Know Your Rights if There’s A Recall
One of the most devastating events for a consumer is to realize that the car they are driving is no longer functional, especially if it was through no fault of their own. Our vehicles are major expenses, as well as an essential part of our daily lives. If the car trouble is serious enough and at the fault of the manufacturer, there may be a recall, in which case it is vital that you know your rights going forward. Last spring, there was a widespread recall of Takata airbags, which meant that nearly 70 million vehicles were recalled as a result. These are virtually never isolated instances, and happen across a wide range of manufacturers. For anyone in a similar situation, here’s what you need to do next:
Find your replacement car. If the dealer has issued a recall, you should not be without a vehicle while you wait for them to sort out the issue. The federal government has encouraged consumers facing a recall to demand a comparable loaner from their dealership to use while the other one is not available. If they refuse to do so, you may be eligible for compensation under the Lemon Law or other federal legislature.
Write, record, and keep close. When it comes to your vehicle, you want to be sure you are documenting all of your professional interactions to attempt to remedy the problem. Every time you interact with the dealer working towards repairing your car, get the conversation in writing, even if action has not been taken at that time. This could be as simple as getting an invoice (even without a charge) that documents your complaint, the actions taken and the next steps, including dates. Without this documented, whether in paper or electronically, you are opening yourself up to a possibility of a he-said she-said situation with no way to prove the truth.
Watch your step in the used car minefield. Imagine if you went to buy a car after losing your first to a defect, and ended up purchasing one with the same or worse problems! This can happen in certain used car dealerships, and should be avoided by getting in touch directly with the manufacturer. Write down the VIN for models with known recalls, and independently research whether or not you are walking into another mess.
Educate Yourself on Lemons. No, not the sour citrus fruit. Statewide Lemon Laws and Federal Warranty laws protect consumers like you against shady auto industry practices, and in many cases those out of their transportation are entitled to recourse under the law. If you are unable to use your vehicle for an extended time period without a loaner offered, recourse will likely be offered on your behalf in these laws. Working with an established lawyer with experience in Lemon Laws is your best bet—and we know just the team.
For more information about your lemon law rights, call the office of David W. Polsky today at 973-686-9787. Our team would be happy to give you a consultation on recalled vehicles, faulty airbags, and much more.