Buying a new car should be a hassle-free experience, but it is not. Studies show most new car buyers report problems with their new cars within five years of ownership. While not all problems are serious or make the car undriveable, some issues are major and interfere with vehicle operations. When consumers who purchased new cars experience repeated issues, they need to determine if California’s lemon law protects them and their circumstances.
Most New Car Buyers Have Problems with Vehicles
ABC reports that two-thirds of people who purchase a new car experience some problems with the vehicle within five years of buying the car. This data comes from a large consumer group survey. A spokesperson for the consumer group commented on the findings, saying the group “looks at products from fridges to prams and cars, and we don't see that kind of incidence fault rate across any other product.” The high failure rate for new vehicles was described by the spokesperson as “alarming.”
Unfortunately, many of the problems with new vehicles turn out to be major problems. Around one out of every six of the issues that were reported were problems that resulted in the car becoming undriveable. Issues with brakes and the engine were also commonly reported.
In total, around 14 percent of the people who reported problems with their new cars were classified as having a major problem. Problems with in-car technology, electronics and car batteries were also frequently reported. Bluetooth was a particular area of technology in cars that many consumers found does not work very well.
When consumers experienced these and other issues with their cars, many also expressed frustration that car manufacturers were not really fixing the vehicles the way they were supposed to be fixing them. Furthermore, in addition to general problems getting cars fixed, there are also issues in which car makers are trying to force consumers not to share the problems that they are having.
Around one in six consumers were told they had to sign confidentiality agreements with the car makers in order to get the repairs made or the vehicles replaced. When a confidentiality agreement is signed, the news of problems does not become public and investigations into defects are stalled. This ends up meaning that other people could be put at risk and it ends up meaning that cars which should be recalled for serious defects will stay on the roads longer since it takes more time to identify and understand the scope of the problem.
Clearly, with such high failure rates and with consumers having so many problems getting cars fixed, something within the car industry needs to be improved. Car manufacturers have an obligation to make sure they are not selling vehicles with defects and they also have an obligation under the Lemon Law to provide remedies for consumers whose cars have repeated problems.
Unfortunately, most consumers will need help from a Sacramento lemon law attorney to ensure the enforcement of their rights under the law with respect to non-cooperative car manufacturers who fail to live up to their important obligations to the public.