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Understanding Lemon Law Timelines: Don’t Miss Your Chance for Compensation

Did you recently buy a car that’s been giving you more trouble than it’s worth? You might have a lemon on your hands, and California’s Lemon Law could be your ticket to compensation for your headache. However, there are strict timelines for taking advantage of the law’s protections, and if you miss the deadline, you could be out of luck.

CCA – The Lemon Firm stands with Los Angeles consumers and can provide the guidance you need to win a Lemon Law claim. In this blog, we’ll unpack the Lemon Law timelines, offering clear, actionable steps you can take to demand fair compensation. Understanding these timelines is the first step toward turning your frustrating situation into a victory.

Statute of Limitations for a California Lemon Law Lawsuit

Under the California Commercial Code, the absolute deadline to file a lawsuit related to a Lemon Law claim is four years. If you miss this deadline, you lose your right to demand compensation from the defective vehicle’s manufacturer or the dealer who sold you the car.

The tricky part of this deadline is when the four-year countdown starts. California courts have said that the deadline applies from when a consumer discovered or reasonably should have discovered that a car is a lemon. Given the ambiguities of this rule, your best bet is to speak to an attorney right away if you suspect your car has a significant defect.

The Lemon Law Only Applies to Cars Under the Original Manufacturer’s Warranty

There’s one final time consideration in California Lemon Law claims: the law only applies to vehicles under the manufacturer’s original warranty. Because of this requirement, many used cars do not qualify for a Lemon Law claim. It’s also worth noting that the Lemon Law only applies to original manufacturer parts, not aftermarket parts or any modifications you make.

How We Can Help with a California Lemon Law Claim

At CCA – The Lemon Firm, we’re dedicated to handling your Lemon Law claim with precision and care. Our team can file and prepare your claim on your behalf, so you know all the necessary paperwork and evidence are in order. Moreover, we can insist that you not only receive a refund or replacement vehicle but also pursue additional compensation through a civil penalty. While such penalties are not guaranteed, our proactive approach aims to maximize your chance of getting the financial relief and justice you deserve.

You have a limited time to act if you bought a defective vehicle, so don’t wait to start your claim. Call CCA – The Lemon Firm today or complete our contact form for a free consultation.

Generic row of new vans in a parking bay ready for purchase 3d render

Lemon Law and Commercial Vehicles: Protecting Your Business Investments

Does your small business rely on commercial vehicles to operate? If so, you know all too well that your profits depend on the reliability of these critical assets – and you could be in serious financial trouble if you discover you’ve been sold a lemon. Fortunately, California’s Lemon Law could protect you in these circumstances.

At CCA – TheLemonFirm, we’re here to defend your rights and guide you through a Lemon Law claim for your commercial vehicle. The Lemon Law’s ins and outs are complicated, especially for commercial vehicles, which is why we want to shed some light on how it applies to your commercial fleet and how you can secure fair compensation if your vehicle is a dud. Let’s dive in.

Does the California Lemon Law Apply to Commercial Vehicles?

The California Lemon Law, officially known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, primarily protects consumers who purchase or lease new vehicles for personal, family, or household purposes. However, the law also extends coverage to certain commercial vehicles. If a business owns or leases no more than five vehicles, including trucks and vans, the California Lemon Law may apply to those vehicles. This means that if a covered commercial vehicle has a recurring defect that substantially impairs its use, value, or safety, and the manufacturer fails to repair it after a reasonable number of attempts, the business may be entitled to a refund or replacement of the vehicle.

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) vs. Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

Because your ability to bring a Lemon Law claim for a commercial vehicle is dependent on the vehicle’s weight, it’s important that you understand the distinction between two similar but distinct terms: Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) and Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). GVW refers to the vehicle’s actual weight, while GVWR refers to what a vehicle weighs with people and cargo inside. The Lemon Law covers commercial vehicles with a GVW of less than 10,000 pounds, which is what the vehicle weighs by itself, not when it’s carrying anything.

What Commercial Vehicle Defects Apply in a California Lemon Law Claim?

Not all vehicle defects qualify you for a Lemon Law claim in California. First and foremost, the Lemon Law only applies to parts covered under the vehicle’s manufacturer warranty. If you made any modifications to your vehicle or used aftermarket parts, those parts do not qualify for Lemon Law protections.

Second, the law says you must give the manufacturer a “reasonable” number of attempts to fix the defect. What qualifies as “reasonable” depends on the nature of the problem; as a general rule, one or two attempts is usually reasonable for safety defects that could cause injuries or death, while three is understood as reasonable for general  defects. You might also qualify for a Lemon Law claim if you have not been able to use your vehicle for more than 30 days since you bought it.

It should be noted, however, that if your business has more than 5 vehicles actively registered to the corporation or LLC, you cannot prevail from filing a lawsuit under the Song Beverly act.

