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Lemon Law Blog

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Takata air bag recall

Japan's Takata Corporation has finally conceded, after a decade, that its airbags are defective, and has recalled almost 34 million vehicles - that's 1 in 7 vehicles on American roadways.

Six deaths and 100 injuries have been linked to the problem of exploding airbags.

Unfortunately this massive recall puts consumers in a very dangerous position and an alarming waiting game.

Takata has to make 33.8 million replacement parts, and at current production rates, it would take about 2 1/2 years for Takata to do that on its own. And as we learned today, even getting confirmation on whether your car is impacted isn't easy.

Under this historic recall are many Hondas, but also vehicles from ten other top automakers.

Could yours be one of them?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has set up Safercar.gov so you can put in your VIN to see if your car's under the recall. But the agency says the site won't be fully up and running until next week!

The VINs have to come from the carmakers, and NHTSA doesn't even have most of the numbers from them yet.

Consumer Lemon Law attorney Timothy Abeel says, "Consumers should first call their dealership to see whether their vehicle is subject to that recall."

Action News tried calling and live chatting with a few local dealerships today. During our live chats, and at least one phone call, we were told someone from the service departments would get back to us, but we're still waiting for those calls.

One service representative at a local Toyota dealership confirmed that the dealership doesn't have repair or replacements parts, and he told me this recall has been "overblown by the media!"

The advice here? Keep on calling until you get someone willing to help you. And until your airbag is fixed or replaced, ask for a rental.

Abeel says, "The consumer should absolutely demand for the loaner car."

Experts we talked to today say whether to disable defective airbags is a question for your dealer or automaker.

There are a couple things that could help speed up the process of getting replacement parts.

Honda, Takata's largest customer, has lined up other companies to make replacement inflators. And Takata now says it is also working with other suppliers.

It also tells us today it has made 3.8-million replacement inflators so far - just a fraction of the nearly 34 million that are needed.

Read More.

Japan's Takata Corporation has finally conceded, after a decade, that its airbags are defective, and has recalled almost 34 million vehicles - that's 1 in 7 vehicles on American roadways.

Six deaths and 100 injuries have been linked to the problem of exploding airbags.

Unfortunately this massive recall puts consumers in a very dangerous position and an alarming waiting game.

Takata has to make 33.8 million replacement parts, and at current production rates, it would take about 2 1/2 years for Takata to do that on its own. And as we learned today, even getting confirmation on whether your car is impacted isn't easy.

Under this historic recall are many Hondas, but also vehicles from ten other top automakers.

Could yours be one of them?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has set up Safercar.gov so you can put in your VIN to see if your car's under the recall. But the agency says the site won't be fully up and running until next week!

The VINs have to come from the carmakers, and NHTSA doesn't even have most of the numbers from them yet.

Consumer Lemon Law attorney Timothy Abeel says, "Consumers should first call their dealership to see whether their vehicle is subject to that recall."

Action News tried calling and live chatting with a few local dealerships today. During our live chats, and at least one phone call, we were told someone from the service departments would get back to us, but we're still waiting for those calls.

One service representative at a local Toyota dealership confirmed that the dealership doesn't have repair or replacements parts, and he told me this recall has been "overblown by the media!"

The advice here? Keep on calling until you get someone willing to help you. And until your airbag is fixed or replaced, ask for a rental.

Abeel says, "The consumer should absolutely demand for the loaner car."

Experts we talked to today say whether to disable defective airbags is a question for your dealer or automaker.

There are a couple things that could help speed up the process of getting replacement parts.

Honda, Takata's largest customer, has lined up other companies to make replacement inflators. And Takata now says it is also working with other suppliers.

It also tells us today it has made 3.8-million replacement inflators so far - just a fraction of the nearly 34 million that are needed.
Japan's Takata Corporation has finally conceded, after a decade, that its airbags are defective, and has recalled almost 34 million vehicles - that's 1 in 7 vehicles on American roadways.

Six deaths and 100 injuries have been linked to the problem of exploding airbags.

Unfortunately this massive recall puts consumers in a very dangerous position and an alarming waiting game.

Takata has to make 33.8 million replacement parts, and at current production rates, it would take about 2 1/2 years for Takata to do that on its own. And as we learned today, even getting confirmation on whether your car is impacted isn't easy.

Under this historic recall are many Hondas, but also vehicles from ten other top automakers.

Could yours be one of them?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has set up Safercar.gov so you can put in your VIN to see if your car's under the recall. But the agency says the site won't be fully up and running until next week!

