Help! My Car is Possessed!
Can I get a full refund of the price of my new car if it has multiple problems?
Are self-driving cars something exciting out of a science fiction movie—like the flux capacitor-fitted DeLorean® in Back to the Future®? Or, are they something scary out of a horror movie like Stephen King’s Christine®? The answer may depend on whether you get a “lemon” or not.
Having a car with a mind of its own is not for everyone. While many people love the new, high-tech “auto pilot” feature of self-driving cars such as those by the industry’s pioneering manufacturer, Tesla®, others report being unnerved at the thought of their cars behaving erratically as the newer technology is developing and being tweaked.
Take the case of one of Tesla®’s “biggest fans”—a California man who owns a Roadster and Model S but who also reportedly got one of the early Model X’s—“back when the falcon door still had serious concerns”.
Despite being a Tesla® lover, he filed a Lemon Law lawsuit over the Model X, claiming it was a lemon and sought to recover the nearly $162,000 full purchase price (plus registration and other fees) and damages for breach of warranty.
His description of the “shenanigans” the car’s high tech features allegedly played were reminiscent of something out of a horror movie. He reported that the falcon doors would repeatedly slam shut on his leg when sliding into the car and also spontaneously opened into cars and other obstacles at other times. He also claimed that rainy weather made using auto pilot “extremely dangerous” and caused the car to “swerve into other lanes”. Other alleged defects cited included repeated freezing of touchscreens and a defective parking brake “that doesn’t work 90% of the time”. It wasn’t reported whether the man made a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle before filing the lemon law lawsuit.
The Lemon Law was designed to protect those who buy or lease new vehicles from cars that have dangerous or defective conditions which necessitate repeated and similar repairs, usually within the first 12 to 24 months of ownership (and 12,000 to 24,000 miles), depending on the state you live in. In addition, to be a lemon, the problem(s) must substantially impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle.
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 if your car is found to be a lemon. But even if you are past the time limits for a Lemon Law lawsuit, you may be able to recover damages under a consumer protection laws.
If you think your car is a lemon, contact Lemon Law attorney Timothy S. Abeel & Associates at 888-611-5481 for a free evaluation of your claim.