CCA – TheLemonFirm has extensive experience with Lemon Law claims and can help you pursue fair compensation for a defective commercial vehicle. Call us today or complete our contact form for a free consultation.

Young successful lemon law attorney raising her hands up and laughing with happiness.

The Lemon Law Attorney’s Perspective: Insider Insights and Tips

The California lemon law clearly outlines automakers’ and dealers’ responsibilities to their customers. Unfortunately, these companies routinely refuse to honor these obligations and fight lemon law claims tooth and nail. If you’re going to pursue a claim against an automaker or dealer for a defective vehicle, be prepared for a long fight and take proper steps in advance. Here are a few tips from our seasoned California lemon law attorneys for a successful claim.

Know Your Rights

The California lemon law, formally called the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, says all consumer goods sold in the state (including cars) have certain implied warranties. These include implied warranties that cars will perform as promised and for their designed purpose, and that cars are of comparable quality to similar vehicles.

If your vehicle has repeated defects that you have repeatedly but unsuccessfully tried to have repaired, the lemon law says you can demand a refund or a replacement vehicle. However, there are some vital caveats to understand.

First, the most robust protections of the California lemon law apply to vehicles within the first 18 months of purchase or that have fewer than 18,000 miles driven, whichever comes first. That does not necessarily mean that older cars don’t have legal protections, only that you might have a more challenging time proving your case.

Second, the lemon law protections only apply to defects covered by the vehicle’s factory warranty. In other words, you don’t have legal protections for aftermarket parts or modifications. Finally, you must give the manufacturer or dealer a “reasonable” number of attempts to fix the defect. However, courts have ruled that the “reasonable” number of attempts may be as low as two in certain cases, so bear that in mind.

Document Everything

There’s one golden rule in California lemon law cases: Document everything, no matter how seemingly insignificant. Why is this so crucial, you ask? Well, in the lemon law arena, your paperwork is your best ally. Every time you take your car in for repairs, you’re collecting evidence. This evidence paints a clear picture of the problems you’re facing with your vehicle. But it’s not just about dates and repair shop visits. The severity and nature of the issues matter, too. Is your car making that strange noise again? Does it refuse to start on cold mornings? Write it down. These details matter because they show patterns.

Remember: In the legal world, it’s not just about what you know; it’s about what you can prove. And your meticulous records are the proof you need to win your case.

Understand the Repair Process

Familiarize yourself with the dealership’s repair process and your vehicle’s warranty terms. Knowing what repairs have been attempted, which parts were replaced, and the details of the dealership’s diagnostic findings can provide critical evidence for your claim.

Communicate Clearly with Dealerships

When you take your car in for repairs, be precise about the problems. Vague descriptions can lead to unresolved issues. Clear communication ensures that the technicians know exactly what to look for and fix.

Don’t Settle Too Quickly

Sometimes, manufacturers might offer a quick settlement that may not fully compensate you for your troubles. Be patient and consult an attorney to make sure any settlement offer you receive is fair and just.

Maintain a Positive Relationship with Your Dealer or Manufacturer

While it’s important to stand firm on your rights, maintaining a cordial relationship can facilitate smoother communication and potentially expedite your claim process.

Seek Professional Guidance

California lemon law claims can be complex. Consulting a law firm that routinely handles lemon law cases can provide you with the guidance and representation you need to navigate the process effectively.

Need Help with a California Lemon Law Case? Contact Us Today

The best step you can take to protect your rights in a California lemon law claim is to hire an attorney who understands these cases. The seasoned lemon law attorneys at The Lemon Firm know the ins and outs of these complex cases and can guide you toward a successful resolution. Call us today or complete our contact form for a free consultation.

Cinematic Court of Law and Justice Trial: Judge Ruling Out a Positive Decision in a Civil Family Case. Defendant Party is Happy, Barrister Cheering Client, End Hearing.

Lemon Law and Unusual Cases: Unique Challenges and Outcomes

Lemon law cases in California cover a wide range of vehicles and defects. Even among that wide range, however, certain cases stick out when you’ve spent your career as a California lemon law attorney. The team at The Lemon Firm wanted to shine a spotlight on some of the unusual cases we’ve handled and the successful outcomes we’ve achieved for our clients. You’ll find more information on these cases below.

Case #1: The Jeep Grand Cherokee That Caught Fire

Our client in this case was a retired contractor living in El Dorado Hills. In November 2011, he purchased a 2011 model year Jeep Grand Cherokee. Despite paying $40,000 for a new vehicle, the Grand Cherokee had multiple pervasive problems. Many of these issues stemmed from problems with the Grand Cherokee’s electrical system. In fact, the Jeep even caught fire at one point because of a problem with the wiring in the vanity mirror. This vanity mirror wiring issue was so pervasive among 2011 Grand Cherokees that the company issued a recall. When we took the case, we won a settlement worth over three times the vehicle’s Lemon Law buyback price. The courts also ordered the manufacturer to cover the client’s legal fees.

