Luxury Cars Can Be Lemons Too

Luxury cars pride themselves on being the benchmark of luxury and precision engineering, but just like any other make of cars, luxury vehicles can be defective. In 2004 Cadillac sent its dealers at least 663 repair bulletins (called "Technical Service Bulletins"), telling dealers how to try to fix problems in the 2004 vehicles of all types and models, including the Escalade, CTS, SRX, Deville, XLR and Seville. The 2010 Cadillac DTS is the subject of a new safety recall in the United States, after the company discovered that 126 units failed to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard no. 110 – “Tire selection and rims”.

German luxury cars are often perceived to be the very best available, but Mercedes-Benz USA LLC was recently ordered to pay $482,000 in damages and legal fees to a Wisconsin customer who was sold a defective car and not given a refund on time.

In October 2009, many unhappy BMW 335i drivers began complaining about a fuel pump failure. The manufacturer was already aware of the problem that caused the car to limp along or even stall.

All these luxury vehicles are subject to the lemon law: if the car has a defect that cannot be repaired the lemon car owner is entitled to either a full refund of the car’s purchase price or a replacement vehicle. Don’t be fooled by the perception that luxury cars don’t have defects and let the dealer talk you into repair after repair. In many states, a problem that isn’t resolved within three repairs is enough to qualify a car as a lemon.

“Consumers often have several ways to establish the presumption that the manufacturer had a reasonable number of repair attempts,” said Norman Taylor, leading California lemon law attorney. “In California, for example, the presumption is established if any of the following occurs within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles: The same defect is subject to repair four or more times; the same defect is subject to repair two or more times, and is a serious safety defect that is likely to cause death or bodily injury; or the vehicle is out of service for repairs for a cumulative total of more than thirty days, for any combination of defects.”

Taylor knows the details of this law well. 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.

“If a California consumer establishes any of these three points, they have a distinct advantage in establishing that the manufacturer should buy their vehicle back,” Taylor said. “Keep in mind that many consumers still qualify for a buyback whether they meet this criteria or not. There are a variety of situations that offer relief.”

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