Sunday, December 20, 2015
What steps are being taken to improve auto safety after massive recalls and deaths?
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recently met with 15 automaker senior executives in order to discuss ways to improve auto safety. This meeting was organized after several major auto defects not only occurred, but remained unattended to for long periods of time, eroding public confidence in both automobile safety and government oversight.
Both safety and cybersecurity initiatives were discussed,
although no information regarding the cybersecurity initiates was disclosed. The DOT Press Secretary, Namrata Kolachalam, said that the meeting had been "very productive" and that the same group would meet again in January to evaluate progress. Among the attendees were senior executives from BMW, Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, Mitsubishi and Tesla Motors.
The meeting comes on the heels of the recent auto defect crises involving the General Motors ignition switch and the Takata airbags. The failure to detect these serious defects resulted in major recalls and decreased consumer confidence. Much worse, together they resulted in the loss of more than 100 innocent lives.
Results of the Meeting
According to a General Motors spokesperson, the meeting was "productive,' and "in the best interest of overall vehicle safety." Most participants reported that they were looking forward to "continuing the dialogue." The auto executives who attended the meeting were encouraged to work more closely with the government on tackling safety issues and recalling defective cars more quickly and efficiently. They were also encouraged to bring new ideas and questions to the table at subsequent meetings.
Secretary Foxx said that this meeting was evidence of the automobile industry's ongoing "commitment to safety." If you are involved with an incident involving an auto defect or recall, be sure to contact an experience "Lemon Law" attorney to assist you in obtaining justice.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
This past year has been historic in terms of automobile recalls, and the numbers keep growing steadily. In November, both Tesla Motors
and Hyundai Motors
issued major recalls of certain models amid safety concerns, meaning significant expenses for the automakers as they are required by law to repair and replaced any recalled vehicle components. Moreover, automakers can still face liability in the event a driver or passenger in a recalled vehicle is injured while driving. This is where a competent attorney familiar with the consumer rights laws concerning automobiles is invaluable.
For Tesla, the problem involves potential dangers with the front seatbelt assemblies, which are obviously necessary to ensure the safety of both driver and passenger while the vehicle is in motion. More specifically, the company announced a worldwide recall of 90,000 Model S sedans, and stated that the expense of the recall was “immaterial.” The company issued its recall after a single complaint, which occurred when a European driver’s seatbelt came unhinged when he angled his body to talk with passengers in the backseat. Tesla stated that it has emailed Model S owners, directing them to bring the vehicle to one of 125 repair centers nationwide for inspection of a bolt that attaches the seatbelt mechanism to the floor of the vehicle.
Hyundai, on the other hand, is facing difficulties on the backend, and has recalled 305,000 Sonata sedans because of potentially defective brake lights. More specifically, the vehicle’s brake pad has a tendency to become worn, causing the plunger to stick to the brake pedal and the brake light to stay permanently illuminated. Hyundai officials are also concerned that the defect could cause problems with the safety feature that allows the vehicle to override the gas pedal to engage the brakes. However, no injuries or accidents have been reported thus far.
When your vehicle is recalled or when you are face with significant or recurrent repairs of a new vehicle, get in touch with a Lemon Law attorney
as soon as possible.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
I just bought a 2015 Jeep Cherokee, and I am already experiencing problems with the transmission system. Do I have any legal recourse?
When it comes to selecting a new car, the last thought on most buyers’ minds is avoiding a catastrophic, systemic transmission failure after just 3,000 miles. However, unfortunately, this is has proven to be a reality for a number of 2015 Jeep Cherokee purchasers – many of whom report a contemporaneous failure of the vehicle’s electrical system as well.
According to reports from several Jeep Cherokee owners – particularly the 2015 Trail Hawk model – vehicles with as little as 1,500 miles on the odometer are displaying a “check engine” light, shifting hard, stalling, and creating noticeable “thumping” noises within the chassis. These same owners, hoping to fix the problem quickly and continue down the road, are being met with difficult dealerships refusing to make timely, accurate repairs. Fortunately, New York and New Jersey Lemon Laws apply to this situation, and mandate that the dealer must take immediate corrective action on this type of problem – or face significant exposure to liability.
Lemon Laws apply to newly purchased or acquired automobiles that, despite several attempts at repair, are experiencing one or more major defects that impact drivability and safety. For vehicle owners in this situation, a Lemon Law attorney can help ensure the dealership understands and recognizes owners’ rights, including the right to a full refund of the purchase price – plus expenses (e.g., towing, repairs, inspection, etc.). Lemon Laws also protect consumers from wayward dealerships that attempt to circumvent these laws, since a dealer is not permitted to waive or disclaim the rights contained under these statutes.
