Cars Up For Recall at the End of 2018
This year, like the prior two, has not been good for car makers facing extreme consequences of defects that qualify under lemon law protections. Some of the largest recalls now come from Ford and BMW, while in recent months, Kia and Hyundai have faced scrutiny. Lemon law attorneys are frequently at the forefront of these movements, trying to collect reports to bolster their clients’ claims.
BMW, Ford and Toyota Recalls
BMW and Ford are both facing issue. More than 50,000 diesel BMWs could catch fire. Certain trims of the 2012-2018 Ford Focus can stall in the middle of driving because of a fuel pickup issue.
Toyota has two recalls: one for 807,000 Toyota Priuses that had been subject to a prior recall. Now, there’s the risk that they’ll stall unexpectedly. 2018 Toyota Tundra and Sequoias may not have their airbags inflate. 2019 Tundras and Sequoias along with 2019 Avalons are affected.
The Takata (an automotive supplier) airbag recalls are just one recent example of automakers needing to comply pre-emptively with lemon law attorneys and their clients prior to actual litigation. There are also ongoing concerns about the Hyundai/Kia family of vehicles that have led to engine fires in the 2011-2014 Kia Sorento, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Santa Fe, and 2010-2015 Kia Soul.
One consumer watchdog is urging a recall to protect consumers and their rights beyond what has already been done by lemon law attorneys. They’ve compiled evidence of more than 200 engine fires.
California leads the country in consumer protection litigation, and its lemon law and the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act are there to help car owners who think that their vehicle was defective.
The 1970 statute allows for a presumption of a car being considered a lemon if, after 18,000 miles or a year and a half of ownership, even if they were not the first owner:
1) Two repairs have failed to remedy a life-threatening defect;
2) Four repairs have been made on any part covered by the warranty;
3) For 30 days, not necessarily in a row, the car has been unusable by the driver
While the consumer is still responsible for notifying the manufacture, this is often covered by having the repair work done at the dealership.
What Issues Can Arise
The manufacturer can dispute the lemon classification by arguing that the problems are minor or don’t substantially impact the value of your car, truck or SUV. In addition, most manufacturers participate in the Department of Consumer Affairs-certified arbitration program. The arbitrators are not state employees, but they do follow guidelines. You must participate in a hearing before you can pursue legal remedies, although you can also accept the arbitrator’s decision if it seems reasonable.
Defective vehicles can be a safety hazard or just make life miserable. However, there are certain requirements before you may have a claim under lemon law. The main criteria are the following:
- Must Be Covered By An Express Warranty – It’s important to review the fine print on your warranty. Certain parts, like brake pads and clutches, may not be covered by the manufacturer because they wear down over time.
- May Violate Federal or State Laws – The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act covers basically all vehicles and is the primary statute cited in major lemon law claims. If the warranty coverage seems unfair, a lawyer may be able to help remedy the situation.
- Must Have Attempted Repairs – The manufacturer might not be able to repair your car, truck or SUV, but you have to at least let them try to comply with lemon law. By doing so, it may fix the problem, but at least notifies the manufacturer of the issues you’ve been having.
If your situation meets those three criteria, you should be able to receive either a refund or a replacement from the manufacturer, but legal representation could also be necessary if things get difficult with the car maker.