Posts Tagged ‘Lemon Law’

Does the Lemon Law Apply to My Wife?

 

Each year 1-800-MY-LEMON, receives thousands of requests for lemon law help. The vast majority of the requests are for defective cars, however occasionally we do receive some very unusual inquires, like this request for help with a defective wife!

 

This letter from Dr. Anthony, a retired doctor, and he wanted to know if our firm could assist him in filing a Pennsylvania lemon law claim for his wife, and obtain a full refund.

Unfortunately for the Doctor, and many others in his position, a full refund is not a possibility. The only laws we are aware of regarding the return of a wife or husband (better known as a divorce), results in a substantial early termination penalty in the form of child support, alimony, equitable distribution and of course attorney fees!

We wish the good doctor the best of luck and recommend him to seek the advice of a divorce attorney or just buy some flowers for your wife.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Emergency Vehicles Added Under the New Jersey Lemon Law

February 19, 2010 – A new bill passed to cover emergency vehicles under the New Jersey lemon law protection, including ambulances, fire trucks, police cars and other vehicles. The changes outline conditions for company reimbursement or replacements of emergency vehicles.

It all started when Doug Fenichel, APR, a volunteer emergency medical technician with Flanders (NJ) Fire Company and Rescue Squad, found himself treating a cardiac patient in the back of an ambulance that had broken down.

After a closer look, he discovered that the ambulance had a number of engine problems, and the vehicle had been to Ford dealers multiple times for the same engine problem.

Fenichel notified the 24th District legislators, and a bill was unanimously passed in December 2009.

The stipulations include:

  • Manufacturers of new vehicles are required to correct defects that are originally covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • It applies to new vehicles that develop repeated defects or unusable periods during either the first two years or 18,000 miles.
  • A new vehicle is considered a lemon if it has one or more defects that continue to exist after three attempts at repairs, or after the vehicle has been out of service for a total of 20 cumulative calendar days.

“It is a significant matter of public safety to include emergency vehicles under lemon law protection,” says lemon law attorney David Gorberg. “Taxpayers should benefit greatly from the expansion of the current lemon law, while emergency vehicle manufacturers should be held accountable for their product.”

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. More information at www.mylemon.com or by calling 1-800-MyLemon.

Technical Service Bulletins Not Paid for Under Lemon Law

Technical Service Bulletins are recommendations issued by vehicle manufacturers to the mechanics who work on them. They indicate the common causes of problems that might be reported for certain vehicles. It’s easy for consumers to become confused between Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) and Recalls, as both involve written communication about vehicle repair issues, but recalls are specific to vehicle problems associated with safety, as determined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Vehicle recalls are repaired at no cost to the vehicle owner under lemon law statutes, while owners are usually required to pay for repairs that are described by a Technical Service Bulletin unless its covered under warranty.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) posts information about service bulletins, safety recalls, and defect investigations on their website, www.nhtsa.gov, including a way to search for bulletins or recalls by make and model. The site also reports crash and rollover ratings, child car seat rating and recalls, current legislation under consideration, and studies related to vehicle and driver safety.

“It’s good for consumers to develop awareness about the service issues relating to their specific vehicles, and to be proactive in learning about safety recalls for their make and model,” says Pennsylvania Lemon Law attorney David Gorberg. “Awareness and prevention on the part of the consumer can mean the difference between identifying a potentially disruptive or even dangerous issue with your vehicle before it becomes a problem and finding out after an accident or loss of vehicle use.”

Toyota Issues 2nd Major Recall in Compliance with Lemon Law

In a second, major recall event, Toyota announced its voluntary safety recall to address sticking accelerator pedals. This recall affects over 2 million vehicles of the following models: 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra, and 2008-2010 Sequoia. Owners of these vehicles can expect notifications explaining how to contact their dealer for recall servicing.

The issue of sticking accelerator pedals has been under investigation and a matter of concern since reports of sticking accelerator pedals have been linked to high-speed crashes and fatalities.

‘In recent months, Toyota has investigated isolated reports of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms in certain vehicles without the presence of floor mats,” said TMS Group Vice President Irv Miller. “Our investigation indicates that there is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, in rare instances, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position. Consistent with our commitment to the safety of our cars and our customers, we have initiated this voluntary recall action.’

Toyota reports that the rare condition is attributed to worn pedal mechanisms that can cause the pedal to be slow to return to its normal position or even stuck in a partially depressed position.

Toyota advises owners who experience problems with a sticking accelerator pedal to apply firm, steady pressure without any pumping of the brakes and to park in the nearest safe location, turn the engine off, and contact a Toyota dealer for assistance. The investigation into unintended acceleration is ongoing to identify any other common causes that might be associated with the issue.

Owners who have experienced injury or the loss of use of their vehicle from a sticking accelerator pedal should contact a lemon law professional in their state to see what remedies are available.