The VINs have to come from the carmakers, and NHTSA doesn't even have most of the numbers from them yet.

Consumer Lemon Law attorney Timothy Abeel says, "Consumers should first call their dealership to see whether their vehicle is subject to that recall."

Action News tried calling and live chatting with a few local dealerships today. During our live chats, and at least one phone call, we were told someone from the service departments would get back to us, but we're still waiting for those calls.

One service representative at a local Toyota dealership confirmed that the dealership doesn't have repair or replacements parts, and he told me this recall has been "overblown by the media!"

The advice here? Keep on calling until you get someone willing to help you. And until your airbag is fixed or replaced, ask for a rental.

Abeel says, "The consumer should absolutely demand for the loaner car."

Experts we talked to today say whether to disable defective airbags is a question for your dealer or automaker.

There are a couple things that could help speed up the process of getting replacement parts.

Honda, Takata's largest customer, has lined up other companies to make replacement inflators. And Takata now says it is also working with other suppliers.

It also tells us today it has made 3.8-million replacement inflators so far - just a fraction of the nearly 34 million that are needed.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Understanding Express and Implied Warranties When Used Car Shopping

I recently purchased a used vehicle in Pennsylvania after the dealer promised me that the parts were “like new.” One month later, the fuel system and transmission needed to be replaced. What can I do? 

Under Pennsylvania laws, buyers and sellers of used automobiles are typically bound by the language contained in the purchase agreement. During any sale for the purchase of goods, sellers often make promises – known as “express warranties” – that may be binding upon proof of the conversation. However, in most scenarios, it is difficult for parties to prove exactly what was said at the time of purchase – prompting most courts to rely solely on the written language in the agreement. 

Express warranties that are listed in the purchase agreement will be binding on the seller, regardless of what the he or she claims was said during the exchange. In this scenario, an express warranty guaranteeing “like new” parts will undoubtedly work in the favor of the buyer in the event of a breakdown shortly after purchase. If the warrant contains a time or mileage limit, this will control over any oral promises to contrary as well. 

One crucial component of a used car purchase agreement is the “as is” clause. Many times, car dealers make wild promises to entice the buyer to make a purchase, only to throw in an “as is” clause, preventing the buyer from making any claims for repairs after purchase. In many cases, buyers will be stuck with this clause, and will be required to make costly repairs themselves. However, if the buyer can prove that the seller somehow engaged in conduct to hide or diminish the “as is” clause during the transaction, the court may rule it unenforceable and require the seller to make necessary repairs. 

Lastly, a concept known as “implied warranties of merchantability” may apply to the situation, which warrants the vehicle is fit for its particular purpose (i.e., driving). If the purchase agreement is silent as to the implied warranties, the buyer may be able to sue for damages under this concept, unless the seller has disclaimed this warranty – which must be clearly stated on the purchase agreement in 20-point font and clearly affixed to the window of the vehicle. 

If you are facing a difficult situation following a recent used vehicle purchase, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced Lemon Law attorney today!


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Tougher Lemon Laws Needed?

Interesting discussion as to why Australia needs tougher lemon laws. If you can't watch the whole video start at the 5:42 mark for the most relevant portions: 

- Ford Focus

The Ford Focus's dual clutch transmission remains an embarrassment - but what is worse is the way Ford Focus owners are routinely, systematically brushed off by Ford Dealers.

- Ashton Wood's Jeep Cherokee

Mr Wood had no less that 22 critical defects in his $50,000 Jeep Cherokee. The first started on day one, and the last ended when he destroyed his Jeep very publicly as a publicity stunt to highlight the need for tougher lemon laws.

- Audi's 2.0 TFSI engine

When Audi mis-managed the design of the 2.0 TFSI engine to the extent that it drinks oil excessively, did they apologise and repair it? No - they merely said the vehicle's thirst was the new 'normal' and gave affected customers the brush


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Nissan Expanded Altima Recall

Is my Nissan safe to drive?

Nissan North America recently extended a recall of Nissan Altimas between model years 2013 and 2015. Initially the recall only affected about 220,000 vehicles, but now 625,000 cars have been recalled, and that number may continue to rise as Nissan continues to investigate the problem. The affected vehicles were manufactured between March 1, 2013 and December 31, 2014. Nissan tentatively reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that vehicles manufactured after December 31, 2014 were not affected.

