Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Mercedes Lemon Law Verdict

Posted by sally on June 11th, 2012

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld what is the largest lemon law award in the state’s history. The case revolved around a consumer who sued Mercedes-Benz for a lemon E 320 sedan. A court ruled in the consumer’s favor, but an appellate court reversed the decision. The case when to trial and the jury found in favor of the consumer, who was later awarded $482,000. After yet another appeal, the Supreme Court took the case.

According to the Journal Sentinel report, “The carmaker argued it tried to provide a refund within the 30 days allowed by the Lemon Law, but that Marquez stalled in order to trigger the double damages and attorney fees allowed if a manufacturer doesn’t meet the deadline.” The Supreme Court rejected that argument, saying that the manufacturer had the burden of proving that the consumer intentionally prevented the refund within the 30-day timeframe.

When a Lemon Law Can’t Help You

Posted by sally on March 29th, 2012

Thanks to our friends at Console & Hollawell for this guest blog post.

Ineligible Car Defects

Lemon law regulations don’t cover all vehicle defects – only defects that affect the vehicle’s market value or safety, or that substantially impair use. Additionally, if you believe auto-accident injuries you sustained are the result of manufacturer defect, seeking the services of skilled car accident attorneys in Cherry Hill is essential to uphold your rights.

Laws also assume a manufacturer has a reasonable amount of time – usually 30 days – to repair the vehicle before you can invoke your state’s lemon law. Even if the manufacturer can’t repair the vehicle, the company has the option of providing you with a new car or refunding the purchase price. If the manufacturer selects the latter, you’re going without wheels.

Buyer’s Remorse

Simply hating your new car purchase or wishing you hadn’t spent so much money isn’t a valid reason to invoke a state lemon law. What you’re experiencing is buyer’s remorse. While most states have laws providing consumers with a 72-hour window to return product purchases, automobiles are usually exempt from those rules. Accepting your vehicle as a return is at the discretion of the dealership and most don’t want to retake the inventory. Your best hope is to keep the car in good condition and trade in the vehicle at a later date. Don’t crash your vehicle as a means to get rid of it. You may sustain serious injuries and destroy your vehicle, leaving you with an auto loan to repay and no car.

Mileage Limits

Once your vehicle passes a certain mileage limit, lemon laws in your state no longer apply. For example, in Pennsylvania, any mechanical problem occurring with a vehicle after you drive it 12,000 miles falls under normal wear and tear. Vehicle repairs under state lemon laws can occur after the 12,000-mile benchmark as long as the problem occurred before the benchmark expired.

Used Cars

If you bought a used car, some state’s lemon laws can help you with inherited defects, but other states don’t have used car lemon laws. When that’s the case, you can file a claim under an existing warranty if your vehicle has any coverage remaining. Otherwise, you should assume you’re accepting the vehicle in an “as is” condition. Have a prospective car purchase thoroughly examined by a trusted mechanic before you spend any money.

Suffering injuries in a car accident caused by manufacturer negligence may entitle you to seek damages from the automaker. Compensation can help you replace lost income or pay rising medical costs relating to your injuries and continuing medical care.

Important Lessons about Buying a Used Car

Posted by sally on March 29th, 2012

The Hartford Courant ran a great story about a local FOX News investigation into a young woman’s bad experience in buying a used car. The 18-year-old purchased a 1996 Corsica for around $1,000, only to find that it wasn’t road-worthy. Although the vehicle failed its Massachusetts state inspection, and although the used car dealer had 17 DMV complaints filed against him, he’s still in business. He did, however, refund the buyer’s money.

The article also has excellent tips on what to do when considering the purchase of a used car, including checking the vehicle’s history, having a mechanic check it out, researching the car’s value, and asking for service records.

California Consumers Get Additional Used Car Protections

Posted by sally on October 21st, 2011

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed AB 1215 into law. The new law, which takes effect in July 2012, mandates that both new and used car dealers run their used cars through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System to check for problems, and place a warning sticker on used cars with a shady past. According to the New York Times, the national database was created as a repository for information about vehicles deemed unsalvageable because of flood, fire, or crash damage. The bill’s proponents argued that the national registry, which is supplied information by insurance companies, salvage yards, and junkyards, is more comprehensive than commercial services like Carfax. The law is the first of its kind in the nation, and will hopefully afford consumers an additional layer of protection when purchasing a used vehicle.

Financial Reform Bill Caves to Auto Dealers

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on June 25th, 2010

The committee in charge of hammering out differences in the financial reform bill completed their task this morning, sending the massive bill to the House of Representatives and the Senate for full votes. The final bill contains a hard-won provision for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, which will be overseen by the Federal Reserve. The good news is that it will close some of the loopholes that allowed the events leading up to the nation’s 2008 near financial collapse to unfold. The bad news is that lobbyists for auto dealers ultimately prevailed, creating a loophole that excludes auto dealers from oversight by the new agency.