Manufacturers Most Guilty of Producing a Lemon
Nobody sets out to purchase a lemon car, but even the most judicious car buyers may find themselves stuck with one. That said, there are several steps individuals can take before buying a new car to prevent this from happening.
One major thing you can do is educate yourself about what car company produces the most lemons and what cars are most likely to be lemons. For example, a recent report from the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) found that General Motors received the most lawsuits under the state’s Lemon Law, while Toyota received the fewest. If you think you’ve purchased a lemon and would like to speak with an attorney about your options for compensation, call us at the Law Offices of Kevin Faulk serving those in Sunnyvale, California, and throughout the state.
Lemon Law Overview
Even though you may know the term “lemon” to refer to a newly purchased car that turns out to be defective, you may not know there’s actual state legislation in California called the Lemon Law. This law was originally passed back in 1982 and was the first in the nation to impose a state-wide law protecting consumers from defective vehicles.
Essentially, Lemon Law provides consumers with the legal framework to address issues when they find themselves with a newly purchased, defective car. Importantly, this law only applies to cars that are still under the manufacturer’s original “new vehicle warranty” and does not apply to cars sold by private sellers.
The law states that after a “reasonable” number of attempts to fix the problem, the buyer can then take legal action to force the manufacturer to either buy back the car or replace it if it can’t be repaired. The manufacturer is also responsible for reimbursing the consumer for any other related expenses, like needing to rent a car while theirs is in the shop.
Because each issue will be different, the law doesn’t list a specific number of times a repair attempt must be made. However, certain factors will be considered when determining how many attempts are “reasonable” such as:
when the issue first occurred;
the severity of the issue; and,
if the vehicle is under repair with the manufacturer for more than 30 days.
It’s worth saying upfront, that all car manufacturers have found themselves at the receiving end of Lemon Law litigation. And, even if a manufacturer has a higher amount of Lemon Law cases, this does not mean that the company itself is bad, nor that you should rule out buying from them. However, there are some that have issues more commonly than others that you should be aware of.
CarMax: There have been recent allegations that CarMax may have sold consumers cars without notifying them of known defects or safety recalls linked to the model.
Ford: With a carmaker as large as Ford, it’s almost inevitable there will be some concerns about lemons being sold to consumers. Ford has been around for a long time and, because of this, has a long history of having to recall certain models. These recalls are often triggered by customer complaints and those filing Lemon Law suits against them. For example, in 2021, Ford was required to recall three million vehicles because the airbags weren’t working properly.
Mercedes-Benz: Even luxury car manufacturers can sell lemons from time to time. Over the years, Mercedes-Benz has encountered issues related to transmission, faulty brakes, and suspension failures.
Nissan: Nissan finds itself entangled with lemon laws more often than other car manufacturers for issues such as autonomous emergency braking systems (AEBs) not working, corrosion problems, or even exploding sunroofs.
Chevy: General Motors produces the Chevrolet models, which are often cited in litigation. This is in large part simply because there are so many of them in the U.S. and they’re over-represented because of this. Some common problems Chevys have are stalling motors, electrical issues, and potential fires.
A lemon law attorney is your best resource during this time. Car manufacturers have a lot of money to address consumer complaints regarding a lemon car, and you need professional and experienced legal support in your corner.
Why You Should Talk to an Attorney
At the Law Offices of Kevin Faulk, this is what we strive to do: we strive to ensure your best interests are being looked after. Car manufacturers are always looking to save money, and if they can do this by denying your Lemon Law complaint, they will. That said, they also want to avoid public litigation. If you’re working with an experienced attorney, they may be more willing to settle and offer you more favorable terms.
Understand Your Rights, Options, and Next Steps
If you’re in the Sunnyvale, California area and you’d like to speak with an attorney about your options for pursuing a Lemon Law claim, reach out to us at Law Offices of Kevin Faulk to get started.