The problem in these vehicles that prompted the recall is that the hood latch is faulty. When the hood release is activated from inside the car, the hood normally remains closed until the secondary latch is pushed manually. This safety feature is important to ensure that the hood is not opened while the car is running. If this were to happen, it would obstruct the driver’s view and create an incredibly dangerous driving condition. Depending on the speed of the driver, even if the faulty latch does not result in a collision, the hood, the windshield, or both could be damaged.

In the affected vehicles, the secondary hood latch could remain in the unlatched position when the hood is closed. The danger is that if the primary latch is released, the hood can open while the car is being driven.

Nissan reportedly was not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this hood latch issue.

 If your new vehicle has a defect and you have not been able to resolve the issue with the dealer, call a Lemon Law attorney today!


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Lemon Law Protection for Used Cars

Is There a Lemon Law That Covers Used Cars?

 

Pennsylvania and New Jersey Lemon Laws cover new vehicles. The federal Moss Magnuson Warranty Act gives rights to consumers purchasing items (tangible personal property normally used for personal, family or household purposes including used cars) that come with warranties. If that used car you bought came with a warranty, you may have some legal protections.

The law requires manufacturers and sellers of consumer products to provide consumers with detailed information about warranty coverage (including consumers’ rights and the obligations of sellers under written warranties). Armed with this information, consumers should know what to expect if the item breaks down and be able to be more easily compare warranties and better judge what they want to buy.

The law encourages sellers to promote their products based on warranty coverage with the hope this promotion and market competition may result in improved warranties. While the law makes it easier for purchasers to seek a remedy in the courts if the warranty is breached, sellers can set up a system for inexpensive and informal dispute resolution as a way to avoid litigation.

There are limits on the Magnuson Moss Act, including:

• Warranties are not required, but if one is offered, it must comply with the law.

• Only written warranties are covered, not oral warranties (verbal promises to cover repairs).

• Warranties on services are not covered, but if your warranty covers parts needed for a repair and the workmanship in making that repair, the law applies.

• The law does not apply to warranties for vehicles sold for commercial purposes, only consumer purchases.

If the warranty or the law is violated, consumers can sue as individuals or as part of a class action.  A violation can be the failure to honor a written warranty or any implied warranty created by state law or failing to follow requirements of the law or its regulations. If a seller is found to be in violation, "(d)amages and other legal and equitable relief" are available under the law and a successful consumer could be awarded attorney’s fees and costs but not punitive damages. 

If you purchased a used vehicle that came with a warranty and believe that warranty, or the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, has been violated, contact an experienced Lemon Law attorney today!


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Legislation Would Protect Consumers from Giving Up Their Right to Sue

Can a consumer who bought a defective automobile be required to waive the right to bring a lawsuit under the New Jersey Lemon Law?

All too often, consumer contracts make it hard for purchasers to bring an action for fraud, breach of contract or other wrongdoing by a seller. When buying a new or used automobile, consumers are sometimes required to waive their rights to file a lawsuit and instead must accept provisions forcing them to resolve disputes through arbitration.

A recent New Jersey bill would change that. The proposed amendment to the state's Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act would bar consumer contracts from limiting a consumer's right to sue without the consumer's permission. Among other rights that could not be waived or limited in a consumer contract under the proposed bill, consumers would retain their right to bring lawsuits under the New Jersey Lemon Law, the Consumer Fraud Act and other federal and state consumer protection statutes.

The new law would penalize stores and dealers that give consumers contracts that obligate the consumer to waive his or her legal rights. The contract could be deemed void and, in addition to damages and lawyers' fees, the violator would have to pay the consumer $100.

Business groups oppose the bill claiming that it violates the Federal Arbitration Act and is unenforceable. Pro-consumer groups, however, support the bill, noting the growing practice of car dealerships and other companies to force consumers into arbitration to settle claims over defective cars and "lemons." Consumers who are able to avoid arbitration and avail themselves of the New Jersey Lemon Law may get a more favorable outcome.

A skilled Lemon Law can successfully guide you through lemon law, breach of warranty and fraud cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Contact us today at (888)830-1474 to learn more.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Honda CR-V Vibration Problem Has the Potential for Lemon Law Claims

What type of problem can be the basis for a lemon law claim?

With the great advances in the automotive field, it is always hard to believe when there is a mass defect in a certain type of vehicle or part. Unfortunately, this happens more than we realize and affects some of the most widely purchased brands. For example, in the recent past, certain Toyota vehicles were defective in a way that made them accelerate on their own. This was very dangerous and led to multiple deaths. If a vehicle is defective, the consumer may have a lemon law claim, even if the defect is a widespread one affecting many different vehicles of the same make or model.

