial settlement doesn't do me any good because I'm still stuck with the truck and I can't sell it privately with the shaking issue for very much money," he said.

For information or assistance with a lemon law case, visit your state's department of motor vehicles website or office, contact the BBB's Auto Line or an attorney with lemon law experience. photos by Tim Esterdahl


Lemon Law photo 2 II



The process went fast because Metzinger got screwed glued and tattooed. GM bought my wife's 2013 Camaro back because of a TPMS bug they couldn't figure out.

Also, seems like pretty sh!ty timing for this story considering the 2019 GMC reveal is the story before. Why not post the story of the shack Super Duty where Ford told the guy not to drive over 65.

Had the same problem only I never followed through. Bad vibration at highway speeds. Dealer put on 4 new rims+tires. This did not help. I bought a second set of Goodyear tires. Still no good... 80000 miles bought a set of Michelin tires, that did the trick. I could not believe it. All the tires I had road force balanced too...

Every mfg makes lemons. Nothing surprising there. I heard people mention the Chevy shake, but it looks real. GM has good chassis engineers - wonder why they could not fix this. This poor guy got screwed.
Kinda sketch they posted this story after the 2019 GMC debut - coming from a Ford guy.

I think he got screwed, a friend of mine bought a new either 16' or 17' Silverado 2500 Duramax. They bought it to tow a 5th wheel. The first 40 days of ownership they only had it in their possession less than 10 days due to various drive train issues, so GM bought the truck back and told them to configure a new 2500 at the same trim level and put whatever options they wanted.

This has been a pathetic showing by GM for a long time now. They're back to building crap a la 1999-2002. The new trucks don't have any innovation, crappy interiors. I still have a sour taste about the oil burning 5.3L with the AFM. I'm a former GM guy, but this is really lame.

Disappointed. Every brand has these stories, but PUTC chose a phantom issue that most GM truck owners DON'T have to illustrate the lemon story.

The only person I ever met who picked up a BIG settlement over a lemon law (Florida) is a guy I know who bought a new F250 every couple of years, dating way back. One of his F250s had a bad PowerStroke and he refused to be ignored.

His son worked at the Ford dealer where he bought it and he still had to fight city hall to win a new truck. He won, but he had to move mountains to do it. The dealer had sold him MANY Ford pickups and SUV down through the years and they turned their back on him.

Because he was a retired guy he had the time to devote to fighting the people at Ford. Otherwise the story might have had a different ending.

I wouldn't say this is a common problem, but certainly well known. My uncle had this same problem with his 2015 Chevy and they bought it back no problem. He's well known in the community though and they probably gave him preferential treatment. He bought an ecodiesel after that and lost the fuel pump. Covered under warranty but then he was having the exhaust leakage problem.
Took forever to get his truck back but I think he likes it now. Funny because everyone else in the family has bought fords and he's the one who refuses to buy a ford . Terrible luck for a guy who put almost 500,000 miles on a late 90s cummins before he finally lost the transmission(first major issue he had).

We need lemon laws for RV's.

This issue I have heard of so may times. A friend of mine traded his shaky sierra in on a toyota because of it.


@dale milner
+1 on the RV lemon law.
I own one for about 3 years and dumped over a grand into it. Service mgr at the dealer freely admits, with very few exceptions, almost all of them are slapped together crap.

...Service mgr at the dealer freely admits, with very few exceptions, almost all of them are slapped together crap.

Posted by: Grnzel1 | Mar 2, 2018 11:55:20 AM

That should not have come as a surprise with this brand.

first thing the guy did wrong was not investigate on how the lemon law works in his state.
Contacting the BBB is not the correct way.
Contacting a lawyer is not either in most states.
All the major manufactures have a lemon law process, all he had to do was go thru the channels and document, document everything.

Best way to find a shake is put all 4 wheels on rollers raised up in the air.. pretty simple process...

WOW, GMSRGREAT agreed about this article and no surprise that a GM has these issues. I also like how you posted the Ford TT as well, that is pretty sweet!


Hey Mark, you should do a write-up on Ford and their widespread IWE issues on the 2015+ F-150's. Unless you're afraid to hurt Mike Levine's feelings that is...

As the author of this story, I thought I would chime in.

1. No, I wasn't picking on GM here. I came across this guy's story on YouTube and set out to do a Lemon Law story. Every MFG does indeed put out a lemon from time to time. Just happened I came across this one.

2. I worked on this story for 2 weeks before this went live. Lots of following leads, editing and following up with copy editors. Timing is coincidence.

Don't read more into this. This has nothing to do with GM products. It is about the Lemon Law process.


I have a 2015 Silverado crewcab. Over 20,000 miles on it and it is the smoothest quietest vehicle I have ever driven. Family and friends who has driven in or borrowed it keep saying the same. So it is unfortunate that some trucks appear to have this vibration issue unresolved. As a technician who has worked at the dealership level for over a decade, I can say that these problems are far and few between. I can assure you that these vibration issues can be resolved but unfortunately due to multiple technician involvement, things get overlooked.
Example: I mentioned before that many vibrations has occurred due to tires slipping on the wheels, throwing them of balance again. That is why you hear the common complaint that following a repair visit, everything was fine for several days or a week and the problem reoccures. Now, on the next repair visit, a different tech will move onto replacing some other components rather than recheck the wheel balance. I hear that the tire installation lubricant is Silicone based and is one the main contributing factors. This tire slipping on the wheels is very common on 20 inch diameter wheels and larger. It is something that tire and wheel manufactures are going to have to fix.

