Appearing in Court

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When you show up in court, be sure that you are well organized. Bring all the letters you have written or received about your car problem, any written warranty, photographs if they are helpful, and your used parts if they aid in making your case. If you have a witness to oral statements made by the garage, be sure to bring that person with you to court. Or if that's impossible, ask the person to write a letter explaining what he or she heard. Also, be sure to present any letter(s) written by an independent expert(s) who has arranged to examine your car. Even one cogent letter from an experienced mechanic, explaining how the repair job was botched, when combined with your own informed presentation, can make you a winner.

If you are well prepared you should win the sort of case outlined here without difficulty. Judges drive cars and have to get them fixed; they tend to be sympathetic with this type of consumer complaint. Simply present your story (see Chapter 15), your documentation, and your witnesses. If you feel that your opponent is snowing the judge with a lot of technical lingo, get things back on track by asking that all jargon be explained in ordinary English. This will be a relief to everyone in the courtroom except your opponent.

A good drawing can help. In cases involving machinery, people can give effective testimony by presenting a large drawing illustrating the mistake or problem. This approach is most effective when your expert appears in court and authoritatively points to the drawing to detail the problem.

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