One of the world’s most popular automakers, Honda, is currently experiencing a widespread issue. Many consumers have complained that their new Honda CR-V is vibrating defectively. The complaints usually include claims that the car shakes and vibrates while it is idling and/or being driven. Some cases are more severe than others, with some customers claiming a mild annoyance and others citing a safety concern.

This vibration issue is affecting a lot of people and has been evidenced by traffic on Internet forums and formal complaints. Over ten grievances have been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), some claiming that the vehicle is unsafe as the vibration is distracting to the driver. While it is unclear what is actually causing the problem, a representative from Honda has expressed that the company does not believe that it is the engine, as other models utilize the same one. It seems more likely that it is the transmission, at least according to reports to the NHTSA. Honda is looking into the issue further.

Lemon laws vary from state to state. But, it is generally the case that if a defect makes a vehicle unsafe or causes it to be out of service for a certain period of time, that the lemon law applies and provides a remedy for the consumer. While it is unclear at this time whether the vibration issue causes the CR-V to be dangerous or impaired, Honda may be facing a slew of lemon lawsuits in the near future.

A skilled Lemon Law attorney can represent consumers with lemon law claims in the Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Trenton areas. If you think that your vehicle might be defective in some way, call a reputable Lemon Law attorney today!


Friday, February 20, 2015

GM and Goodyear Issuing Recalls Involving Tires

Is my Chevy SUV safe to drive?

Dangerous SUVs and defective tires have cost hundreds of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. The most infamous cases involved Ford SUVs and Firestone tires. These cases arose in the 1990s and early 2000s, but a new issue has come to light involving General Motors (GM) SUVs and Goodyear tires.

GM has told its dealers to stop selling nearly 6,300 of its 2015 Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave SUVs because of problems with tires that will be recalled by Goodyear in February. The tire company plans to recall 48,500 tires. About 32,100 of the tires went to GM's full-size crossovers; the rest are spare tires with the vehicles.

Goodyear states it is working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and GM on the issue. Once Goodyear issues its official recall, GM will also issue a recall for the affected vehicles. Until the recall is official, GM is stopping the sale of the affected vehicles that were sent to dealers with the tires in question. GM has not ceased production of the vehicles, but it is equipping all with other tires.

Goodyear plans to recall about 48,500 Fortera HL 18 inch tires, size P255/65R18 109S, manufactured from November 30 through January 10. Small cracks could appear in the tread, according to Goodyear, which found that a tire did not pass a routine endurance test. The company insists it is not a safety issue, and GM claims to have no reports of tire-related accidents or problems.

If you have a 2015 Chevy Traverse with these tires on them, Goodyear is telling consumers to replace the tires at any of their retail stores, authorized GM dealer or at their original point of purchase. The tires should be replaced for free with a similar tire. Goodyear's Customer Service is available to handle any questions.

If your new vehicle has defective tires or other parts, and you have not been able to resolve the issue with your dealer, contact a skilled Lemon Law attorney today!


Monday, January 19, 2015

Honda Violates Federal Safety Laws

Why Did Honda Pay $70 Million in Fines?

 

Earlier this year, Honda was found to have violated federal safety reporting rules.  As a result of having been found to have violated the law, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that Honda agreed to increase their oversight of safety issues, enhance a third-party audit system and pay two $35 million fines.

The fines are the maximum amount NHTSA can assess for safety reporting violations. The first fine concerns the company’s failure to report 1,729 death and injury claims to NHTSA from 2003 to 2014. Honda had disclosed the undercount in the past, stating its investigation discovered that it misunderstood what issues needed to be counted.  The second fine involves Honda's failing to report warranty claims and claims under "customer satisfaction campaigns." Honda quietly agreed to fix defects on cars during these “campaigns” even when they were beyond the warranty period, from 2003 to 2014.

NHTSA, which is part of the Department of Transportation, claims these fines show it is getting tougher on automakers. In May the agency gave General Motors (GM) a $35 million fine for late reporting on ignition switch defects in Chevrolet Cobalts. Millions of cars with potentially defective switches were recalled. GM is paying compensation to accident victims claiming they were injured as a result of the defect. The switches are also blamed for accidents causing 40 deaths, according to USA Today. 

Last year was a great one for the NHTSA, as the agency issued $126 million in civil penalties, which it says is a record. It claims the total exceeded all the fines and penalties collected by the agency in its prior 43 year history.

