amaff HalfDork
Nov. 3, 2008 10:38 a.m.

I'm going to look @ an AP1 S2k tomorrow. I talked to the sales manager @ the dealership and came to find out that it has a manufacturer buy back title. I'm not really sure at all what that means, and haven't been able to really find any solid information so I was hoping you folk could help me out. What does it mean to me, what does it mean as far as the car's concerned, and as far as financing and insurance are concerned?

The info: It's a 2002, bought back in 03, and has 66,000 on the clock.



jrw1621 Reader
Nov. 3, 2008 10:52 a.m.

Buy Back? Is that Lemon Law, where the manufacturer buys the car back from the customer?

Lemon Laws vary by state.

carguy123 HalfDork
Nov. 3, 2008 11:07 a.m.

It sounds like the Lemon Law to me too, but I have never heard of a Lemon S2000. I have an '02 and have been on the forums since day 1 and have never seen any posts that even remotely would qualify for or even mention lemons.

moxnix New Reader
Nov. 3, 2008 11:14 a.m.

Can you find out why it was bought back?

jrw1621 Reader
Nov. 3, 2008 11:27 a.m.

On the good side, they have at least admitted that it was a buy back (not trying to hide it.) Now the test will be how forthcoming they continue to be.

Here is some backround info on Lemon Laws listed by state.

Just because you are buying it in your home state does not mean that it was "Lemoned" in your state. I guess the rule here is it better be a great price because that "Buy-back" designation is going to continue to haunt the car even after you buy it. I would approach with great caution.

pigeon New Reader
Nov. 3, 2008 11:29 a.m.

Manufacturer buyback title = Lemon Law, in particular that Honda fought it and lost, and they were forced to buy the car back. As such there's a history on this as to why it was bought back, I wouldn't touch the car without a complete history as to why it was bought back and every single service work order that's ever been generated on the car. Even then unless it's a smoking deal I'd pass, as you'll run into problems on resale. Then again, being a lemon branded title you may be able to bargain a smoking deal on it, and if it's been 5 years since buyback the issue(s) may be resolved.


amaff HalfDork
Nov. 3, 2008 11:46 a.m.
moxnix wrote: Can you find out why it was bought back?

That's one of my problems. I asked the dealer and they said they don't have any paperwork on why it was bought back, and HoNA wasn't able to tell me anything either. Anywhere else I can ask? The Carfax doesn't really say anything specific.

pigeon New Reader
Nov. 3, 2008 12:09 p.m.

Honda North America knows; as I said, if it's a branded title they fought and lost. Most of the time when manufacturers know they're going to lose a Lemon Law case they will capitulate and do a voluntary buyback, which avoids the title being branded as a lemon. Clearly Honda didn't in this case, which means that they are fully aware of why the car was branded a lemon, and there's a file in the legal department at corporate HQ that has all the paperwork on the car and the Lemon Law proceeding. If they won't tell you why it was a forced buyback, I'd run far, far away, but that's just me.


amaff HalfDork
Nov. 3, 2008 12:56 p.m.

Fair enough, I can't really argue with that. It's not a bad deal, but it's not screaming enough for me to turn a blind eye to this kind of stuff.

Thanks for the input. Fortunately there's another one closer by to me that will be getting the tires kicked tomorrow morning ;)

Nov. 3, 2008 1:57 p.m.

I've bought and sold a handful of lemon cars over the years. You've got to understand, it's a problem the dealer couldn't correct after three attempts. In my experience it's been a fairly even split between oddball cars nobody could figure out(for example, a car nobody could seem to align), and oddball owners who nitpicked the car to death(for example they were unsatisfied with how the dash fit together). In one instance, a convergence of the two.

Strizzo Dork
Nov. 3, 2008 2:04 p.m.

my dad once bought a dealer buyback expedition that the original owner kept saying that the gas gauge "was wrong" i think we put 100,000 miles on it before it got traded in on another expy, which subsequently was bought back due to a driveshaft balancing issue they couldn't get fixed, even after having a custom driveshaft made for the truck.

Jensenman SuperDork
Nov. 3, 2008 2:11 p.m.

'Lemon Law' covers a lot of ground. In some states, there must be three unsuccessful attempts to repair, the problem must materially impact the performance or use of the vehicle (in most states squeaks and rattles don't qualify for lemon law, for instance) and/or the vehicle must have been removed from service for 30 days in one calendar year due to repairs etc.

In some states, notably Florida, there are different laws. For instance a safety system such as brakes or steering is allowed only one repair attempt before a vehicle is eligible for lemon law. The single attempt can include a 'no problem found' attempt, meaning customer brought it in, complained of a problem, problem could not be duplicated, customer uses this as a basis for lemon law to get rid of a car.

