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California Lemon Law: Actually Fixing the Problem

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  January 20, 2010

Recent news has been carrying the story of Toyota’s largest-ever recall, after widespread complaints of unintended acceleration in various models. According to the manufacturer, the way the floor mat was designed could cause the vehicle to unexpectedly accelerate out of control, and the recall was for the replacement for floor mats as well as accelerator pedals.

A few stories recently hitting the news, however, show that the floor mat design may not be the source of the problem at all. According to a report from The Safety Record, on December 29, 2009, the driver of a 2007 Toyota Avalon experienced a case of sudden and unintended acceleration while driving on the highway—while the floor mat was completely removed. With the problem still occurring, the driver was able to make it to the dealer to show it to them as it was happening. This incident was apparently not the first for the driver, who had been to the dealer before about the problem.

Critics and survivors of unintended acceleration cases have argued that the Toyota problem was not a result of the floor mats or accelerator pedals, but instead insist that the computer controlling the acceleration of the vehicle is at fault.

“It often happens with a defective vehicle that a dealer will try, with a repair order, to make a problem appear less serious than it is,” said leading California lemon law attorney Norman Taylor. “With Toyota, it might be a case of the manufacturer themselves pulling this same gambit.”

Taylor has seen such tricks countless times. He has been a California lemon law specialist since 1987, and he and his firm, Norman Taylor and Associates, have handled over 8,000 cases for consumers with a 98 percent success rate.

Consumers themselves should be wary of such tactics at a dealer level. For example, a consumer brings a vehicle into a dealer with a complaint that the “check engine” light comes on and the car stalls. The service writer suggests it might be something wrong with the Emission Control System, so writes down, “ECS problem” which in fact was not the complaint.

“If the dealer can write down something different on each repair order, the actual problem can be made to look like it isn’t really the defect,” Taylor explained. “Then the manufacturer can argue that it has successfully repaired four different problems, instead of having repeated failed repair attempts for the same problem.”

For the consumer, all of this can be summed up in one piece of advice: If you think you’re driving a lemon, contact a qualified lemon law attorney right away.

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