She said she was sold a lemon, so a local college student called the NBC Connecticut consumer hotline for help.
Safety comes standard, according to Chrysler. It’s one of the top selling points for their Chrysler 200. So when safety became a serious concern for consumer, Jennifer Salazar, she was angry that Chrysler wouldn’t help.
“I was appalled by Chrysler's response because I clearly voiced my concern, and they had the nerve to said to me ‘well we can't take feelings into consideration’ completely ignoring the fact that it was a clear safety concern,” said Salazar.
The 23-year-old college student bought a brand new Chrysler 200S for almost $39,000, from Gengras Motor Cars in East Hartford last July.
Two weeks later Salazar said it stopped working.
“We couldn't get it to shift out of park and it would said service transmission, it would beep and everything,” said Salazar.
She said the car was fixed and given back to her, only to break down three more times while driving.
“I was right about to get onto the highway. If the car had died on me a minute or two later, I would have been going 70 and I would have gotten hit,” she said.
Salazar said at that time, Chrysler was still only offering to fix the car.
“I didn't know what to do. I reached out to NBC, I reached out to a lawyer. I reached out to anything I could think of,” said Salazar.
Our consumer team advised Salazar to file complaints with the Department of Consumer Protection and the DMV in regards to the Lemon Law.
Jonathan Gengras, the owner of Gengras Motor Cars, also stepped in to help.
“We are very concerned for her safety which is why we took her out of that car. Chrysler wanted to give it back. She didn’t want it. She was in tears and said I can't take this car back I don't trust it. We said no problem, why don't you take one of our other cars, put you on the road with that and we'll deal with Chrysler,” said Gengras.
In an email sent to Salazar, Chrysler offered to buy back the car for just under $34,000, which means Salazar won’t be refunded the $5,000 she already put into the car.
She rejected the offer and has opened a Lemon law case with the Department of Consumer Protection.
According to the formula DCP uses in lemon law cases, Salazar should only have to pay $286 towards the vehicle for the time it was working, not $5,000 but DCP said that is pending the conclusion of her case.
We took that information back to Chrysler to see if they would make another offer, but they’re not budging.
They said, “FCA US made an offer to repurchase the subject vehicle solely for customer satisfaction.”
They went on to said, “The arbitrator first must determine that FCA US violated the lemon law – something which has not yet occurred and which FCA US denies.”
Salazar is planning to take Chrysler to court. As of right now, Gengras is still allowing Salazar to drive a loaner vehicle, at no cost.
Chrysler provided this full statement to NBC Connecticut:
FCA US made an offer to repurchase the subject vehicle solely for customer satisfaction and not because it or any court or arbitrator has determined that the vehicle qualifies for relief under the Connecticut lemon law. FCA US’ offer was consistent with the refund formula set forth in the statute. While FCA US understands that an arbitrator has the authority to waive all or a portion of the mileage deduction, the arbitrator first must determine that FCA US violated the lemon law – something which has not yet occurred and which FCA US denies.