Case #2: Defective F-350 Leaves Woman and Her Horses Stranded Multiple Times

In this case, our client was a Santa Barbara woman who bought a 2013 Ford F-350 pickup truck to tow her horses in a trailer and travel throughout the county. Unfortunately, the truck repeatedly broke down during operation, leaving the owner and her horses stranded on the side of the road multiple times. Our client took the truck in for multiple repair services, but Ford couldn’t fix the underlying issue and would not repurchase the vehicle from her. We took her case and eventually won her a settlement worth more than 2.5 times what she initially paid for the truck. Ford also had to pay her legal expenses.

Case #3: Hyundai Insists Oil Consumption Problem Does Not Exist

Many California lemon law cases involve automakers refusing to repurchase a customer’s vehicle while acknowledging the underlying defect. In this case, however, the manufacturer refused to acknowledge the vehicle’s obvious defect. Our client had leased a Hyundai Genesis that developed constant oil consumption problems, leading to severe performance issues. We took the case and eventually won a jury verdict in his favor. Our client received a settlement worth more than what he initially paid for the vehicle, and Hyundai had to cover his legal fees.

Case #4: Dodge Grand Caravan Still Defective After Over 13 Repairs

The California lemon law says you must give manufacturers a “reasonable” number of attempts to fix a defect before asking them to refund your purchase or give you a new vehicle. While the “reasonable” number of attempts varies depending on the defect, 13 tries are clearly too many. Unfortunately for our client, the manufacturer could not address the engine oil leaks and transmission issues in her 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan after over 13 tries. Worse still, the manufacturer refused to honor their legal obligations and repurchase the vehicle after all these failed repair attempts. When we got involved, we eventually won her a settlement worth nearly three times what she paid for the vehicle.

Case #5: BMW’s “Ultimate Driving Machine” Is a Lemon

For many years, BMW used the “Ultimate Driving Machine” slogan to describe its supposedly dependable, reliable vehicles. Not so in the case of this 2013 X6 crossover. Our client’s vehicle had a constant series of problems, including suspension problems, frequent engine oil and temperature gauge warnings, and other engine issues. BMW stubbornly refused to repurchase the defective vehicle, at which point our client contacted us. We took the case to trial, and a jury eventually ordered the manufacturer to pay all her repair bills, an additional civil penalty worth approximately 1.5 times what she paid for the car, and to cover all her legal bills.

Is an Automaker Refusing to Honor Your Lemon Law Claim? We Can Help

Automakers and dealerships have specific obligations under the California lemon law, and we can help if they refuse to repurchase your defective vehicle or provide you with a replacement. Call The Lemon Firm today or complete our contact form for a free consultation.

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Lemon Law and Leased Vehicles: Your Rights and Responsibilities

There are many reasons why people choose to lease a car rather than buy one, from lower payments to getting to use a car without worrying about long-term wear and tear. But leased vehicles are just as prone to manufacturer defects as any other car. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand your consumer rights and responsibilities in case your car has significant problems.

The Lemon Law lawyers at The Lemon Firm want everyone who leases a car to know their legal protections if they get a car that is a lemon. Our practice has handled many cases involving defective cars and can help you pursue a refund or new vehicle if the manufacturer doesn’t honor their obligations under California law. Keep reading for more information on your rights and responsibilities if you lease a defective car.

Does the California Lemon Law Apply to Leased Vehicles?

Yes, the California Lemon Law applies to leased vehicles. If a dealer or manufacturer refuses to honor the law’s provisions by claiming that they don’t apply to a leased vehicle, contact an attorney right away.

The Basics of the California “Lemon Law”

The formal name for the “Lemon Law” in California is the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. This law says that all consumer goods in California, including cars, have an implied warranty of merchantability and an implied warranty of fitness. Taken together, these warranties imply that:

  • Consumer goods will work as promised by the manufacturer or retailer
  • The items sold are suitable for their intended purpose
  • The items sold are of the same quality as similar products

However, not all vehicles necessarily qualify for legal protections under the Lemon Law. First and foremost, manufacturers and retailers are only responsible for defects covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. So, if your car has aftermarket parts or modifications, repairs to those parts likely do not qualify under the Lemon Law.

Second, the law says you must give manufacturers and retailers a “reasonable” number of attempts to correct the issue before you can declare the car a lemon. There is no hard rule regarding what a “reasonable” number of attempts is, though, and the number may be as low as two in some cases where safety is a major concern.

When Is a Car a Lemon Under California Law?

