Archive for March, 2010

Wisconsin Court Orders Mercedes-Benz to Pay Large Fines Due to Lemon Law Statutes

A judge has ordered Mercedes-Benz USA LLC to pay $482,000 in damages and legal fees to a Wisconsin customer who was sold a defective car and not given a refund on time. The conflict had been ongoing for four years and remains one of the largest cases involving a single car under a state lemon law.

Car owner Marco Marquez, a 37-year-old businessman from Waukesha, purchased the E 320 for $56,000 from a Milwaukee dealership in 2005. Almost immediately, the car often would not start, and despite replacing the battery, the problem continued. After several repair attempts, the dealership said the problem could not be fixed.

Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman Donna Boland said the company, a unit of the German car maker Daimler AG, is disappointed the judge overturned an earlier verdict in favor of the company. On Friday, the company’s lawyer asked the court to put the judgment on hold pending an appeal.

Marquez hired a lawyer who sent the company a refund demand in October 2005. The company agreed to the refund, but failed to provide one within 30 days. On the 31st day, Marquez’s lemon lawyer filed the lawsuit on behalf of Marquez seeking double damages and attorneys’ fees.

Mercedes-Benz acknowledged the car was defective, but accused Marquez of acting in bad faith.The company says an employee asked Marquez for information about his auto loan on the 30th day so the refund could be granted, but Marquez failed to follow through. Marquez’s lawyer claims Mercedes-Benz had the information it needed for the refund but was stalling.

A judge ruled in Marquez’s favor in 2007, awarding $202,000 in damages and legal fees. But an appeals court in 2008 overturned that decision and ordered additional proceedings, saying a jury should decide whether Marquez intentionally prevented the company from giving the refund on time.

A jury sided with the company last year, agreeing Marquez acted in bad faith. But in a rare move, Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren overturned the verdict, saying it was not backed up by evidence. He ruled in Marquez’s favor, citing a clear “lack of urgency” by Mercedes-Benz to refund his money.

In the meantime, Marquez has continued to drive the vehicle in question, which now has 56,000 miles. He said it was back in the shop for repairs twice last year but has been drivable.

If you find yourself in a similar situation with a lemon car, call us for more information about your Pennsylvania Lemon Law and New Jersey Lemon Law rights at 1-800-MY-LEMON (1-800-695-3666).

The Lemon Law Attorneys at David J. Gorberg & Associates have arbitrated, settled and litigated thousands of lemon law claims throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, recovering millions of dollars for their clients. Find more information at www.mylemon.com or call 1-800-MyLemon.

Source: The Associated Press

Avoid Buying A Lemon Car & Know Your Lemon Law Rights

Calling all cautious consumers – some proactive methods practiced while seeking and before purchasing a car can save buyers the hassle of finding out they own lemon cars after the fact.

  • Research manufacturers and dealer websites to find the specifications and models of desired cars. Check consumer safety and protection agencies, like the Center for Auto Safety (CAS). Fortunately, all motor vehicles used for primarily personal use are covered under the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Lemon Law.
  • After selecting a model and make, search for the right dealer with a good profile. This is a vital step in avoiding buying a lemon car.
  • If buying a used car, don’t purchase it without a thorough check by the mechanic first. It may be worth spending money on the car before buying it to avoid a much greater amount on fixing it up after it is purchased.
  • Check the financing terms being offered by the dealer and compare them with other financing companies.
  • When buying a used car, always make sure that the vehicle is covered by a road worthiness certificate or a warranty.

Knowing your lemon rights can significantly help you track the information needed if you do purchase a lemon car. MyLemon.com’s lemon law attorneys recommend that all vehicle owners:

  • Maintain a Complete Vehicle Record – Documenting your various attempts at fixing a particular defect is extremely important for your lemon law case. Never leave the dealer or manufacturer without a detailed statement of what was done to the vehicle, as well as any charges that may have been included.
  • Inquire about TSBs – When an automobile manufacturer discovers a defect or repair for a certain model of automobile, they send instructions to alert dealerships using what is known as TSBs. Make sure that the dealer representative who you are dealing with writes down your TSB request on the repair order.
  • Be Assertive – If you are having problems getting the problem properly fixed, ask to speak with the manager or a higher up to address your problem and concerns.
  • Be Wary of Certain Statements – The dealership may have something to gain by accusing the driver or owner of the vehicle of being responsible for the defect. This is often done because the dealership is unable to fix the problem.

If you think you have purchased a lemon car, check the New Jersey or Pennsylvania lemon law, and consult a lemon law attorney for your next steps.

The Lemon Law Attorneys at David J. Gorberg & Associates have arbitrated, settled and litigated thousands of lemon law claims throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, recovering millions of dollars for their clients. Find more information at www.mylemon.com or call 1-800-MyLemon.

Toyota Sudden Acceleration – Lemon Law Rights

1-800-MY-LEMON, The Lemon Law Lawyers, have received many phone calls from Toyota owners requesting lemon law information about the sudden acceleration problem and recalls of the floor mats as well as gas pedal.

Toyota first acknowledged that there was a problem with its vehicles in September of 2009 when it warned its customers to remove the floor mats from certain models. They claimed that the floor mats may have been trapping the accelerator in the depressed position. Finally acknowledging that there was a defect in its vehicles, Toyota recalled 3.8 million vehicles in October of 2009 and millions more in November of 2009. On January 21, 2010, Toyota announced a recall of another 2.3 million vehicles, this time claiming that the vehicles had a potentially defective accelerator. Days later, Toyota stopped the production and sales for several models with gas pedal problems.

The following Toyota vehicles are affected by the most recent accelerator pedal recall:

• 2009-2010 RAV4;
• 2009-2010 Corolla;
• 2009-2010 Matrix;
• 2005-2010 Avalon;
• 2007-2010 Camry;
• 2010 Highlander;
• 2007-2010 Tundra;
• 2008-2010 Sequoia,

Clearly, there is an overlap with the recall of the vehicles with floor mat problems recognized in the fall of 2009 and that of the accelerator defect in 2010. It is unknown whether Toyota’s recall for the floor mat problem was in fact a result of faulty analysis; that the real problem was the defective accelerator. In any event, Toyota has been aware of sudden acceleration problems with their vehicles for years. If you are driving a Toyota and have experienced acceleration problems, please call us for more information about your Pennsylvania Lemon Law and New Jersey Lemon Law rights at 1-800-MY-LEMON
(1-800-695-3666).