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Center BMW, BMW Certified Pre-Owned Warranty, Lemon Law

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Case Description

Buyer purchased a “certified pre-owned” 2009 BMW x5 from Center Automotive (dba Center BMW) in Van Nuys. The sale came with BMW’s Certified Pre-Owned Warranty, but Buyer wanted additional protection, so he bought a BMW Extended Service Contract.

A few months after purchase, Buyer noticed that the vehicle’s check-engine light was activating and deactivating, and when activated, the x5 would “shake.” Center BMW confirmed the symptoms and claimed to have fixed the problems by replacing the engine’s ignition coils. Yet, the vehicle’s problems persisted.

A few weeks later, the vehicle would unexpectedly “lurch” and “kick.” Again, Center BMW confirmed the symptoms and claimed to have fixed the problem by doing some work on the vehicle’s transmission. Yet, the vehicle’s problems persisted.

About a month later, Buyer noticed the engine would make odd noises at start-up. Again, Center BMW confirmed the symptoms and claimed to have fixed the problems by replacing the engine’s valve-cover assembly. Yet, the vehicle’s problems persisted.

A few months after that, Buyer again returned the vehicle to dealer due to a “burning odor” from the vehicle. Center BMW diagnosed the odors as harmless and from the air-conditioning system. However, it turned out that something was burning after all because, shortly thereafter, the vehicle began shutting off while at a stop or when slowing. Buyer would also hear a “rattle” from the front of the vehicle upon acceleration and also a “pinging” under heavy load. The dealer again investigated the issue, this time discovering that the vehicle had low fuel pressure, and that some of the wiring of the fuel pump had melted.

The dealer replaced the fuel pump and wiring and told Plaintiff the problems were fixed. Yet, even these fuel-pump repairs did not fix the vehicle’s engine problems.

The vehicle continued to randomly hesitate or shut-off while driving and the check-engine lights would sporadically activate then quickly deactivate. Since a check engine lights would not stay on long enough, Buyer was unable to capture an “error code”.

Ultimately, the BMW x5 suddenly shut off while Buyer was driving on the freeway. Although fearing for his life, he was able to pull over, and this time, the vehicle’s check-engine light stayed on long enough for Buyer to bring it to a service shop and capture an error code on the vehicle’s computer. The service shop recorded the check engine light error code “2A82” which indicated an internal engine fault with the vehicle’s “VANOS” valve-timing system. The main symptoms of this defect are hesitation, loss of power and check-engine lights. In other words, the symptoms were consistent with what Plaintiff had been reporting to since purchasing the BMW x5.

Shortly thereafter, Buyer retained our firm against Center BMW for selling a defective vehicle and failing to repair the vehicle under California’s Lemon Law. Center BMW refused to cooperate and forced the matter to trial. At the close of trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Buyer and the court ordered Center BMW to pay Buyer monetary compensation for damages and pay for Buyer’s attorney fees and costs. In total, the judgement in Buyer’s favor was over $155,000.