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Buyer, who was located in Hawthorne, purchased a 2011 BMW 535Xi along with a service contract for repairs. Penn Warranty Corp and Wesco Insurance Company were the providers on the service contract. The type of service contract Buyer purchased was the "Highline" Fully Insured Vehicle version, which was the most expensive and inclusive. Coverage specifically included "transfer case on 4-wheel drive vehicles and all internal parts" and "all sensors used to control engine and powertrain functions." The cost of the service contract alone was $1,718.00 and it provided 2 years of coverage.
A few months after purchase, the vehicle began leaking oil out of what is known as a "transfer case." The BMW 535Xi model is a 4-wheel drive vehicle, and a transfer case is a sealed unit of gears which regulates power between the front and rear wheels.
The vehicle also developed electrical faults in the steering column. Specifically, the "steering angle sensor", which provides data to the traction-control and speed-control functions of the engine and transmission, was malfunctioning. These malfunctions were determined when Buyer took the 535Xi to Long Beach BMW and received an estimate for repairs.
Buyer then submitted the repairs to Penn Warranty Corp and Wesco Insurance Company. To Buyer’s surprise, the Providers denied both repairs despite both explicitly being covered. In an attempt to get out of paying for the repairs, Penn Warranty Company wrongfully stated the diagnosis by Long Beach BMW was incorrect and that other, purportedly not covered items, were the cause of Buyer’s issues. Relying on those statements, Buyer did not pursue coverage for those repairs anymore.
A few months later, more components on the vehicle started to malfunction. This time, Buyer took the 535Xi to German Auto Parts & Service in Long Beach, where he received an estimate stating the vehicle had, among other issues, "cracked control arm bushings". The “Highline” service contract Buyer purchased explicitly covered "control arm bushings". Buyer again submitted the repairs to Penn Warranty Corp and Wesco Insurance Company, but again was denied coverage.
Shortly thereafter, Buyer retained LemonLawAutoFraud.com’s attorneys to take legal action. With the help of our experienced and aggressive attorneys specializing in Auto Fraud and Lemon Law, Buyer took Penn Warranty Corp and Wesco Insurance Company to trial for breaching their service contract under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. The court ruled in favor of Buyer and ordered the providers to pay Buyer monetary compensation for damages, a statutory penalty for willful conduct, and Buyer’s attorney fees and costs.
Buyer entered into an agreement with dealership Tustin Buick GMC to restore Buyer’s 2001 Hummer H1 because the dealership advertised that it specializes in restoring Hummers. When Buyer was in talks with the dealership, an employee named Mike Sabbarese repeatedly claimed to be an expert in the field. In a written proposal, Sabbrese initially promised the restoration would not cost at more than $54,000 and would be completed within 3 months. A few weeks later, Buyer was notified by another dealer employee, named Tim Golden, that the price now had to be over $57,000 and that Buyer would have to pay an initial deposit of $40,000 just for the dealer “to pre-order parts”. Buyer begrudgingly agreed.
The project ultimately took about 9 months to “complete,” yet in the end the Hummer was not properly restored and contained unapproved and improperly-installed accessories such as a “lift kit” which damaged the H1 in several respects. Further, when Buyer went to pick up the Hummer, Tustin Buick GMC now demanded $75,000 for the restoration, claiming that additional work had to be done. Yet, Buyer never approved the alleged “additional work” and the dealership was not even able to provide evidence of the work being done. Nothing explained the 35% price increase except perhaps the dealership’s realization that they needed to make more money off of this deal. Under protest, Plaintiff paid the full amount demanded because Tustin Buick GMC refused to release his vehicle without payment.
To make matters worse, the “restored” Hummer H1 broke down three separate times, requiring multiple tows back to the dealership, before Buyer was even able to drive the Hummer home.
Shortly thereafter, Buyer retained LemonLawAutoFraud’s attorneys for help. With over 20 years of experience and specializing in Dealer Fraud and Repair Fraud, our office was able to get the vehicle properly repaired and forced the dealership to pay $45,000.
Buyer, who lived in Menifee, visited Riverside Car Store to purchase a vehicle. Upon arrival, Buyer was approached by salesman Matt Kettring and shown around the lot. Buyer eventually decided to purchase a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban.
About a month after sale, Buyer was contacted by Riverside Car Store and was asked to bring the Suburban back for a smog test because it had failed that test on the day of the purchase. When Buyer arrived at the dealership, the vehicle was driven out of the lot and returned about an hour later. Buyer was told that the Suburban had passed the smog test but Buyer never received documentation. LemonLawAutoFraud’s attorneys later discovered that the smog inspection was fraudulent because the Suburban did not have an EPA unit (smog control device) installed. Without the EPA unit, it was not possible for the Suburban to lawfully pass a smog test. However, the Fraudulent Smog Test was only the beginning of Buyer’s problems.
A few weeks later, the car began to shake violently and uncontrollably while Buyer was driving at about 40-45 miles per hour. Buyer was only able to stop the vehicle after having to apply severe pressure on the brakes. Once the Suburban stopped, another vehicle pulled alongside Buyer and informed him it looked like the Suburban’s front wheels were about to fall off.
