New York Lemon Laws and Motor Homes

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on February 11th, 2010

Motor Homes : New York Lemon Laws

New York lemon laws are some of the best in the country. Although many states’ lemon laws don’t cover motor homes, NY lemon law does cover the purchase of new motor homes. Still, establishing that your motor home is a lemon and is eligible for a lemon buyback can be tricky. That’s because, unlike most cars and trucks that are designed and assembled by a single auto manufacturer, motor homes often have component parts that are produced by a dozen or more manufacturers. Nailing down the right manufacturer for the defect can be more difficult than it appears.

According to NY lemon laws for new vehicles, if you’ve taken in your motor home for repair of the same problem on two different occasions, or if your motor home has been out of service because of the defect for 21 days, you need to notify the manufacturer. This notification is more than a phone call; the laws says that you need to notify the manufacturer in writing, using certified mail with a return receipt requested. You must do this before you can seek any remedy under NY lemon law.

Once you’ve sent your letter, your motor home has to undergo one additional repair attempt or be out of service for nine more days. In other words, the total number of repair attempts is three or the total number of days out of service is 30.

If you’ve complied with the notification requirements, you have two choices when bringing a claim under New York or NYC lemon laws. You can either enter into arbitration with the manufacturer, or you can sue the manufacturer in court. It’s important to keep in mind that, while it’s tempting to go the do-it-yourself route in arbitration, you’ll be in a much better position if you have a lemon law lawyer at your side and sue the manufacturer in court. Because NY lemon law says that the manufacturer must pay your attorney’s fees in successful actions, having an attorney represent you shouldn’t cost you any money. In fact, the legal team at lemonjustice.com is standing by, ready to help you get the relief you deserve for your lemon motor home.

Motor homes are supposed to be a safe haven, a place where you can hit the road in comfort and enjoy much-deserved downtime. If you have a lemon motor home, it’s important to stand up and assert your rights – something that will be much easier when you have a legal expert at your side.

With All Eyes on the Big Three, What About RVs?

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on December 15th, 2008

There’s been so much attention paid to a potential government bailout or bankruptcy of GM, Ford, and Chrysler that it’s easy to forget that the Big Three aren’t the only vehicle manufacturers in the country. Recently, the San Jose Mercury News published an AP story about the impact that the economy is having on the RV market. According to the article, there were over 390,000 RVs shipped in 2006. Compare that to this year’s projection of fewer than 250,000 RVs and a project for 2009 of 186,800 RVs.

This has had dire consequences for RV manufacturers, which are scrambling to come up with diesel-hybrid models that may have greater appeal. According to the article, Fleetwood “posted a $57 million quarterly loss and said it would close eight plants and lay off 760 workers.” But that may be just the beginning. The company has been trying to exchange stock to meet their debt obligations, and they are in danger of being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange because of undercapitalization. From a 52-week high of $6.85 per share, the company’s stock is currently trading at just 10 cents per share. If the company can’t repay its debt, Fleetwood’s next stop is bankruptcy court.

What I’ve written in posts relating to potential bankruptcy for Detroit automakers also holds true for RV manufacturers. If RV manufacturers go under, it will definitely impact RV owners’ warranties, and potentially their lemon law rights. How it will all play out is still murky, but anyone with a relatively new RV should pay attention to news coming of the RV industry.

Recall Roundup: RVs

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on September 24th, 2008

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

Tiffin is recalling certain recreational vehicles equipped with Norcold refrigerators. A fatigue failure in the section of the cooling unit which contains the refrigerant could allow the liquid solution to slowly leak. Extended operation of a leaking cooling unit could lead to a fire from gas which might escape. Tiffin is working with Norcold to repair these refrigerators. Norcold will provide thermal switch kits to owners along with the necessary forms and instructions. Owners may contact Norcold at 1-800-767-9101 or Tiffin at 1-256-356-8661.

But that’s not all….

Gulf Stream is recalling 99 MY 2006-2007 Crescendo, Yellowstone, Friendship and Tourmaster motor home chassis, and Newmar is recalling 274 MY 2005 Kountry Star Diesel Pusher, Northern Star Diesel Pusher, and MY 2006 Ventana Diesel Pusher motor homes built on Freightliner chassis. Specific inline power steering filters may become plugged, resulting in hose separation from the filter or steering gear fitting. This hose separation would result in loss of steering fluid and loss of power steering assist. Loss of power steering assist would effectively increase the steering effort required and could lead to loss of vehicle control. Newmar is working with Daimler Trucks to have the filters replaced with a larger filter. Owners may contact Daimler Trucks at 1-800-547-0712, Gulf Stream at 1-574-773-7761, or Newmar at 1-574-773-7791.

And there’s more…

Cavalier, Conquest, Crescendo, Emerald Bay, Endura, Friendship, Gulf Breeze, G-Force, Independence, Innsbruck, Kahuna Bay, Kingsport, Mako, Mini, Palm Breeze, Prairie Schooner, Scenic Cruiser, Seahawk, Sedona, Side Kick, Side Track, Stream-Lite, Sun Sport, Sun Voyager, Tourmaster, Track & Trail, Trailmaster, Ultra, Wide Open, and Yellowstone motor homes, fifth wheel and travel trailers equipped with a two-door refrigerator manufactured by the Dometic Corporation. The refrigerator may have a defect in the boiler tube. Pressurized coolant solution could be released into an area where an ignition source (gas flame) is present. Release of coolant under certain conditions could ignite and result in a fire. Gulf Stream is working with Dometic in order to repair these refrigerators (please see 08E032). Dometic will repair these refrigerators by installing a secondary burn housing, a thermal fuse, and a melt fuse free of charge. Dometic has retained Stericycle Inc. to manage this campaign. Stericycle will assist the owner in locating dealerships or service centers and will provide assistance with scheduling of appointments. Owners may contact Dometic/Stericycle at 1-888-446-5157 or Gulf Stream at 1-574-773-7761.

New York Lemon Law For RV – Notice Required!

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on June 19th, 2008

Many lemon laws and warranty laws, including those in New York,  require consumers to send formal notices to the manufacturer demanding relief.   This notice requirement is particularly relevant in New York Lemon Law and breach of warranty claims for recreational vehicles.

A recent Appellate case of Lindsay v. Colton highlights this point for consumers. In that case, Plaintiff sued Fleetwood, the manufacturer, and Colton Auto, Inc., the selling dealer, for claims dealing with non-conformities in the vehicle.  Plaintiff’s strongest claim against Fleetwood was under New York Lemon Law (General Business Law § 198-a), which provides for a refund of the full purchase price, payments, taxes and attorneys fees.  However, Section 198-a[n] of that law, which applies to RVs, requires the consumer to notify the manufacturer by certified mail once the vehicle has been in repair 3 times or in the shop for a total of 20 days in the first 18,000/2 years since purchase. 

Failing to send this notice was vitiated the consumer’s lemon law claim.  The trial court dismissed the lemon law claim, and the Appellate Court upheld the dismissal. The remaining claims fell by the wayside as well.  The lesson of this case is clear – consumers must be extremely careful to comply with the technical requirements imposed on them by lemon law statutes.