Special Lemon Law Report: How Government Fails Consumers Who Have Defective Vehicles (Part 8)Posted on by
The complexity of today’s vehicles and the manner in which they are manufactured makes it inevitable that some new vehicles will be defective. Although the government should play an active role in protecting consumers by holding auto manufacturers accountable for defective products, it appears as though this is not the case. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is not widely utilized by consumers as a complaint clearinghouse, and the agency has flawed complaint and investigation processes that put consumers at risk from safety defects.
State lemon law arbitration proceedings, which are meant to be accessible to the layperson, do not level the playing field on which consumers must spar with auto manufacturers. The result is that an individual state’s lemon law arbitrations help, a tiny percentage of consumers each year. Further, it appears that the BBB Auto Line dispute resolution process helps fewer consumers than does state-run arbitration.
It seems apparent that the avenue to achieving the best result for consumers who are seeking settlements, refunds, or replacement vehicles for cars that meet a state’s legal definition of “lemon” is the court system. While a manufacturer may be able to outmaneuver a consumer representing him or herself in an arbitration hearing, a carmaker is more apt to negotiate when faced with the knowledge that they will be held accountable in a court of law by a lemon law attorney.