“Anyone who has experienced injury or loss of vehicle use due to a sticking accelerator pedal vehicles safety defect should contact a qualified attorney who is experienced handling lemon law cases.” recommends lemon law attorney David Gorberg. “Lemon laws can vary greatly from state to state. New Jersey lemon law stipulates that just a single incident can qualify a vehicle as a lemon when it involves a potential serious safety issue. Other state laws, like Pennsylvania lemon law, may allow a dealer up to 3 attempts to repair the problem before a vehicle is designated a lemon.”

New National System to Satisfy 17 Year Old Vehicle Lemon Law

As the New Year was ringing in a new decade, a new federal system to track vehicle titles for stolen and badly damaged vehicles finally emerged – 17 years after the initial lemon laws calling for its implementation were passed. Use of the new National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, http://www.nmvtis.gov, allows all states, junkyards, and insurance companies to identify stolen vehicles and those damaged severely enough to be considered an insurance write off. Many consumers believe that any vehicle considered “totaled” in an accident is simply scraped for parts. The reality is that of the 2.5 million vehicles written off each year, nearly 1.5 million are repaired and put back on the road, according to the data from a 2001 Department of Justice study.

The national system may prevent the transfer of damaged vehicles to new states to wipe out a salvaged title, since registration in a new state wipes the title history clean. An estimated $4 billion to $11 billion is lost from such fraud annually. The required use of the new national system would make it much easier for potential buyers to trace a vehicle’s full history.

Most states, including New Jersey and Philadelphia, are participating in the program. Four states, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, and the District of Columbia are not yet committed to participation, pointing to private services such as CarFax that satisfy this need. The president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety maintain that the new system includes more information than the private services. For example, vehicles written off by insurance companies are not always marked as ‘salvage’. The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System tracks all vehicles that are written off for damage, not just those with ‘salvage’ on the title.

“The new national system of tracking damaged vehicles across state lines is critical for informing consumers and protecting their safety and investment,” says lemon law attorney David Gorberg. “In addition to the recent improvements in New Jersey lemon law, and the existing Pennsylvania lemon law, participation by these states in the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System protects consumers from unknowingly purchasing a badly damaged vehicle.”

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. More information at www.mylemon.com or by calling 1-800-MyLemon.

Can Toyota Recall Stave Off Future Lemon Law Claims?

Toyota has taken proactive measures to address safety concerns with a poor combination of floor mats and pedal position causing problems with braking and acceleration. The voluntary recall has been issued by the manufacturer across many models, including the Prius, Camry, Avalon, Tacoma, and Tundra. Reports of sudden acceleration possibly resulting from complications of floor mat jamming have prompted Toyota to issue its most widespread recall ever. A Tennessee family filed a $10 million lawsuit against Toyota from the death of Dustin Ricardo after his 2007 Toyota Camry crashed into a tree from sudden unexpected acceleration. Toyota has issued a floor mat advisory describing the issue.

The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the authority to force recalls of safety-related defects, but in this case, Toyota has taken the initiative to issue the recalls voluntarily. Differences between Toyota’s and NHTSA perspective on the cause of the defect remain in dispute. Lemon law requires manufacturers to offer a replacement vehicle or refund for defects that significantly impair use, value, or safety of a vehicle. Lemon law claims are constrained by mileage and time limits that differ from state to state. New Jersey’s lemon law allows cars to be classified as lemons after a single failure of a critical safety function such as steering or braking. Pennsylvania’s lemon law requires three repair attempts.

Toyota dealers are still waiting for the complete list of vehicles and VIN numbers affected by the recall and are expecting this information within the next week. Toyota is responsible for notifying dealerships and owners of eligible vehicles and footing the bill for repairs. Owners who have had defects repaired already may qualify for reimbursement.

Toyota needs to address these safety concerns as swiftly and comprehensively as possible. These types of safety defects warrant compensation under the lemon law, and it’s in the best interest of Toyota’s ongoing relationship with their customers to address these issues head on. Any owners of vehicles on Toyota’s recall list should schedule repairs at their earliest convenience.

For owners of vehicles who have already suffered an accident or a loss of use of their vehicle due to a safety defect, recourse may be available under state lemon law guidelines.

Lemon laws can vary greatly from state to state. Anyone affected by a vehicle safety defect should contact a qualified attorney who is experienced handling lemon law cases within the same state that the owner resides in. Safety issues with any vehicle need to be taken seriously. Many lemon law firms offer free lemon law case evaluations and get paid directly from the manufacturer so there is no cost to the vehicle owner.

Car Dealership Faces License Review from Lemon Law and Overstocking Complaints

A car dealership is facing license review due to multiple complaints of poor business practices, including selling vehicles with dangerous mechanical problems and exceeding the number of vehicles allowed on the lot at one time.

Repeated investigations of Griffin Powers’ dealership in Bellingham, MA reported that the dealership was keeping more cars in inventory than its 44-car limit. The owner attributed to the higher number of people selling their vehicles for cash. Powers did have the inventory within his license guidelines during a September 2009 inspection.