The Tanner Consumer Protection Act (which is part of the broader Song-Beverly Act) spells out certain conditions under which it is assumed that a vehicle is a lemon. In order to be eligible under the Tanner Act, you must have purchased or leased the vehicle within the last 18 months, or it must have less than 18,000 miles on it, whichever happens first. Other conditions are:

  • The dealer has made two or more attempts to fix the same defect that could cause severe injuries or deaths when the car is in operation, or;
  • The dealer has made four or more attempts to fix the same performance-related defect, or;
  • The car has been out of service for more than 30 calendar days from the date you purchased or leased it.

If your car meets the above criteria, California law assumes it’s a lemon, and you can take appropriate legal measures. However, failing to meet these conditions does not mean your car is not a lemon. If your car doesn’t meet the conditions of the Tanner Act, you will have to provide additional evidence to prove your case under the broader Song-Beverly Act.

Legal Remedies Under the California Lemon Law

The Song-Beverly Act and Tanner Act spell out manufacturers’ duties when a car is a lemon. In these cases, the buyer has the right to a refund or a replacement vehicle. The law also specifies that manufacturers and retailers must cover your incidental costs while your vehicle was out of service, such as the cost of rental cars. Finally, the law says manufacturers must cover your attorney’s fees and other legal expenses in a successful claim. In some cases, you may also qualify for additional compensation (called a “civil penalty”) if the manufacturer does not honor their legal obligations under the California Lemon Law.

Is Your Leased Car a Lemon? Contact a California Lemon Law Attorney Now

Whether you leased or bought a car does not affect your legal protections under California law. The Lemon Firm team can handle your case and see that you find justice when automakers do not meet their legal responsibilities. Call us today or complete our contact form for a free consultation.

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Lemon Law and Technology: How Modern Cars Impact Lemon Claims

Modern technology has helped make cars safer, but new cars are also more complicated than ever. Cars are now essentially computers on wheels, and digital technologies can malfunction just as easily as any mechanical part. In turn, these new technologies can substantially impact claims under the California lemon law.

The California lemon law lawyers at The Lemon Firm believe that every driver in the state deserves to know their legal rights if they buy a car that does not work as promised. This blog provides essential information on how new innovations in car technology can affect a lemon law claim and how we can safeguard your rights in these situations.

The Basics of the California “Lemon Law”

Before digging into how new technologies in cars can impact a lemon law claim, it helps to understand your rights under the California lemon law. The formal name for this law is the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, and it guarantees certain rights to anyone who buys consumer goods in California, including cars.

The Song-Beverly Act says that every consumer good sold in California has an implied warranty of merchantability and an implied warranty of fitness. In plain English, that means every car is assumed to work as promised, is suitable for its intended purpose, and is of the same quality as similar products. Therefore, if your car needs repeated visits to a repair shop to address a crucial defect and it doesn’t get fixed, you can demand a refund or a new vehicle from the manufacturer.

However, it’s worth noting that the California Lemon law does not apply in all situations. For one thing, it only applies to defects covered under the manufacturer’s factory warranty, meaning it does not apply to aftermarket parts or modifications. Second, the lemon law is primarily meant to help owners of new vehicles, typically those less than 18 months old and with fewer than 18,000 miles driven (though there are exceptions). Finally, you must give the manufacturer a “reasonable” number of attempts to address the defect, though the exact number of attempts depends on the defect.

Modern Car Technologies That Lead to Lemon Law Claims

As automakers have implemented more digital technologies in newer vehicles, these new systems can malfunction, placing drivers in danger or rendering a car unusable. Some modern car technologies that may lead to a lemon law claim include:

  • Infotainment Systems: These are the heart of a car’s entertainment and navigation services. When they malfunction, they can turn a smooth ride into a frustrating puzzle of missed turns and silent commutes.
  • Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS): These systems, like autopilot or lane-keeping assist, aim to make driving safer. However, when they falter, they can compromise safety, leading to potential lemon law claims.
  • Electric Vehicle (EV) Batteries: The powerhouse of electric cars, these batteries are crucial for performance. A faulty battery not only reduces range but can also sideline an EV entirely.
  • Transmission Systems in Hybrid Vehicles: These sophisticated systems blend electric and traditional power. When they break, they can cause erratic behavior and reduced efficiency, making them prime subjects for lemon law claims.
  • Keyless Start Systems: Although these were designed for convenience, a malfunction in a keyless start system can prevent the car from starting, turning convenience into a significant inconvenience.

How Technology in New Cars Affects California Lemon Law Claims

In some ways, the type of defect doesn’t matter at all in a lemon law claim. All that matters is whether the car has repeatedly malfunctioned in spite of efforts to repair it and whether the manufacturer’s factory warranty applies. That said, it can be harder to prove a lemon law claim involving new technology in cars because there are fewer past examples of successful claims to refer to. Furthermore, because digital technology in cars often interacts with basic mechanical systems, it can be difficult to prove the underlying cause.

