Consumer Protection Laws for Car Buyers

Can I sue if my car doesn’t perform as promised?

Federal Consumer protection laws protect car buyers from auto manufacturers and dealers failing to stand behind their products and correct problems when their products fail. The federal law that governs consumer product warranty is this called The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. There also consumer protection laws on the state-level, which differ from state-to-state.

Breach of warranty claims against New Jersey and Pennsylvania automakers can arise as the result of a breach of either an express or an implied warranty.

Express warranties are written or oral statements the automaker voluntarily makes about their product—such as advertising claims.

Conversely, an implied warranty, as its name states, it is not spoken or written but rather is an implied promise governed by state law. There are two different kinds of implied warranties:

  • implied warranty of merchantability which promises the product is fit to be sold, will do what it supposed to do, and that there’s nothing significantly wrong with it
  • implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose which is a promise a seller makes to a customer and the customer relies on the seller’s advice that the product can be used for a specific purpose.

In an era where self-driving cars like the Tesla and the technology that supports them has come to market—and accidents are apparently occurring due to reliance on this new technology—it’s understandable that car owners would accuse manufacturers of negligence and breach of warranty when accidents happen.

A woman in Utah recently sued Tesla and another repair service company after suffering a broken ankle when her Model S slammed into the back of a fire vehicle at 60 miles an hour despite her car allegedly being on auto pilot with cruise control engaged at the time of the crash.

The woman—who admitted she was looking at her phone at the time of the crash—alleged the car “didn’t perform as advertised” and says Tesla sales people didn’t warn her about “the proper use of the car and the auto pilot system” and “told her she just needed to touch the steering wheel occasionally when auto pilot was engaged”.

The car’s data allegedly indicated she had taken her hands off the steering wheel “dozens of times and on two occasions her hands didn’t touch the wheel within 60 seconds”. She reportedly kept her hands off the steering wheel until visual warnings prompted her to put her hands back on the wheel “only to quickly remove her hands each time”. Police reportedly cited her as the cause of the accident for “failure to keep proper look-out”.

If you need assistance with a breach of warranty, or dealer fraud claim, or think you may be driving a “lemon” because your new vehicle is always in the shop for the same stubborn repair, the Law Offices of Timothy Abeel & Associates can help. Depending on the nature of your problem, you may be entitled to a full refund of your down payment, trade-in, monthly payments and taxes, or a brand-new car or a cash settlement. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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If your car was manufactured between 2019 and 2024 we may be able to help. Contact us for more information.