In New Jersey, Lemon Laws
apply to any vehicle 2 years or newer or within its first 24,000 miles. In Pennsylvania, Lemon Laws
apply to vehicles within the first year or 12,000 miles.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
What are the reactions of Volkswagen owners and dealers to being deceived by a company they believed in?
Customers who have bought Volkswagens for the first time recently, and, even more, customers who have been loyal to the company for years, are expressing disappointment and outrage over the recent scandal in which Volkswagen has admitted to rigging its diesel engines to "fool" U.S. emissions tests.
One California owner, Bob Rand, purchased his Volkswagen Passat last year not only for its high gas mileage, but for its clean emissions. He feels totally duped by the auto company he had so much faith in, and is now trying desperately to unload his fully-loaded vehicle for $10,000 under what he paid for it. Even at such an exceptionally deflated price, he has been unable to sell it.
Rand, who plans to join a class-action lawsuit again Volkswagen, is appalled to find that a firm he had respected and recommended to others was "not above lying just flat out." According to him, "That’s probably about as bad a thing as a company can do is lie to your face when you’re buying a $35,000 car.” Rand is not alone in his anger. Customers all around the country are up in arms about the situation, experiencing financial loss and humiliation when their intention to purchase a car that was both efficient and good for the environment backfired.
Tension among private dealers, wholesalers and car owners across the country is rising quickly. Especially troubling is the fact that the Volkwagen defect was intentionally engineered, premeditated to trick consumers and dealers alike. Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, the leader of the largest auto retailer chain in the U.S., takes the position that many people had to have been involved in this dangerous trickery. "It's not a rogue employee," he states, "It's a systemic failure [that] took a lot of meetings...a lot of engineers ...a lot of software programmers...and went on for multiple years."
Meanwhile, dealers, as well as car owners, are deeply concerned. Although not all Volkswagens are affected with the emissions control problem, private dealers are worried not only about how to deal with a crowd of dissatisfied customers, but how to cope with the portion of their inventory that has become unsalable.
Cars that are defective at purchase have always been a costly and emotionally draining problem. If you are undergoing the stress of having purchased a lemon, please get in touch with a Lemon Law attorney as soon as possible.
Saturday, October 17, 2015
How many drivers convicted in car crashes can now blame the accidents on car defects?
A growing number of people convicted for their role in car crashes resulting in serious injuries or fatalities are now seeking vindication based on the defects of the cars they were driving at the time. One young woman, Lakisha Ward-Green, spent 3 months in jail after being convicted in an accident in which her teenaged passenger was killed. A Pennsylvania judge has now ruled that the General Motors car she was driving when the accident occurred was one of those later recalled by the company for its defective ignition switch. Her car was one of 2.6 million cars recalled with the problem.
Serious scandals involve other automobile manufacturers besides General Motors, including Toyota, and now, recently, Volkswagen. Many of the recalled cars have been on the road for as much as decade or more, so it is clear that there will be an increasing number of lawsuits against car companies, holding them responsible for undisclosed defects. Also, many cases in which drivers have been found guilty of reckless or negligent driving, some of whom may have already paid high fines, had their licenses suspended or revoked, or who may have spent, or may be spending, time in prison, may now have the option of challenging their convictions based on new evidence of defects in the cars they were driving.
Because of the time that has, in many cases, elapsed between the accident and the automobile recall, however, it may be difficult to reassess facts and assign responsibility to the car company, let alone assign damages. Still, experts feel that there will be an increasing number of cases involving wrongful convictions in the coming days.
If you believe that your automobile is a lemon, don't hesitate to contact a reputable lemon law attorney.
Saturday, October 10, 2015
Why did Martin Winterkorn resign as CEO of Volkswagen?
The scandal that has broken surrounding Volkswagen's rigging of automobiles to "fool" regulatory testing of emissions, has shaken confidence in the company and let down its customers. Volkswagen, the largest car company in the world, stands accused of using illegal means ("defeat device") via software to cheat on emissions tests, facilitating false readings of low emissions only during the tests themselves. This car emissions scandal affects 11 million diesel vehicles globally.