The smartest move you can make in these cases is to hire an experienced California lemon law attorney. They can investigate your car’s issue, gather evidence to support your claim and represent you in legal proceedings against the car’s manufacturer. Call The Lemon Firm today or complete our contact form for a free consultation.

recall

What Is a Recall?

In the fast-paced world of automotive manufacturing, ensuring the safety and reliability of vehicles is paramount. Despite rigorous testing and quality control, defects and safety issues can emerge, and the need for automotive recalls is apparent. 

In this article, we will explore the intricacies of automotive recalls, shedding light on what they are, why they occur, and how consumers can navigate this crucial aspect of the automotive industry. We also uncover the top 10 recalls by vehicle brands throughout 2023.

Firstly, What Is a Recall?

An automotive recall is an official action taken by a vehicle manufacturer, or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to address a defect or safety issue that has been identified in one or more models. These defects can range from faulty components and design flaws to manufacturing errors. The objective of a recall is to rectify the issue promptly, ensuring the safety of vehicle occupants and preventing potential accidents. 

Why Are Recalls Important?

There are several reasons why a recall is important to both you as a consumer and the manufacturer, they are:

1. Protecting Consumers:

Recalls act as a safety net against potentially hazardous incidents as a result of a defective vehicle. It helps protect consumer safety and well-being.

2. Injury and Fatality Protection:

If safety standards are not met, a recall is a result of either a failed manufacturing process or a part continuously failing out in the field, where many owners have reported issues. A recall is designed to protect people from injuries, illness, and death if they were to continue to use the defective vehicle.

3. Trust and Responsibility:

Automotive manufacturers need to be trusted and relied upon when it comes to consumer safety. It also helps boost confidence between consumers and government regulatory agencies that oversee the automotive industry.

4. Legal Liability Mitigation:

A recall is aimed at reducing automakers’ and consumers’ legal liability and cases against them. It also provides ethical compliance to business practices.

5. Correcting Faults:

The primary goal of automotive recalls is to prevent injuries, illnesses, or fatalities among consumers. Simultaneously, recalls aim to correct the underlying problems that led to the recall in the first place, ensuring a safer driving experience for all. This could also save the manufacturer from more, expensive repairs later down the line if they have to repair every delivered vehicle.

Let’s uncover the most recalls by brand throughout 2023, the results may surprise you.

2023 Recalls In The US From Popular Auto Brands

Below is a chart showing the main Automakers across the US and their associated recall in 2023. According to NHTSA statistics https://datahub.transportation.gov/stories/s/NHTSA-Recalls-by-Manufacturer/38mw-dp8u/ (This list is not extensive, the full list is found on their website).

As we approach the end of 2023, a comprehensive look at the NHTSA statistics reveals a dynamic landscape of automotive recalls across major manufacturers in the United States. Let’s uncover the top 10 brands that have announced the most recalls.

Top 10 Recalls in 2023 According to NHTSA.

1. Ford Motor Company (Recalls: 54)

Ford leads the pack with the highest number of recalls in 2023. These recalls span various models, and as one of the most popular automakers in America, it is understood why there are so many. After all, Ford needs to uphold the trust of millions of vehicle owners.

2. Chrysler (FCA US, LLC) (Recalls: 45)

Following closely, another US car brand, Chrysler demonstrates a damaging threat to their reputation and profits. With 45 recalls, Chrysler’s commitment to consumer safety is clear for everyone to see. The recalls encompass a range of models, emphasizing the company’s dedication to rectifying issues and ensuring the reliability of their vehicles.

3. BMW of North America, LLC (Recalls: 29)

BMW takes the third spot, underlining the prestigious German brand’s commitment to safety and quality, whilst admitting that not every automaker is perfect. With 29 recalls, BMW addresses various concerns, showcasing a proactive stance in maintaining their vehicles’ performance and safeguarding their drivers.

4. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (Recalls: 26)

Mercedes-Benz maintains a strong presence in the list of recalls, despite being such a large brand with an excellent reputation, they want to take care of their customers and reduce safety risks. With 26 recalls, the company prioritizes rectifying issues and ensuring that their vehicles adhere to the highest safety standards.

5. Nissan North America, Inc. (Recalls: 22)

Nissan secures a position in the top five recalls, as an affordable brand suitable for all types of consumers, Nissan indicates a proactive approach to consumer safety. With 22 recalls, the company demonstrates a commitment to addressing potential issues promptly and maintaining the reliability of its vehicles.

6. Honda (American Honda Motor Co.) (Recalls: 17)

Honda maintains a strong presence in automotive recalls, the popular automaker has addressed minor and major safety concerns. With 17 recalls, Honda showcases a proactive approach to rectifying potential issues and ensuring the continued trust of their vast consumer base.

