1. #1
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    Default Vehicle Question

    Our EMS agency obtained a new ambulance through a FEMA grant a few years ago. We have been having ongoing mechanical problems with the unit and are starting to talk about filing a "lemon law" claim over it. The problems are all related and are drive train issues.

    Understanding that we are supposed to keep the vehicle through its entire service life, does anyone have any experience or suggestions with dealing with this type of situation on a vehicle that they obtained through AFG?
    Thomas Anthony, PE
    Structures Specialist PA-TF1 & PA-ST1
    Paramedic / Rescue Tech North Huntington Twp EMS
    The artist formerly known as Captain 10-2

    No, I am not a water rescue technician, but I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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    Lemon issues are a different animal that should be allowable to make a change. The reason for the requirement is they don't want people selling the new truck after 2 years and buying 2 slightly used ones. Yes, it happened.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er View Post
    Lemon issues are a different animal that should be allowable to make a change. The reason for the requirement is they don't want people selling the new truck after 2 years and buying 2 slightly used ones. Yes, it happened.
    Just for the heck of it I will throw this out for discussion.

    Lets say we file a lemon claim and win and get a credit for the cost of the vehicle from the manufacturer. I am assuming it would not be full replacement cost since we have had it for almost 4 years, although I don't really know how these claims work. Beyond the mechanical problems with the unit, we feel that the vans do not work well in our community. We feel we have a need to go back to modular units that allow us to carry equipment safely, carry PPE, provide better patient care, etc.

    Would we have a leg to stand on for an application for another unit to replace it if we applied for the difference between the cost of a modular unit and another van? The grant we got was for $55k for the van. Lets say we get $30k on the lemon claim, and a new modular would be $90k. We would need to apply for $60k towards the replacement unit.
    Thomas Anthony, PE
    Structures Specialist PA-TF1 & PA-ST1
    Paramedic / Rescue Tech North Huntington Twp EMS
    The artist formerly known as Captain 10-2

    No, I am not a water rescue technician, but I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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    Don't know how much sympathy you'd get out of a review panel. Sort of like buying the cheapest gear that meets NFPA and then wanting another grant after it falls apart in 4 years, it's buyer beware season. But since it won't affect another grant submitted for equipment it won't take the place of anything if they do apply again for the difference. Worse thing that happens is they say no, but of course could say yes. Working against them is that the age of the vehicle is still 4 years old.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er View Post
    Don't know how much sympathy you'd get out of a review panel. Sort of like buying the cheapest gear that meets NFPA and then wanting another grant after it falls apart in 4 years, it's buyer beware season. But since it won't affect another grant submitted for equipment it won't take the place of anything if they do apply again for the difference. Worse thing that happens is they say no, but of course could say yes. Working against them is that the age of the vehicle is still 4 years old.
    Thanks, I was pretty much thinking the same thing. Hopefully we can find the right person to fix the stupid thing.
    Thomas Anthony, PE
    Structures Specialist PA-TF1 & PA-ST1
    Paramedic / Rescue Tech North Huntington Twp EMS
    The artist formerly known as Captain 10-2

    No, I am not a water rescue technician, but I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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    Talking Lemon law

    Depending on your states laws regarding" lemon law" vehicles it could require the manufacturer to replace the Whole vehicle.

    Check with your state attny generals office for exact information on what they require.

    Here it requires an ongoing effort to repair a problem that has not been successful. You will need documentation that the problem has been ongoing since new.
    I did this with a personal 1999 3/4 ton van that had driveline vibrations so bad that at 50 mph it made the mirrors blurry and made your hands numb holding the steering wheel. The dealer replaced every single component from the vibration damper pulley at the front of the engine , the torque converter & transmission, 3 driveshafts and a complete rear axel assembly. In the first 18 months of ownership they had my vehicle for over 45 days while trying to remedy the problem. They had the factory engineers involved from almost the beginning.
    Finally I spoke to the attny generals office and with just the mention of filing a "Lemon law complaint " the Dealer & factory decided to replace the entire vehicle with a new one. When the time came to take delivery of the new one , the dealer reimbursed me for the sales tax, exise tax and even the registration fees that I had paid on the original. The new vehicle has been fine since late 2000 delivery.

    As far as the feds , that is a question that can only be answered by them. I would contact your regional AFG rep and run it by him/her to see if they have a feel how it would need to work.
    Applying for a new vehicle of a different type to replace the grant vehicle is probably a slim chance. they will take into account that if you needed a type 3 modular when you got the grant and can afford the difference in cost now, you probably could have then.

    Edit: Some Lemon laws don't cover commercial vehicles, which an ambulance would be considered.
    That would leave you with the need to go after the vehicle manufacturer / dealer in civil court.
    Last edited by islandfire03; 12-03-2009 at 07:53 PM.

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    As far as I know the various lemon laws typically only apply to personal vehicles. Not business vehicles. Is also so in Pa apparently.

    http://www.bbb.org/us/pennsylvania-lemon-law/

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    PA doesn't allow Lemon Law on Commerical Vehicles, you will have to contact an attorney and go for breach of warranty, My Department has a 2004 Ford F-550 Super Duty and went thru 4 Turbos and Ford sent out an Engineer to look at our truck, when the dealer was test driving it with the Engineer in the vehicle with his computer hooked up to the truck the turbo had a severe boost and blew out the rear end. Ford fixed the problem. I talked to another Chief in Butler County and they had the same issues, they got an attorney and won breach of warranty against Ford and got all the money back they put into the truck.

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