In response to the scandal, CEO Martin Winterkorn has resigned, requesting termination of his position as CEO of the Volkswagen Group from the Supervisory Board of the company. While Winterkorn has declared that he takes responsibility for the "irregularities" in the diesel engines, he states that he is "stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible" and "unaware of any wrong doing" on his part.
Winterkorn, who is 68 years old and has been CEO of the company since 2007, had recently had his CEO contract extended until 2018. The company's former chairman, Ferdinand Piech, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, the inventor of the Volkswagen Beetle, attempted to expel Winterkorn from his CEO position early in 2015, but Piech himself was forced to resign in April.
The executive board of Volkswagen has announced that it will present recommendations for Winterkorn's successor at its upcoming meeting of its supervisory board.
The Executive Committee is so far expressing complete support of Dr. Winterkorn, stating that they have "great respect" for his offer of resignation. They stand by his declaration that he "had no knowledge of the manipulation of emissions data" and express "respect for his willingness to nevertheless assume responsibility."
if you believe that your automobile is a lemon, don't hesitate to contact a reputable lemon law attorney today for a consultation.
Monday, September 14, 2015
What can I do if my brand new Jeep is leaking water and the dealership is refusing to fix the problem?
If you are the proud new owner of a Jeep and are experiencing water leakage issues, you are far from alone. Across the board, nearly every make of Jeep has reportedly caused its owner issues ranging from minor dampness to full-blown mold and permanent damage. Moreover, owners have reported a noted difficulty in successfully arranging a repair with the dealership, prompting many to turn to the services of an experienced and aggressive Lemon Law attorney to right this wrong.
According to widespread customer complaints, water leakage can occur through the windows, dome lights, doors and door handles. Consumers have also reported problems with hard- and soft-top convertibles and sunroofs -- and have even had damage occur to items in the trunk due to leakage through the tail lights.
Under New Jersey and Pennsylvania Lemon Laws, the manufacturer is required to either replace the vehicle or implement a full repair free of charge, provided the customer has requested a reasonable number of repairs to fix the problem (usually three). If the manufacturer still refuses to remedy the issue, despite repeated repair attempts, it may be time to launch a cause of action under the Lemon Law for damages suffered as a result of the obvious defect. In this event, consumers can receive a replacement vehicle (or the value of what they spent on the defective model), as well as reimbursement for incidental expenses incurred – including a rental vehicle or mechanical inspection.
Keep in mind that the Lemon Laws apply to new vehicles with defects apparent within one year of purchase – so do not delay if you sense a problem.
If you are experiencing water leakage issues with your Jeep, be sure to contact a reputable Lemon Law attorney.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
My manufacturer is telling me it is typical for my vehicle to consume excess oil between changes. Is this true?
Manufacturers and automotive experts alike have long since touted the proverbial 3,000-mile rule when it comes to the frequency of oil changes. For some models, drivers can get away with a 7,000- or 10,000-mile interval between changes – particularly if the model is newer and installed with an oil-efficient engine.
What is not normal, however, are the latest assertions by auto manufacturers that burning oil before the 3,000-mile mark is not considered a defect, and drivers should be prepared to top off their engines between changes. Unbelievably, drivers across the nation are receiving this answer from manufacturers when they bring in their new vehicles for service – and are rightfully demanding a second opinion on the issue.
In a report conducted by Consumer Reports, a significant number of new or near-new vehicles were in regular need of engine top-offs in between regular oil changes. More specifically, the engines in the following models seemed to be the most problematic for owners: the Audi A3, Audi A4, Audi A5, Audi A6, and Audi Q5; BMW 5, BMW 6, and BMW 7 series, and BMW X5; and Subaru Forester, Subaru Impreza, Subaru Legacy, and Subaru Outback.
Under New Jersey
and Pennsylvania Lemon Laws, a manufacturer must repair a major and material issue with a new vehicle, or compensate the owner with a replacement and incidental damages. However, owners experiencing excessive oil consumption are being met with push-back from manufacturers quick to blame the engine specifications and/or the owners’ driving habits. In some instances, the manufacturers are offering discounts on oil rather than replacing or repairing the engine as required by law.
If you are facing an issue involving your new vehicle's excessive oil consumption or are troubled by other Lemon Law issues, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced Lemon Law attorney.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
What are the options for Ford Fiesta owners experiencing transmission problems?