7. Kia America, Inc. (Recalls: 20)

Kia secures a spot among the top recalls, despite being known as one of the most reliable brands out there. With 20 recalls, Kia demonstrates a proactive stance in addressing concerns and upholding the performance and reliability of their vehicles.

8. Subaru of America, Inc. (Recalls: 13)

Subaru makes its mark in the top recalls list. With 13 recalls, Subaru is a lesser-known brand in America but still takes a proactive approach to rectifying issues promptly. They do not want any lawsuit against them as a result of a defective part.

9. Tesla, Inc. (Recalls: 13)

As a prominent player in the electric vehicle market, Tesla is not exempt from recalls. With 13 recalls, Tesla has a much different approach to recalls, as they can often solve minor glitches and vehicle settings over the air. Over-the-air updates prevent Tesla owners from visiting the dealership and save the company a lot of money by avoiding physical repairs. 

10. Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (Recalls: 11)

Surprisingly, Porsche rounds out the top 10 recalls, showcasing that not every brand is perfect, and for the safety and performance of their luxury vehicles, 11 recalls were initiated. Porsche actively addresses concerns, ensuring that their vehicles meet the rigorous standards expected by their discerning customer base.

Recalls In 2023

While these top manufacturers lead the recall counts, it’s essential to recognize that recalls are a shared responsibility across the automotive industry. Other prominent manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen have also been actively addressing safety concerns, collectively contributing to a safer driving experience for consumers.

The 2023 automotive recall data reflects that even the most prominent brands have safety concerns and manufacturing issues from themselves or their suppliers. It also shows a proactive and collective effort by major manufacturers to prioritize consumer safety, despite leaving owners frustrated. 

The high number of recalls underscores the industry’s commitment to maintaining public trust and ensuring that safety standards are met as closely as possible, otherwise, owners will want to take back control.

If you or your loved ones are the registered owner of a vehicle plagued by recalls, call 833-LemonFirm today to speak with a case analyst who can help you sort or fact from fiction concerning your consumer rights.

Mercedes logo

Mercedes Lawsuit: 48 Volt Battery Problem

Imagine you have an important meeting, but your new Mercedes won’t start. This is exactly what happened to a customer when she parked her Mercedes-Benz CLS without any lights or electronics on. After a few hours, the 48-volt battery was drained completely.

If you are a Mercedes owner and experiencing 48-volt battery problems, you’re not alone. Many owners are facing other issues related to the battery such as the car being unable to start, shutting off while in motion.

Mercedes owners are claiming that 48-volt batteries in their vehicles are dying unexpectedly and leaving them without their cars for weeks.

Affected Mercedes Vehicles

It is found that 48-volt battery problems occur mostly with the E-, CLS- and GLE-/GLS-class vehicles model year 2019 and onward for the sedans, and model year 2020 for the SUVs. The investigation isn’t limited to only these models and inspecting all cars with the 48-volt mild hybrid system.

Symptoms of Mercedes 48V Battery Problems

There are many reports of different issues related to 48-volt battery systems. However, the most common issues are no starts and vehicles shutting off in motion.  Drivers say that these problems occur randomly even with a brand-new car with less than 50 miles.

Additionally, vehicles that are towed to the dealership often take several days to diagnose the problem. Some owners are stuck with paying for diagnostics, software updates and even battery replacements.

Mercedes 48 Volt Battery Malfunction: What Are Mercedes Drivers Saying?

“My 2021 E450 All-Terrain wagon is on its third 48-volt battery. The first battery failed after 15 days and 196 miles. The second battery died after 30 days and 535 miles. The third and current battery is still alive and well after 5 months a little over 3,000 miles, but my confidence still hasn’t been restored.” — LONGROOF45, MBWORLD.ORG

“My car is a 2021 E 450 All Terrain with approximately 6,700 miles, delivery taken at the end of March 2021. It would not start 5 days ago while parked in the garage and had to be flatbed towed to the dealer…As of today, my car has been with dealer for 5 days, and other than confirming it would not start due to a faulty 48v battery, I have received zero support from the dealer. I am without a car (no loaners are ‘available’) and they have given me no information on how long my car will be out of service. I can’t even get them to confirm that Mercedes has authorized a battery replacement.” — JAYST, MBWORLD.ORG

“I had my battery replaced last week. My car only has 152 miles on it. I sincerely hope that the new battery does not fail. I’ve also got some creaks on the door panels. My faith in MB is way down. The fact that MB Denver has done 60 of these replacements already tells me MB has a known issue on their hands and is doing nothing. That’s a real shame in my book.”

