Posts Tagged ‘vehicle safety defect’

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.

Toyota Details Plan to Comply with Lemon Law Requirements to Fix Acceleration Defect

Toyota has announced the list of vehicles involved in its largest recall ever recall for a safety defect causing unexpected acceleration attributed to floor mat jamming. The recall affects the 2007 to 2010 MY (model year) Camry, 2005 to 2010 MY Avalon, 2004 to 2009 MY Prius, 2005 to 2010 MY Tacoma, 2007 to 2010 MY Tundra, 2007 to 2010 MY ES350, 2006 to 2010 MY IS250, and 2006 to 2010 MY IS 350.

In their announcement, Toyota describes the proposed remedies as follows:
1. The shape of the accelerator pedal will be reconfigured to address the risk of floor mat entrapment, even when an older-design all-weather floor mat or other inappropriate floor mat is improperly attached, or is placed on top of another floor mat. For the ES350, Camry, and Avalon models involved, the shape of the floor surface underneath will also be reconfigured to increase the space between the accelerator pedal and the floor.

2. Vehicles with any genuine Toyota or Lexus accessory all-weather floor mat will be provided with newly-designed replacement driver- and front passenger-side all-weather floor mats.

An additional change includes the installation of a braking system that will cut power to the engine and override the acceleration if the accelerator and brake are pressed simultaneously in the Camry, Avalon and Lexus ES 350, IS350, and IS 250.

As required by the consumer lemon laws, Toyota will remedy the problem and begin sending out safety notifications and recall instructions to vehicle owners and dealerships. The first of these mailings commenced on October 30. Dealerships will receive the required training and be ready to modify existing brake pedals in early 2010. As new pedals are manufactured with a modified shape, owners will have the option of getting new pedals installed in their vehicles. The braking override will become standard equipment throughout all Toyota product lines starting in January 2010.

“Toyota needs to take swift action to address these serious safety defects,” says lemon law attorney David Gorberg. “Everyone is put at risk with any delay in taking the appropriate steps to remedy problems relating to the steering or braking of a vehicle.”

Owners with questions about the recall are asked to visit www.toyota.com or www.lexus.com or contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331 or Lexus Customer Assistance at 1-800-255-3987.

“Vehicle owners are entitled to have these issues fixed by the manufacturer under the lemon law. Toyota is wise to do so in the interest of customer safety and loyalty. Any owners of the vehicles on Toyota’s recall list should schedule repairs at their earliest convenience to prevent any potential injuries, ” recommends Gorberg.

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.