Of greater concern though, have been multiple complaints related to serious mechanical problems. One customer who bought a used BMW complained that the front left wheel came off the car on the Interstate only 2 days after purchase. The dealership did not follow through with a reimbursement for repairs and after the car broke down again, the customer gave up on putting more time and money into the vehicle.

Normally business license renewals are straightforward and without issue. But when Powers met with the board in charge of license renewals, the number of complaints exceeded other businesses according to board Chairwoman Dawn Davies. While some of the complaints were addressed at the meeting, the board exercised their option to postpone their decision on the license renewal until December. Several receipts were presented for buy backs for customers requesting to return their vehicle under the lemon law, but many other complaints were lacking proof of resolution.

Under most state lemon laws, car dealerships are required to make it clear when a vehicle has been purchased as a buy back, or lemon. An audit in Massachusetts recently revealed a high percentage of dealerships who failed to put notices on vehicles that were buy backs. A recent Wisconsin dealership was forced to pay $93,000 to compensate consumers who had bought buyback vehicles without being forewarned. Some states have increased consumer protection, allow a vehicle to be deemed a lemon after only a single incident involving a life-threatening failure of a steering or braking system. New Jersey Lemon Law is one example of improvements in consumer protection.

Many states are realizing that protecting their consumers is especially important in this economy, when consumers have less to spend and are putting more at risk for large, important purchases. Besides a house, a vehicle can be the most expensive purchase most people make. You have to know you’re protected when things go wrong. If you are worried about the safety of a vehicle you recently purchased, don’t wait; contact an experienced lemon law attorney in your state.

Lemon Law Protection and Awareness Improving in NJ and MA

Some states are tackling lemon law protection for their residents head on. While federal law dictates some standard measures of consumer protection for vehicle buyers, such as an odometer disclosure and a window sticker indicating if a car is being sold as is or with a warranty, each state has very different policies for protecting consumers under the lemon law.

Massachusetts Lemon Laws require the placement of a bright yellow sticker in the window to notify consumers of their lemon law rights. Last week, a recent study by the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation of over 1900 new and used cars for sale at dealerships found many cars missing the required lemon law notification sticker in the window. Of the new cars for sale, 25% were missing the sticker. For used cars, nearly 1/2 were missing the sticker. Only 8 car dealerships of the 73 reviewed were in full compliance of the state lemon law.
“It’s very encouraging to see some states improving protection for consumers with defective vehicles and bringing awareness to dealerships that they need to comply with the lemon laws in their states if they want the trust of their customers”

An improved New Jersey lemon law signed last month expands the protection for consumers who encounter problems with their new vehicle from 18,000 miles to 24,000 miles. Under the old law, a consumer had to wait until the manufacturers made 3 repair attempts. Now, any unresolved defect that could cause serious injury or death can qualify a car as a lemon after only 1 repair attempt.

“It’s very encouraging to see some states improving protection for consumers with defective vehicles and bringing awareness to dealerships that they need to comply with the lemon laws in their states if they want the trust of their customers”, said leading lemon law attorney David J. Gorberg. “We’d like to see other states following the example of New Jersey and Massachusetts by stepping up lemon law protection and awareness of lemon law rights.”

Some states have a longer way to go. Pennsylvania lemon law ranks lower in lemon law protection than many states, with protection only up to 12,000 miles or one year. Pennsylvania requires 3 repair attempts before the consumer is entitled to a new car or full refund. These repairs must be performed by an authorized dealer, otherwise the consumer is not covered.

In states with active state agencies and consumer groups, dealerships are coming to realize that their compliance with state lemon laws could earn or lose the trust of their customers. This direct translation to the bottom line is good news for the driver looking for reliability and a good response when things go wrong.

David J. Gorberg & Associates, The Lemon Law Attorneys, has arbitrated, settled and litigated thousands of lemon law claims to date, throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, recovering millions of dollars for it’s clients.

Changes to New Jersey Lemon Law – New and Improved!

As reported in PolitikerNJ.com, Gov. Jon S. Corzine has signed into law a new and improved New Jersey Lemon Law. Thanks to Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey, the changes to the New Jersey Lemon Law enhance consumer protections and provides greater rights to owners of cars throughout New Jersey.

Under the old New Jersey Lemon Law, owners of defective cars in New Jersey were only covered if their vehicle was found to have non repairable defects, which could not repaired after 3 repair attempts within the first 18,000 miles or two years of operation, whichever comes first.

The changes to the lemon law now expand the coverage to 24,000 miles, instead of 18,000. In addition to the expansion of the mileage, the law also creates a distinction between the types of manufacturer’s defects covered under the Lemon Law.

Consumers who purchase a vehicle with a serious defect – one that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven – are now able to declare the vehicle a lemon if the problem cannot be corrected after a single repair attempt.

All other types of flaws, continue to constitute a lemon only after three or more failed repair attempts

1-800-MY-LEMON, David J. Gorberg & Associates, Pennsylvania and New Jersey’s premier lemon law firm, congratulate the state of New Jersey and, Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey, for Protecting Consumers Rights with the changes to the New Jersey lemon law.