When people in Pennsylvania and around the country buy new cars, they have legal protections if the vehicle is defective. The federal government and the states have lemon laws, which provide protection for customers who have purchased defective vehicles that continue to fail despite multiple repairs within the warranty period. In one recent Wisconsin case, auto manufacturer Mercedes-Benz was ordered to pay over $400,000 to a woman after it refused to refund her when she made a claim under the Lemon Law.
In 2013, the woman leased a new Mercedes C300 sedan and experienced ongoing transmission problems that were never fixed despite multiple repairs. After the car’s transmission continued to fail, the woman sought a refund under Wisconsin’s lemon law, which requires a manufacturer’s refund within 30 days. The woman had paid $7,058 and sought a full refund, but Mercedes offered only $572, and no deal was reached. Instead, Mercedes deposited the $572 with the court and filed suit to make the woman accept only this minimum payment.
However, the woman also sued under consumer protection laws, and the judge in the case, who combined the two issues, said that the manufacturer had violated the lemon law. The manufacturer could have issued the woman the check for the $572, and it would have been up to her to go to court over the amount. However, Mercedes failed to do so, which opened the manufacturer to full responsibility under the law for both the woman’s damages and her legal fees.
When people invest in a new vehicle and don’t receive the safe, reliable transportation they paid for, they have recourse to consumer protection laws to seek compensation and a refund for the defective car. However, manufacturers sometimes attempt to escape their responsibilities. A lawyer may help consumers protect their rights under the law and take action for justice.