Under the Lemon Laws of both New York and New Jersey, consumers having recently purchased a problematic new vehicle may be able to seek damages and replacement costs directly from the manufacturer. They may also, in many cases, be able to retrieve attorneys’ fees and incidental damages. These laws, which help to supplement applicable consumer protection laws, are designed to protect purchasers from dishonesty should a manufacturer refuse to acknowledge known problems with its product. As many Lemon Law clients can attest, these laws also protect against placement of dangerous and deadly vehicles on the roadways, as is the case in the most recent transmission-related issue plaguing Ford due to its defective late model Fiesta product.
For one Pennsylvania couple, their Ford Fiesta has been nothing but trouble since they originally purchased it new in 2013. According to their recent Lemon Law lawsuit, the vehicle has had transmission difficulties almost from the outset, requiring four separate trips to the dealership for repairs. Eventually, the dealership stopped responded to their frequent calls, and even reneged on its promise to provide a rental car to the family during one of the lengthy periods they went without the vehicle. The owners claim that they have never felt safe driving the car, particularly in heavy traffic or on the interstate. Further, they claim that the car jerksabruptly and has difficulty accelerating when necessary.
Currently, there are approximately 31 formal complaints against the Ford Fiesta submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – nearly all of which involve faulty transmissions.
Under Pennsylvania’s Lemon Law, consumers are generally entitled to a refund and/or compensation if a new vehicle exhibits major problems and cannot be repaired despite a “reasonable” number of attempts – which has been interpreted as three or more appointments with the mechanic.
If you are struggling with a defective new vehicle and would like to discuss your rights, please contact an experienced Lemon Law attorney.
Monday, August 3, 2015
What kind of activity by a dealership could give rise to a New Jersey Lemon Law violation?
The New Jersey Lemon Law is designed to protect consumers from the unnecessary and inflated costs of constant vehicle repairs for a brand new automobile. In order to qualify for coverage under the law, a consumer must prove the following factors to be true:
When the above factors are met, a Lemon Law attorney can help the consumer pursue not only a refund of the price of the vehicle, but comprehensive damages to compensate for repairs, rental expenses, and any other costs incidental to the situation.
Under the Lemon Law, manufacturers are required to work with the consumer to try and rectify problems as quickly and efficiently as possible. In addition, New Jersey’s consumer protection laws also prevent dealerships from engaging in unscrupulous practices against car buyers.
Sometimes, however, dishonest dealerships and manufacturers engage in unfair and deceptive practices, including those recently alleged against two Sussex County outfits
accused of the following:
Whether you are facing unreasonable repairs, or believe you may have been assessed unnecessary or bogus fees by a dealership, you should contact a reputable Lemon Law attorney.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
What is the status of ongoing litigation against car manufacturers in the U.S.?
Carbon monoxide carries the dual-risk of being not only one of the most fatal gases to humans, but also one of the most undetectable. Accordingly, several New Jersey plaintiffs have launched a putative class action lawsuit against the Ford Motor Company following the detection of the gas within the vehicle while driving – an allegation the company has vehemently denied publicly, yet allegedly admitted to in private depositions.
The New Jersey class action
was filed in state court in May, 2015, and was removed to the federal court system on July 2, 2015. According to the complaint, the lawsuit involves 2011-2015 Ford Explorers, Edge and MKX models from 2011-2013 with 3.5L and 3.7L TIVCT engines.
Factual allegations against Ford
In a class action, there are generally a handful of plaintiffs chosen as “class representatives” – primarily because their allegations are virtually identical to those of the class as a whole. In this case, two representatives have been elected to spearhead the lawsuit following their noxious experience with at 2014 Ford Explorer. According to the complaint, Stephen Schondel and Linda King-Schondel of Middletown, New Jersey reported to the dealership on several occasions that the inside of the vehicle smelled of exhaust while driving. The dealership not only failed to repair the problem, but did not alert the couple of two prior safety warnings issued by Ford with regard to the possible carbon monoxide problem in select makes and models.
This is not the first carbon monoxide class action faced by Ford, and several other lawsuits are pending in Florida and elsewhere. According to the details of those proceedings, Ford asserts that such a relatively small number of drivers have experienced the problem, that it did not consider it a pressing safety issue. The company also allegedly admitted in a statement to the Better Business Bureau that it was unable to find a remedy for the problem.
These cases predominantly implicate the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Warrant Act, also known as the lemon law.
If you are having problems with a new vehicle and are unable to obtain help from the dealership, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced Lemon Law attorney.
Lemon Law News
Timothy J. Abeel & Associates, P.C. represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, cities include but are not limited to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, Newark, and Trenton.