WIEN0305, MBWORLD.ORG

“I received my pre-ordered 2021 E 450 Cabriole on December 28, 2020. After one week, the car without warning wouldn’t start and had to be towed into Ft. Lauderdale. Since then the car has been in the shop. We have been waiting for the delivery of a battery and no one seems to be able to locate a battery. This 48v battery located in the trunk is unique to the 2021 model year, and apparently no spare parts are available especially critical parts needed for the operation of the vehicle. Very sad to pay $80,000 for a new car, and not be able to use the vehicle for an unknown period of time.” — P. MOORE, BENZFORUM.COM

“I just had my brand new GLS have the same 48V battery malfunction for the second time since I bought it. It doesn’t even have 10k miles on it yet. The first time I got the 48V battery malfunction light on and within 2 minutes the car would no longer accelerate. Mercedes said it was a manufacturing problem to do with the grounding of the 48V battery in the engine…that there was ‘paint’ in the way and it wasn’t ground properly. They had my car for 5 days, sanded our the pain and reattached it all then said it was fine. Less than 3 months and a few thousand miles later I had the exact same problem. Warning light comes on and then multiple other warning lights after…This time I knew to pull over right away before the engine failed. I had to have it towed in both times. The car is BRAND new….and frankly, feels super unsafe now that this has happened twice.” — TINK, MBWORLD.ORG

How Could a Class Action Lawsuit Help?

A class-action lawsuit could give Mercedes owners a chance to recover rental and repair costs, as well as compensation for being unable to use their vehicles. It can also force automaker to extend warranties and find a permanent fix for the issue. If you are experiencing problems with your 48V battery, we want to know.

Final Thoughts

If you are an automobile owner and have manufacturing issues, you can contact us regarding your involvement in this or any potential class-action lawsuit. Serious vehicle problems require serious legal representation, especially when you are bringing a claim against a major automaker. At the Lemon Firm, our experienced Attorneys have been able to successfully recover compensation for our clients who were sold a vehicle with manufacturer defects, and we can do the same for you. Call (833) Lemon-Firm to speak with a Lemon law expert today.

Continental airbags

Continental Airbags Lawsuit

By: Nicole Halavi

Numerous complaints regarding defective Continental airbags have been filed against automakers such as Honda, Mercedes, Dodge, Mazda, and Fiat Chrysler. Continental AG, also commonly referred to as Continental, is a German automotive parts manufacturer specializing in brake systems, tires, powertrain, automotive safety, and other parts for the automotive industry. In light of these issues, drivers of the affected models may be eligible for compensation. The most common claims include breach of warranty and negligence.

If you are an owner of a vehicle equipped with defective Continental airbags, CCA is here to help. We invite you to call our experts today for a free consultation: (833) LEMON-FIRM.

What Are the Safety Issues in the Continental Airbags that Led to a Class Action Lawsuit?

Vehicles equipped with Continental airbags have been exhibiting complications for more than a decade. As per several reports, the manufacturer has been aware of these issues as early as 2008.

Continental airbag control units manufactured between 2006 and 2010 are known to have a faulty power supply component that is susceptible to corrosion due to moisture that can eventually lead to premature unit failure. This is a defect that can have significant impacts on your vehicle’s overall performance and safety systems. The faulty component can damage the seatbelt pre-tensioners and airbags, which might not function in the event of a crash. Also, the defect can lead to unnecessary deployment of the airbags. Both cases can put the driver and other passengers in a dangerous, and potentially life-threatening, situation.

Some of the most popular brands that used the defective Continental airbag control unit include Mercedes-Benz, Fiat Chrysler, and Honda. Mentioned below is a list of models that have been recalled due to the airbag defect:

        • 2008-10 Honda Accord
        • 2009 Dodge Journey
        • 2008-09 Dodge Grand Caravan
        • 2008-09 Chrysler Town and Country
        • 2009 Volkswagen Routan
        • 2008-09 Mercedes-Benz C Class
        • 2008-09 Mercedes-Benz GLK Class
        • 2009-2010 Mazda Mazda6
        • 2016 BMW 7-series (740Li, 750Li, 750 Lxi)

While the list above covers some of the most commonly used vehicles, it only addresses around 600,000 out of the five million vehicles equipped with the defective airbag control unit.

What Can I Do If I am an Owner of a Vehicle Mentioned in the List Above, or Have a Model Equipped with Defective Continental Airbags?

If you own a vehicle mentioned in the affected models list above or own another model equipped with defective Continental airbags, you may be eligible for compensation. The attorneys at CCA are knowledgeable about the issues caused by Continental airbags and will work to get you the compensation you deserve from the auto manufacturers.

If you are experiencing any safety issues with your vehicle, do not hesitate to contact our experts for a free consultation at (833) LEMON-FIRM.

African American woman checking the hood of her car.

