Consumer Alert: ‘Cannot duplicate’ car conundrum

For car owners, few things can be more frustrating than an intermittent problem that doesn't seem to show up when the car is taken to a mechanic.
The so-called “cannot duplicate conundrum” happens more often than some may think.
Michael Sacks, an automotive consumer advocate with Kimmel and Silverman, said anyone who runs into an issue that a mechanic can’t duplicate, especially with a car that’s under warranty, should make sure to document it.
"Keep every single invoice, even if it says ‘cannot duplicate.’ And if they say, ‘Oh, we're not going to give you an invoice until there's a repair,’ say, ‘Really? I need some documentation to illustrate that I've been in,’” Sacks said.
Sacks said be specific in describing the problem, noting when the issues occurs and if it’s prompted by a change in speed or weather conditions.
If one dealer cannot find the problem, try another. Sacks said car owners are not required to go to the dealer who sold them their vehicle.
Finally, do research. According to Sacks, a good starting place is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Database: SaferCar.gov.
Sacks said if others driver have complained about the same problem, make sure the service manager knows.
“You can say, ‘Hey, wait a minute. I'm not alone here in experiencing these problems, and I need you to dig further. I need you to contact the manufacturer. I need you to pull technical service bulletins because there's something wrong with my vehicle, and I'm not taking no for an answer,’” he said.
Anyone with a car that’s less than two years old and has an issues that’s unable to be fixed after trying to correct the issue three times or more, the vehicle owner may have additional rights under the New Jersey Lemon Law. CLICK HERE for more information.