90% of the buybacks I have seen came from poor documentation at writeup time combined with a big ol' case of buyers' remorse. That's why you'll see the words 'customer states' such and such occurred. If you don't put that in the concern, that means you admit the problem exists. Now the district rep has no choice but to buy the car back and then do his damndest to get the service advisor and service manager fired.

For that reason, I wouldn't be overly concerned about a branded or buyback title vehicle which was done for lemon law reasons as long as you know what those problems were. Sometimes that's not even a big problem; I know of a Thunderbird Turbo Coupe which was bought back over a seemingly incurable backfire condition which turned out to be a bad ignition coil. I saw the coil being tested while it was in the shop, it passed every ohm test the techs used.

The one problem I can see with such a vehicle: if you want to sell the car in a few years, the 'branded' title can make it tough to sell. In some states, used cars are subject to lemon law very similar to new cars and yes it can affect a private sale.

integraguy Reader
Nov. 3, 2008 2:19 p.m.

I also thought a "lemon law" could be invoked if the car in question was off the road awaiting repairs for too long. If that is possible, it's therefore possible that a car that's nearly hand-made, in another country, couldn't be fixed to the owner's idea of a timely repair.

That said, you still have to wonder why Honda N.A. "seems" to be sandbagging potential buyers.

amaff HalfDork
Nov. 3, 2008 2:20 p.m.
Jensenman wrote: For that reason, I wouldn't be overly concerned about a branded or buyback title vehicle which was done for lemon law reasons as long as you know what those problems were.

Those are my feelings at this point, however no one seems to know / want to divulge what the issue was.

Jensenman wrote: The one problem I can see with such a vehicle: if you want to sell the car in a few years, the 'branded' title can make it tough to sell. In some states, used cars are subject to lemon law very similar to new cars and yes it can affect a private sale.
And that's problem #2.

Jensenman SuperDork
Nov. 3, 2008 3:13 p.m.

If they won't tell you what the buyback reason was, I wouldn't buy it under any circumstances.

amaff HalfDork
Nov. 3, 2008 3:21 p.m.

That's pretty much where I'm at on this. I'll be going to look @ another one (same vintage, fewer miles, clean title, slightly more money) tomorrow, so hopefully this'll be a moot point by then ;)

sachilles Reader
Nov. 3, 2008 3:47 p.m.

If they are a honda dealer and can't give you the service records based on the vin......either hondas service system stinks or they are holding something back. Maybe get the vin and call another honda dealership to see if you can get a service record.

amaff HalfDork
Nov. 3, 2008 3:58 p.m.

It's not a Honda dealer, however I have the VIN and I called Honda of North America earlier this morning, who proceeded to give me the run-around. So, that was fun.

sachilles Reader
Nov. 3, 2008 4:30 p.m.

just try a dealer, walk in, be nice and you would be amazed what they might do.

HeavyDuty New Reader
Nov. 3, 2008 4:51 p.m.

My pops did buy backs for years and years for GM. You've gotten a ton of great information. Depending on where you are, the BBB might have been involved in mediation and they should certainly help you out as well. I know most safety buy backs were eaten alive by a hammer mill (wow is that fun to watch) others end up a tech schools (my high school would get one every now and again thanks to pops, and it never got me out of any trouble but it did get the principle calling my house looking for a discount on parts for his personal car). That's for safety ones. Regular lemmon law ones you never know. Usually the first thing the company will do is check to see if a person is behind on payments, obviously an old trick and people would say "well I'm not paying on it because it's a lemmon" to try to avoid the repo. The BBB cases would depend a lot on who the mediator was, and that went both ways.

In the end, given the lack of information I'd run from it for no other reason than resale.

amaff HalfDork
Nov. 3, 2008 5:45 p.m.
HeavyDuty wrote: In the end, given the lack of information I'd run from it for no other reason than resale.

Yeah, that's pretty much the consensus I'm getting.

Thanks for the great information folks, much appreciated as always

pigeon New Reader
Nov. 3, 2008 6:27 p.m.

I actually had a lemon law (NY) buyback myself. Car was a Certified Used Honda Accord that had a front end vibration that the dealer basically didn't want to do anything about. I went to arbitration and won after the arbitrator rode in and drove the car and agreed that it had a vibration that "substantially impaired the value of the vehicle to the consumer" - the NY standard after the time/repair attempt threshold is met. Of course, the local dealer that had sold it to me didn't want to comply with the award until the DMV was literally 4 hours away from pulling their dealer license. I really enjoyed that! I also enjoyed that I put nearly 20k miles on the car for free.

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