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Lemon Law protects customers from irreparable defects

After making a major purchase like a new car, not many in California want to deal with the hassle of repairs. In fact, one reason why many consumers opt for new cars rather than used is because they want a reliable vehicle that will not cost them money to fix in addition to making car payments. Nevertheless, from time to time, a new car may bring frustration and inconvenience because it needs constant repairs. A vehicle like this may fall under California's Lemon Law.

The Lemon Law outlines the factors that qualify a car for lemon status. If a consumer's car is deemed to be a lemon, the law requires the dealer to buy back the vehicle or replace it. However, a car buyer who suspects his or her car is a lemon must follow the guidelines of the law carefully. Those who purchase a car to use as a family or business car may qualify if the car was purchased within an original warranty from the manufacturer. Any problem the buyer has with the car must occur within 18 months of purchase or before driving it 18,000 miles.

Man accused of dealer fraud for selling defective used cars

When shopping for a used car, many people in California have fears and concerns. Buying a pre-owned vehicle often means taking on damage or defects with which the previous owner no longer wanted to hassle. Consumers count on the knowledge and forthrightness of a dealer to help them obtain a car they can afford that will be safe and not cost them a fortune in repairs. Unfortunately for car buyers in another state, the owner of one establishment used car dealer fraud to rip off his customers.

The dealer advertises that his used cars pass a 92-point inspection and a 20 minute test drive before they are offered for sale. The dealer claims his mechanics make about $1,500 worth of repairs on each car. This may be important considering the average car the dealer purchases for resale has over 100,000 miles on it. However, a lawsuit filed by the attorney general of that state claims that, in addition to committing fraud to qualify buyers for unmanageable loans, the dealer sold many cars with defects that required the new owners to pay for expensive repairs.

Tips for tracking a lemon

Vehicles are a significant part of the household budget. At the start of 2017, the average new car cost $31,400. In addition, insurance, maintenance and fuel increase the expense. Most consumers take out loans to buy cars—and they expect consistent, satisfactory results in return.

A lemon is a car that does not work as advertised. The problem is so widespread that Congress passed a federal law in 1975. California has its own legislation, known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. When a new requires an unreasonable amount of repairs, there may be a serious issue with the car itself. Lemon laws protect consumers, allowing a replacement vehicle or monetary reimbursement.

CarMax vehicles included in auto defect class actions

Consumers are beginning to see the results of a recent decision by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration allowing used car dealers to offer defective vehicles and label them as safe. CarMax, the leading used car outlet in the United States has recently taken advantage of this change in the law, and consumers relying on CarMax's reputation may be the ones to suffer. An investigation into the CarMax inventory reveals thousands of cars that were included in past auto defect class actions.

The investigation surveyed the cars for sale at eight dealerships in three states, including California. Among the nearly 1,700 cars for sale, 27 percent of them had unrepaired defects that had resulted in recalls on the vehicles. This percentage was double the defects found in a similar survey just two years ago. While most of the vehicles had options for repairing the problems, 41 did not, meaning a consumer purchasing the car from CarMax would have no recourse for fixing the potentially dangerous defect.

Honda settles auto defect class actions

For several years, consumers have followed with horror the news reports of auto airbags exploding in vehicles. The device most relied upon for safety in an automobile had become the weapon responsible for killing 16 people and injuring hundreds. Because of a design defect, the airbags manufactured by Takata tended to explode, sending shards of burning metal into the faces and bodies of the passengers. It did not take long before auto defect class actions began in California and across the country.

The defective airbags had been installed in cars of 19 auto manufacturers for numerous model years, leading to the country's largest recall, with 42 million vehicles affected. The supplier of the deadly airbags has since faced criminal charges. Takata recently filed for bankruptcy under the weight of billions in penalties and lawsuits.

VW sunroof issues may fall under lemon law

One of the benefits of living in California is the glorious sunshine year-round. Having a car with a sunroof is a must for many car owners who want to enjoy that sunshine, even when they are driving. However, some are taking advantage of the state's lemon law to seek redress for a defect in their sunroofs that has the potential to cause injuries and accidents.

Owners of Volkswagen models say the company did not warn them that the sunroofs in their vehicles may spontaneously shatter, often while motorists are driving. The drivers report that the sunroofs explode without warning with a loud "boom," and many liken the sound to a gunshot. Shards of glass then rain down over the occupants of the vehicle.

Beware of buying flood-damaged cars after severe storms

Buying a used car can be a wise decision for many people looking for a good value and smaller financial investments. However, there are some potential risks that come with buying used cars, including undisclosed damages.

Before you buy a used car from an individual, dealership or any other party, it is wise to conduct some research first. This can be especially important in the coming months, as flood-damaged cars tend to appear on the market after severe storms like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. 

Customers face dealer fraud when flooded vehicles hit the market

By now, the images of hurricane-ravaged areas of the country are fading from the memories of many in California. However, the devastation remains, and families in those areas struggle to rebuild their lives and replace belongings lost or destroyed in the storms. One important item many families may quickly replace is the car, especially if it was one of the millions submerged in floodwaters. Unfortunately, through dealer fraud, many of those cars end up in the garages of unsuspecting car purchasers.

A car submerged in a flood typically has damage that cannot always be seen. Electrical systems may short out, anti-lock brakes can become compromised and airbags may malfunction. Failure of any of these elements puts the driver and passengers at great risk. In many cases, it is easy to detail a car to hide the water damage long enough to sell it at market value.

What to look out for before you 'Buy Here Pay Here'

If you are like millions of other people in Los Angeles County, then you rely on a car to get around. However, cars are expensive, which means that buying one without knowing what protections are in place can prove to be a costly mistake.

Unfortunately, there are auto dealers who take advantage of the fact that consumers don't always know that there are laws in place to protect them. For instance, if you buy a car from a dealer who advertises "buy here, pay here" options, then you should be aware of the rules and protections that come with these dealer-provided loans.

10 million defective airbags remain in use, despite recall

For several years, stories of defective and dangerous airbags have been making headlines across the U.S. Many people are likely aware of the defect, and millions of people are affected by it, as roughly 46 million defective airbag inflators have been recalled. Criminal charges have been filed; class action lawsuits have been filed; multi-million dollar settlements have been reached.

Still, according to this recent report, roughly 10 million airbag inflators at the highest risk of rupturing are still in use. And this number doesn't even reflect the unrepaired vehicles in lower-priority recall groups. In other words, carmakers still have an incredibly long way to go in replacing defective airbags.

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