Zipcar Fined for Renting Defective Cars With Open Recalls
Vehicle-sharing company Zipcar is facing up to $300,000 in fines after federal regulators said it allowed customers to rent cars subject to open recalls.
The company was hit with a $300,000 fine after regulators found it was renting vehicles that had been recalled but not repaired. Zipcar agreed to pay $150,000 in a consent order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and to pay another $150,000 if it does not comply with the terms of the settlement, Reuters reports.
“Vehicles with open, unrepaired recalls pose a safety risk to everyone on the road,” Ann Carlson, NHTSA’s acting administrator said in a statement announcing the consent order. “NHTSA takes violations of the Safety Act very seriously.”
“The agency will continue to use the full scope of its enforcement authorities to protect the public from safety defects in their personal vehicles or in a vehicle they rent,” Carlson added.
NHTSA is the federal agency tasked with enforcing safety standards on vehicles and overseeing recalls for defective and malfunctioning cars. Federal law requires companies with 35 vehicles or more to fix open recalls on cars before renting them.
The agency reportedly is also investigating Hertz for allegedly renting vehicles that have been recalled without first fixing the issues.
The probes highlight a serious safety problem for anyone hitting the road in California and across the U.S. Defective and malfunctioning vehicles are lurking.
Major auto manufacturers recall millions of vehicles nationwide every year, citing a wide range of safety hazards. These recalls are often announced long after cars have left factory floors and dealership lots and sold to unsuspecting buyers.
More than 2.5 million vehicles are currently subject to open, urgent recalls, data compiled by CARFAX show. Nearly 250,000 of those vehicles are in California, the car research company found.
California Lemon Law Rights for Car Owners and Lessors
There is some good news for car owners and lessors in California. You have some important rights and protections when it comes to defective vehicles.
The California lemon law requires automakers to perform a variety of repairs on vehicles while the cars are under warranty. The law - formally known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act - also forces those companies to buy back cars that they cannot or simply refuse to properly fix. That includes covering the purchase price, financing fees and other related expenses.
An auto manufacturer can instead offer to replace the vehicle under the lemon law. It is up to the owner, however, to accept or reject this alternative arrangement.
There is no specific number of repair requests or attempts that must happen before the buyback or replacement requirement kicks in. An experienced California lemon law attorney can help you understand your rights and options.
Talk with a California Lemon Law Attorney
If you have been stuck with a defective or malfunctioning vehicle, a California lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help you fight back.