The Service Writers at every dealership talk about the lemon law all the time and know what words to use and not use when they write up a service order.
Everytime you bring your vehicle back for the same problems it's always written up different.

GMS- great point. I know another person who owns a F250, bought used (2011 Diesel), he had a major vibration at highway speeds, and the dealer couldnt figure it out. Went to a local shop and they rebalanced all 4 tires and problem went away. Moral of the story as you pointed out, the right tech may make all the difference. In that case, he was at the dealer 4 times with no resolution. I remember him saying one time it worked for a few weeks then came back.


Mark Why not use a lemon from all manufacturers here’s one of many for you ford lovers

lemon law its not ford is worst problem,,

I have a 2014 Ford Focus - of THOSE. Anyone who follows this type of thing should know the issue. I've had the car 2 years, it's been in the shop 19 times for the same 2 problems, Ford won't figure out a fix, but they've extended the warranty, not the roadside assistance though. Which I need because the car leaves me stranded more often than not. I've been trying to find an attorney to help me as I've exhausted all other options. I'm just not sure what else to do. I need this $16,000 piece of crap to run, and it doesn't. It breaks down every 2 months, I can count on it. So frustrating!!

Yes all the manufacturers have problems:

The Chevy / GMC shake is an issue on a very small number of trucks. Remember GM sells hundreds of thousands of trucks each year. Yes crap tires can be the issue. Another reason is AAM axles produces in Mexico. GM is not happy with quality control in Mexico and is moving production of axles to US. Supposedly drive shaft yoke weld is barely out of tolerance and will cause shaking at highway speeds.

Common sense: If the vehicle has problems, from the first instance, If I was not pleased with the resolution - I would trade it in.

I would rather take a hit, up to 5K is my tolerance - ending with what I like.

I can't get it - when one, goes to the service department for 19 times for the same issue - that tells me - that one did not score well on his/her SAT.

@Mr Robertson

The requirements in many states stipulate compliance to qualify for consideration under that state's lemon law---and some locales require as many as 30 trips to the service dept during a specified period of time.

Something that everyone can understand is a manufacturer will produce a bad vehicle as it is a fact of manufacturing. What makes these extreme cases unsettling is, if it happens, the owner is screwed, no matter who the manufacturer is as there are cases for GM, Ford, RAM, Toyota and Nissan.

Currently, the '12 Highlander that replaced my '11 Tundra has been a great vehicle, thus no complaints. Next year, I need buy another vehicle as my son will start driving; will it be a Toyota? Absolutely not; not because my Tundra had many problems, it's because Toyota didn't own up to them; "not ours or TSB" is Toyota's explanation--really MS?

One more thing: Truck owners are a loyal bunch, it would be nice to see manufacturers reciprocate.

@Mr. PapaJim

Imagine: a diamond back rattler biting that same human being 1, 2, 3, 4,.......................,28, 29, 30.

Can you guess what the diamond back rattler would be thinking about that human being? hmmmmmm.........

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

No doubt Mr Robertson is a poet too

Only trucks that need lemon lawed are Fords after the 5 million tsb for the intercooler causing the truck to go in limp mode, which still isn't total fixed. Plus the timing chains that KO the engine after 60,000 miles. Yeah and Ford' also famous death wobble, or the crappy 6.4 6.0 power jokes, or the 5.4 that blows spark plugs out the hood and the exhaust manifolds that crack ..... ect ect.

"After putting 30,000 miles on his new 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck, Dan Metzinger had finally had enough..."

Most ford drivers would be glad to put 30000 on their trucks....did anyone say do not drive order?


This guy got it's handed too......SAD!!

WOW, GMSRGREAT agreed about this article and no surprise that a GM has these issues. I also like how you posted the Ford TT as well, that is pretty sweet!


Posted by: crunchtime | Mar 2, 2018 12:35:14 PM

He certainly removed all doubts. As always, never fails.

WOW, GMSRGREAT agreed about this article and no surprise that a GM has these issues. I also like how you posted the Ford TT as well, that is pretty sweet!


Posted by: crunchtime | Mar 2, 2018 12:35:14 PM

He certainly removed all doubts. As always, never fails.

Posted by: Frank | Mar 5, 2018 11:59:03 AM

Just goes to show how one has to spell out everything to a Ford fan. Hey guys, just have someone go back and read the whole post by Grnzel1 that I was making reference to. Then have them explain everything to you.

I went through this process and it comes down to the dealership fighting for the consumer! My dealership stood by me and didn't accept the shaking issue that was going on with my 16 Sierra. Though a very small amount of these trucks do it compared to the amount they sell....some do shake....SO DO SOME FORDS ALSO!!

They had a GM technician come up from Texas to try and correct it and couldn't. GM said they would buy back the truck. I had to pay a difference of $4000 from a 16 to 17 Sierra with more options! (3.42 rear end, 8 spd tranny, heated steering wheel) more GM also threw in the rear entertainment headrest DVD's for my kids ($2500 value) plus, $500 to use towards other accessories!! So really I paid $1000. I was very pleased with their service helping me out. It was a 4 month process, but that was because they were trying every possible way to fix the truck. My 17 now has 21K miles on it and it runs like a dream!!

The comments to this entry are closed.