After Chrysler’s recent bankruptcy declare, there were numerous reports
of check payments for defective vehicles bouncing on consumers. This led
to speculation that following their bankruptcy, the company would not
be honoring payments owed to consumers for settlements or court findings
for them under federal and state lemon laws.
This has now changed, as Chrysler and Fiat have jointly asked the court
to allow such payments even while Chrysler is proceeding through the bankruptcy process.
This will be welcome news to consumers who have already had to run a “gauntlet”
to arrive at a place where they will be paid. “Auto manufacturers
and dealers will put consumers through what I call a ‘gauntlet’
before they ever settle a lemon law case,” said leading
California lemon law attorney Norman Taylor. “It runs from ‘not being able to find the problem’
to blaming the owner for the problem and even denying that there’s
a problem there. There are many tricks, and without help a consumer can
be trapped in this maze for months or even years.”
Taylor has seen every one of these diversionary tactics in action. He has
been a lemon law specialist since 1987, and he and his firm, Norman Taylor
and Associates, have handled over 8,000 cases for consumers with a 98
percent success rate. He is one of the leading lemon law attorneys in
southern and all of California.
The sad part of it is, in most cases, dealers are aware of the problem
before the vehicle is even brought in. If they can somehow force the owner
to live with it, however, by finally causing the consumer to give up and
go away, the dealer avoids service costs and the manufacturer avoids the
buyback or replacement costs.
“The attitude is incredibly cynical—even cruel,” said
Taylor. “And it isn’t an isolated incident of bad corporate
behavior. It is pervasive and widespread. There is not one car manufacturer
that doesn’t employ one or more of the many ‘distracting’
methods I describe.”
That is why it is wise for anyone who discovers a defect in their vehicle
to contact a qualified lemon law attorney right away. Such an attorney
can guide them as they encounter these barriers, and in many cases they
can be avoided.