California Supreme Court Expands Consumers’ Damages in Lemon Law Cases (Kirzhner v. Mercedes-Benz)

The California Supreme Court recently expanded the remedies available to lemon law plaintiffs in its long-awaited decision in the matter, Kirzhner v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (Cal., July 27, 2020, No. S246444) 2020 WL 4280966, at *22020 (“Kirzhner”).   In Kirzhner, the Supreme Court tackled the question as to whether, in a lemon law case, an automobile manufacturer should be required to reimburse registration renewal and nonoperation fees? Specifically, should the reimbursement be recoverable as collateral charges or as incidental damages? The California Supreme Court answered, essentially, yes – such damages are recoverable when they flow from the automakers’ violation of the Song-Beverly Act (the “Act”).

The fact in Kirzhner were fairly straightforward: Plaintiff Allen Kirzhner leased a new vehicle from Mercedes in 2012. He alleged that during the warranty period, his vehicle exhibited numerous defects that ultimately led to a malfunctioning command system, navigation system, and key fob. These defects also caused the steering column adjustment mechanism and power seats to be inoperative, the coolant level warning light to illuminate, and smoke to emanate from the cigarette lighter. As is the story in most lemon law cases, Mercedes was still unable to repair the defects after a reasonable number of repair attempts.

After filing suit, Mr. Kirzhner ultimately accepted a settlement offer made by Mercedes pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure §998 about six months into litigation. Instead of specifying a monetary amount in the settlement offer, Mercedes offered Mr. Kirzhner a replacement vehicle or restitution in exchange for the vehicle. Mr. Kirzhner opted for restitution and was awarded upwards of $47,000 by the trial court. However, while this sum included the initial registration fee that Mr. Kirzhner paid upon entering into the lease, it did not include the registration renewal fees and nonoperation fees totaling $680 paid in 2013 and 2014. Mr. Kirzhner took exception to the Court’s failure to award these fees because, he claimed, they arose from Mercedes’ failure to comply with the Act.  Mr. Kirzhner appealed and the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court ruling that the only registration fee that could be considered “collateral” is one that is paid at the time the vehicle is purchased or leased.  Mr. Kirzhner appealed, again!

Our Supreme Court analyzed Civil Code §1790 of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, commonly known as the “lemon law,” allows consumers with a “lemon” to choose one of two remedies: a replacement vehicle or restitution. More specifically, §1793.2 of the Act states that “the manufacturer shall make restitution in an amount equal to the actual price paid or payable by the buyer…including any collateral charges such as sales or use tax, license fees, registration fees, and other official fees, plus any incidental damages to which the buyer is entitled under §1794…”

In Kirzhner, the Court concluded that based on the plain language of §1794, subsequent registration renewal and nonoperation fees are not recoverable collateral charges because these charges are not collateral to the price paid for the vehicle. The Court reasoned that the initial registration fee is a recoverable collateral charge, like a sales or use tax, because it is a price paid as part of the total cost of the vehicle and in exchange for the vehicle. Contrastingly, a registration renewal fee or nonoperation fee is one that is paid to the DMV during the course of the lease or ownership, and so cannot be classified as a “collateral charge.”

While the fees were deemed unrecoverable as collateral charges, the Court held that they are recoverable as incidental damages if they were incurred as a result of the automakers’ failure to promptly provide a replacement vehicle or restitution once its obligation under §1793.2 arises. Subsection (d)(2) provides that a buyer may recover restitution “plus any incidental damages to which the buyer is entitled under §1794, including, but not limited to, reasonable repair, towing, and rental car costs actually incurred by the buyer.” Further, California Uniform Commercial Code §2715 defines “incidental damages” as including expenses “reasonably incurred in inspection, receipt, transportation and care and custody of goods rightfully rejected, any commercially reasonable charges, expenses or commissions in connection with effecting cover and any other reasonable expense incident to the delay or other breach.”

Therefore, the Supreme Court remanded the case for the trial Court to make a determination as to whether or not the additional registration fees were incurred as a result of Mercedes’ failure to promptly replace/repurchase the vehicle. 

While Kirzhner is seemingly over only $680, the decision has broad implications for California lemon law matters:

  • Kirzhner allows lemon law plaintiffs to pursue registration renewal fees beyond year-one of ownership, if they were incurred as a result of the automakers’ failure to repurchase/replace the vehicle.  In other words, if the automaker should have bought the car back, registration fees incurred after the vehicle should have been repurchased are now available. 
  • Other incidental damages – such as insurance premiums, maintenance charges, and other charges incurred for the care and custody of the vehicle are also, potentially, available now. 
  • Importantly, our Supreme Court confirmed that manufacturers possess an “affirmative duty” to voluntarily repurchase defective or unfixable vehicles, even without the consumer asking that they do so. 

If you have questions regarding your lemon law claim, we invite you to learn more about CCA and call our experts today for a free consultation: (833) LEMON-FIRM.