Whether you have a Honda, Chevy or other make of car that you feel is defective, call a lemon law attorney for a consultation today.  


Monday, January 5, 2015

Chevrolet Dealership Accused of Violating Lemon Law

When can a car dealership be held responsible for violating the lemon law?


It is no secret that car dealerships can be resistant to lemon law claims. Taking back a vehicle they have sold and returning the money paid for it is a less than ideal situation for these parties.  But, car dealers are bound by the lemon law of the state in which they operate and they must afford customers the appropriate accommodations if they claim that a vehicle is a lemon.

A Louisiana Chevy dealer has recently been accused of violating the lemon law.  Mite Meggs, Jr. and Corrine Meggs purchased a new 2014 Corvette from Lesson Chevrolet Company in 2013.  The couple agreed to a purchase price of $56,135, traded in a used car and financed the remaining portion of the cost.  Approximately 6 months later the vehicle began malfunctioning and the couple brought it into the dealer to be serviced.  The dealer informed them that the engine and transmission would need to be replaced.  The couple claims that at this point they came to an agreement with the dealer to trade in the car for a newer model with a different engine. But, when they received the car, which they had to pay extra for, that it had the same engine.  The Meggs claim that they then requested that the dealer refund the money they paid and allow them to return the car but that this request was denied.

The couple subsequently filed a lemon lawsuit against Lesson claiming that they had violated the Louisiana lemon law in that Lesson failed to accommodate them by repairing the vehicle or taking any other action required by law.  The Meggs have requested that the dealer return the payments they made on the car and the value of the vehicle they traded in as well as various other fees and costs that were incurred.

Although the above case relates to the State of Louisiana, every state has its own version of lemon and/or consumer protection laws.  If you have purchased or leased a vehicle and believe that it is a lemon, you should speak with a qualified attorney right away. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lemon Law Dispute Results in $500,000 Settlement

What are the consequences if a manufacturer or retailer does not follow the applicable lemon law?

Lemon law claims are not always as straightforward as one would like.  Sometimes, a small related issue can complicate a claim so much that a court must intervene.  This is exactly what happened in a recent case coming out of Wisconsin.  

In 2007, Paccar, Inc. sold a brand new Kenworth truck to James Michael Leasing Company for approximately $135,000.  James Michael used the truck for about 3,000 miles before discovering that is was defective and making a claim under Wisconsin’s lemon law.  Paccar agreed to repurchase the truck for $135,847 plus interest.  What Paccar refused to refund was a $53 title fee paid by James Michael.  The dispute over this fee intensified the conflict between the parties so much that Paccar attempted to refund James Michael less money by claiming that it was entitled to a use allowance.

James Michael brought a lawsuit in a Wisconsin court.  The state court awarded the company $369,196 in damages and another $157,697 in attorneys’ fees.  The award, totaling over $500,000, is nearly four times the original purchase price of the truck.  The case was appealed and recently the 7th Circuit Court affirmed the state court ruling.   The court found that under Wisconsin law Paccar had a duty to issue a refund within 30 days of either the amount requested by the consumer or an amount determined to be appropriate by the company.  They held that the dispute over the nominal title fee was not enough to excuse Paccar from its statutory duty and that assurance that it would issue the refund was not enough.  The court noted that the judgment was large but appropriate due to the fact that Wisconsin’s lemon law favors the consumer.  

If your vehicle is defective, you might think that it is a good idea to attempt to make a lemon law claim on your own.  This is not the case.  These cases can become complicated quickly and it is therefore important to have a seasoned advocate on your side.  If you live in or around the Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Trenton areas, contact an experienced lemon law attorney today!


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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.



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© 2016 Timothy Abeel & Associates, P.C. | Disclaimer
25 Regency Plaza, Glen Mills, PA 19342
| Phone: 888-830-1474
309 Fellowship Road, East Gate Center, Suite 200, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054

301 Grant Street, One Oxford Center, Suite 4300, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

101 Eisenhower Pkwy, Suite 300, Roseland, NJ 07068

About Us | Our Team | Do I Have A Case? | Auto Recalls

FacebookGoogle+TwitterYouTube

25 Regency Plaza, Glen Mills, PA 19342 | 309 Fellowship Road, East Gate Center, Suite 200, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054
301 Grant Street, One Oxford Center, Suite 4300, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 | 101 Eisenhower Pkwy, Suite 300, Roseland, NJ 07068
Phone: 888-830-1474

888.830.1474