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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 118292
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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I purchased a new automobile in March 2010. Beginning in October

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I purchased a new automobile in March 2010. Beginning in October 2012 I began experiencing MAJOR engine problems when the car had approximately 46,700 miles. I had followed manufacturer and dealership service manager recommendations for oil changes and other maintenance. At 47,000 miles the car received a new drivetrain. At 62,000 miles the engine was replaced. At 67,000 miles the windshield transmission gave out in the middle of a torrential rain storm. At 73,000 miles, the transmission gave out and left me stranded on the road.

If this car had 12,000 miles at the beginning of these episodes, it would fit the Lemon Law requirements in Kentucky. Unfortunately, being two years old, it did not meet the requirements, but is clearly a lemon. (In Kentucky, lemon law covers issues for cars less than one year since purchase date or 12000 miles, whichever comes first). The car was covered under manufacturer warranty, but after 10 visits to the mechanic over a year period with major engine repairs it is clear that this car is a lemon and was not worth the $32,000 I paid for it. Particularly since I only received just under 47,000 miles of maintenance free travel.

After many letters to high level execs of the manufacturer (including the CEO), I was offered $5000 toward a new car from the same manufacturer. In light of weeks without my car as it was being repaired repeatedly (it is again in the shop for the transmission issue) and for continued problems, it seems reasonable that the manufacturer should offer a much better compensation. In addition, with over 2200 consumer complaints about this vehicle on, and a letter I received from the manufacturer in July stating that there are engine problems with this vehicle that might require service, it is clear that it is not only me that is experiencing these problems.

I have two questions. First, what, if any, consumer rights do I have to demand a car (in this case, from an American manufacturer) that runs over 47,000 miles reliably for the price I paid? Do I have any legal avenues to pursue to demand more compensation from the manufacturer for the loss of time and vehicle over the past year? As I search for a new car to replace this lemon, I will not have to pay out for a new car I had no intention of purchasing for at least another four years.

Second, if many consumers are experiencing similar issues as I outlined above with the same model vehicle, would this offer sufficient evidence for a class action lawsuit? While owners that purchased their vehicles brand new could trade them in for a different make and model, the number of unsuspecting secondhand buyers purchasing this model used have to pay exorbitant fees to repair and likely replace the engine if they do not buy the vehicle covered under sufficient warranty to cover the drivetrain.

I look forward to your reply.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

As this situation no longer fits under the KY lemon laws, your rights are curtailed to a breach of contract (warranty) action against the manufacturer. If the manufacturer is not able to properly repair the condition with the vehicle, then you have to read the warranty as most warranties state in cases where they cannot repair they must replace or refund your money at their discretion. Your case against them appears to be one of either breach of warranty or possibly even a product liability claim if you can get a mechanic expert to testify your car was defective in design or manufacture leading to these problems and this would be the legal avenue for you to explore.

First step in a warranty breach claim is to file a complaint with the Attorney General of KY under the Manguson Moss Warranty Act (federal law) and ask for them to mediate the warranty dispute. If they cannot resolve the dispute then you would need a consumer protection/product liability attorney locally to pursue the manufacturer for breach of warranty and possibly for defective design/manufacture of the vehicle.

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