Warranties are the promises that manufacturers and sellers make about their products. For example, the car companies and their dealerships promise that the cars, SUVs and trucks that they manufacture, distribute, market and sell will (subject to certain limitations) operate correctly, and will not break down, malfunction or fall apart. Those warranties are statements about the integrity of the vehicles and about the manufacturer’s commitment to correct problems when the vehicle or its parts fail.
Timothy Abeel & Associates represents vehicle owners and lessees in breach of warranty claims and litigation against the manufacturers and dealers of cars, SUVs, trucks, and recreational vehicles.
Although state lemon laws are designed to protect consumers who buy or lease new vehicles that experience major defects during the initial period of ownership (depending on the state, during the first 1-2 years or first 12-24,000 miles of driving, whichever happens first), NOT EVERY VEHICLE DEFECT OR PROBLEM, MEETS ALL THE SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS OF THE LEMON LAWS.
We can also bring other legal claims and remedies to get you compensated, including claims for:
Warranty claims provide our clients another way to get the compensation they deserve for a defective or malfunctioning vehicle.
Types of Warranty Claims
We assert warranty claims under a variety of laws and legal theories, including:
- Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (federal law)
- Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law
- New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act
- Breach of contract claims
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is the federal law that governs consumer product warranties. Enacted in 1975, Magnuson-Moss requires manufacturers and sellers of consumer products—including passenger vehicles—to provide buyers with detailed information about warranty coverage, but written in plain, easily understood language. The law also spells out both the rights of consumers and the obligations of warrantors under written warranties.
Magnuson-Moss was a response to the widespread misuse of complicated warranties and disclaimers by merchants in the 1960s and 70s. The law also designates the Federal Trade Commission as an enforcer of federal warranty standards.
Companies are required to designate their warranties as either “full” or “limited” and specify exactly what the warranty covers in a single, clear, and easy-to-read document. Businesses must also make their warranties available where the products are sold so customers can read them before buying.
Unlike state lemon laws, Magnuson-Moss, as a federal law, applies across the US and can be used to make a claim against a car dealer physically located in any state, or those that do business only on the internet.
Most importantly, Magnuson-Moss allows a vehicle purchaser or lessee who has been victimized by a breach of warranty to sue auto manufacturers and/or dealers in state or federal court.
Compensation Available under Magnuson-Moss
In most of our warranty cases, the manufacturer agrees to pay our client a monetary settlement reflecting the vehicle’s loss-in-value from the warranty breach (this can be as high as 20% of the vehicle’s purchase price) PLUS attorneys’ fees, court costs, and any expert witness expenses. In other cases, obtain compensation similar to a lemon law remedy:
- A buyback of the vehicle (usually reduced by an allowance for wear-and-tear on the vehicle); or
- A comparable new or used vehicle.
- PLUS attorney’s fees, court costs, and expert witness expenses.
The attorneys’ fee-shifting provision of Magnuson-Moss is a powerful incentive for manufacturers and dealers to agree to a reasonable settlement rather than risk costly litigation.
Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law
Enacted by the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1968, the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) prohibits a broad range of unfair or deceptive practices in the marketing or sale of consumer goods in Pennsylvania, including breaches of product warranties.
The UTPCPL allows victimized consumers to file lawsuits in Pennsylvania state and federal courts and gives those courts the discretion to award triple damages (meaning, the consumer’s actual damages from the warranty breach multiplied by 3) and to require the seller to pay the consumer’s legal fees and litigation expenses.
In cases we bring under the UTPCPL (usually paired with Magnuson-Moss claims), the compensation we obtain for clients includes:
- The loss-in-value from the warranty breach (multiplied by 3) or buyback of the vehicle
- Attorneys’ fees, court costs, and other litigation expenses.
New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act
Passed by the New Jersey Legislature in 1960, the Consumer Fraud Act is intended to:
- Compensate consumers armed by deceptive sales practices
- Deter consumer fraud by awarding triple damages to a successful claimant
- Provide an incentive for New Jersey lawyers to represent victimized consumers by requiring the liable merchants to pay the victim’s attorneys’ fees and court costs.
For the buyers of cars, SUVs and trucks from dealerships located in New Jersey, the Consumer Fraud Act provides another avenue for compensation for a defective or malfunctioning vehicle.
In cases we bring under the Consumer Fraud Act, the compensation we obtain for clients includes:
- The loss-in-value from the warranty breach (multiplied by 3) or buyback of the vehicle
- Attorneys’ fees, court costs, and other litigation expenses
Types of Warranties
Federal and state laws recognize two basic kinds of warranties—implied warranties and express warranties.
Express warranties are promises and statements that the manufacturer voluntarily makes about its product or about its commitment to remedy defects and malfunctions. These warranties can take a variety of forms, ranging from advertising claims to formal certificates. Although an express warranty can be made either orally or in writing, only written warranties for vehicles are covered by Magnuson-Moss.
Implied warranties are unspoken, unwritten promises, created by state law. There are two types of implied warranties that occur in consumer product transactions. They are the warranty of merchantability and the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose.
- Warranty of Merchantability is the seller’s basic promise that the product will do what it is supposed to do and that there is nothing significantly wrong with the product. It is an implied promise that the product is fit to be sold. A car, SUV or truck that suffers repeated major defects and repairs fails to fulfill its basic function of reliably transporting passengers and cargo. The law says that sellers make this promise automatically every time they sell a product that they are in business to sell.
- Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose is a promise legally imposed on sellers when the customer relies on the seller’s advice that a product can be used for some specific purpose. If a car dealer, for example, recommend a particular SUV model because of its towing capacity, and the customer buys that model because of that advice recommendation, the law says that the seller made and the buyer received a warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. If the SUV ends up being unable to tow an RV of the stated capacity, the warranty has been breached.
How We Handle Warranty Cases
We have a well-earned reputation for holding auto dealers accountable for violations of their warranties and helping our clients obtain the compensation they deserve.
- We will conduct a thorough evaluation of the facts of your case and carefully explain your rights as a consumer and your various options for achieving a good result.
- Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to recover damages up to three times the amount of your actual losses plus reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
- YOU WILL NEVER BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND OUR OTHER EXPENSES UNLESS WE SUCCESSFULLY RESOLVE YOUR CASE AND GET YOU COMPENSATION.
- Before taking formal legal action, we may contact the manufacturer and dealer in writing and demand that they correct the problem.
- If a negotiation strategy fails to get you the compensation you deserve, our experienced attorneys have the knowledge and skill to pursue a lawsuit on your behalf under all applicable state and federal laws.
Filing a Warranty Claim
Timothy Abeel & Associates makes it easy to file a Warranty Claim in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, or California. No matter where you live in these states, we will:
Conduct A Thorough Evaluation Of The Facts
Resolve Your Issue Or Pursue A Lawsuit
Recover Damages Up To Three Times The Amount Of Your Losses
If a negotiation strategy fails to get you the compensation you deserve, our experienced attorneys have the knowledge and skill to pursue a lawsuit on your behalf under all applicable state and federal laws.
Timothy Abeel & Associates Protects Car Buyers
At Timothy Abeel & Associates, we believe consumers have a right to be treated fairly and that car companies and their dealers who breach their legally mandated warranties must be held accountable. We have extensive experience in all aspects of consumer law and a well-earned reputation for successfully fighting for our clients’ rights. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a breach of warranty, call our office today at 888.830.1474 for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website. Someone on our friendly staff will respond to you promptly.