A common accusation in class action lawsuits filed against automakers is that the manufacturer failed to issue recalls for vehicles that were defective. Often, these suits cite technical service bulletins (TSBs) and other internal communications as evidence that the manufacturer knew about the defects. Why the emphasis on recalls in these cases? Recalls are communications from the manufacturer that inform consumers of defects and, in some cases, offer free repairs to resolve the issues.
How can recalls affect individual lemon law cases?
Sometimes, they may help consumers’ cases against manufacturers. Recalls are issued by manufacturers and, more often than not, are ordered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Recalls and TSBs can show that the automakers knew about defects faced by some of their vehicle models.
A consumer may file a lemon law claim against a manufacturer, only for the manufacturer to later issue a recall on the vehicle model that the consumer owns. The consumer is free to get the repairs offered in the recall. The vehicle may even be fixed!
However, the consumer is still able to continue with the lemon law claim. As long as the manufacturer had not been able to fix the defect within a reasonable number of repair attempts at the time the consumer filed the claim, the consumer still has a case.
The manufacturer may have issued a recall on the vehicle for a particular defect before the consumer filed a claim. The consumer may have taken the vehicle in for a repair under the recall. However, that repair may not have fixed the defect in the vehicle. The attempt that took place under the recall can still count among the “reasonable number of attempts” for a lemon law case.
The California Lemon Law says that a vehicle is a lemon if it has a recurring defect that is not fixed within a reasonable number of repair attempts. Even if one of those repair attempts took place as part of a recall, the consumer may still have a claim.
Read more on the availability of information on recalls in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s searchable database.
Lemon Law Help by Knight Law Group is an automotive lemon law firm that exclusively practices in California. If you are a California resident who purchased or leased a defective vehicle from a licensed dealership in California, we may be able to help you get rid of your potential lemon and recover significant cash compensation. Model year restrictions apply: 2016–Present vehicle models only. However, we cannot help those who reside outside of California or purchased their vehicle outside of California unless they are active duty members of the Armed Forces, nor will we be able to refer those to a lemon law firm in their states. To learn more about the California Lemon Law and your legal rights, visit our California Lemon Law Guide for more information.