Shortly thereafter, Buyer took the vehicle to a Pep Boy's in Temecula to have the shaking issue inspected. After the inspection, a technician explained to Buyer that the vehicle had Undisclosed Frame Damage. Specifically, the pivot bracket mount on the frame of the Suburban was extremely worn out and the frame seam was coming apart above the bracket. Left without an operating vehicle, Buyer agreed to have welding work done to fix the problem.
A few months later, the Suburban’s electronic display on the dashboard stated the vehicle's transmission was overheating. Buyer immediately took the Suburban to J&D Auto in Menifee. After paying out of pocket for a transmission flush, Buyer was informed that the vehicle needed a new transmission costing over $3,000.
Frustrated with the Suburban having so many serious and expensive problems so soon after purchase, Buyer called Riverside Car Store and spoke to the salesman that sold Buyer the Suburban, Matt Kettering. When Buyer explained all of the Suburban’s issues, Kettering merely replied, "That’s ridiculous” and refused to be of any help to Buyer.
Shortly thereafter, Buyer retained LemonLawAutoFraud’s attorneys for assistance. Having over 20 years of experience and specializing in Dealer Fraud, our office discovered that Riverside Car Store knew the Suburban had frame damage when they bought it through an auction from Manheim Southern California, but failed to disclose that frame damage to Buyer at purchase, as required by law.
With the help of our attorneys, Buyer took Riverside Car Store to court, where the dealer was forced to cancel the contract and pay over $36,000 for Buyer’s damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.
Buyer went to Future Ford of Sacramento to purchase a 2001 Ford F150. While testing the Ford F150, Buyer discovered that the window was making noise and didn’t work properly. The salesperson assured Buyer that the issue would be fixed if Buyer purchased the vehicle. Believing the issue was minor and would be repaired, Buyer signed purchase documents for the Ford F150 and, at the insistence of the salesperson, agreed to purchase a “bumper-to-bumper” warranty.
Following the purchase, Buyer continued to have issues with the Ford F150’s window making noise, and also discovered that a different window leaked water on the back seat when it rained. When he returned to Future Ford for repairs, Buyer was informed that the warranty Dealer sold him did not cover the window motor or the F150’s window seals. When the buyer confronted the salesman, Future Ford agreed to take back the 2001 Ford F150, and sell them a 2007 Ford F150 instead.
After the buyer agreed, he was sent to the “warranty department” where he explained that he wasn’t interested in buying another warranty since the last one didn’t cover any of the other Ford’s issues, but the representative insisted and guaranteed that the warranty covered a vast majority of the Ford F150 components, adding, “It’s a machine; anything can happen.” When the representative said the warranty would cost about $140 per month, the buyer replied that the payment was too high. The representative continued to discount the warranty, and eventually stated that he would give the buyer his “employee discount” to reduce the payments to $30 per month, assuring Buyer that the warranty would still cover the same components. When the buyer asked why it took so long to reduce the price, and the representative vaguely responded, “You will be happy with this warranty. It’s a certified bumper-to-bumper.”
Unbeknownst to Buyer, Future Ford of Sacramento could not have actually certified the Ford F150 due to a lift kit and tires that voided Ford’s warranty. Future Ford also did not disclose, as required by law, that the vehicle had previously been repossessed from a prior owner. Additionally, during the negotiation, Future Ford secretly engaged in the unlawful act of payment packing – Buyer did not agree and was not aware that they purchased additional items coupled with the vehicle and warranty, including Express Etch, a theft protection service. Nevertheless, the buyer relied on the statements made by Future Ford and agreed to purchase a warranty for the 2007 Ford F150.
Less than a year later, the Ford F150 buyer began experiencing power steering issues and again returned to Future Ford for repairs. After dropping off the vehicle, a service advisor called Buyer and informed him that the power steering was not covered by the warranty because the vehicle was preowned. The buyer explained that he had been paying monthly for a certified bumper-to-bumper warranty and asked to speak to a supervisor. Once he looked into the matter, the supervisor approved the repairs on the 2007 F150.
Within seven months, the buyer discovered yet another defect: the F150 would not engage into gear and generated a loud noise before stalling. The vehicle’s check engine light activated soon after. When Buyer called Future Ford to discuss the issue, the service advisor told him that the repair was not covered by the warranty. The buyer again asked to speak with the supervisor, who stated, “This warranty should have never been sold with the truck because it was a modified vehicle.” Buyer continued to argue that he was pressed to purchase this warranty by Future Ford and was paying monthly to ensure that repairs of this nature would be covered. Buyer further explained that he would call the news media and publicize the issue if the defect was not fixed. Only then did the supervisor approve the repairs on the Ford F150.
Future Ford held the 2007 F150 for ten days without providing the buyer a loaner car. When Buyer finally picked up the vehicle, he discovered that a component of the Ford F150’s power steering was modified – namely, the front bushing boots appeared thinner. The service technician claimed that the replacement components were standard factory parts, but Buyer knew that the F150 had heavier bushing boots. Regardless, Buyer and his family were left without a vehicle for too long so he kept the Ford F150 while reserving his doubts.
Not too long after, the Ford F150 ABS light turned on and the racket pinion of the power steering failed. When Buyer brought the vehicle into Future Ford, the supervisor again refused to repair the F150 and even wrote Buyer a check to refund the warranty. Buyer rejected the refund, insisting that he had been paying monthly for the bumper-to-bumper warranty and expected it to cover him through these situations. Once the buyer explained that he was questioning the reliability of Ford Motor Company and warned that Future Ford was violating a contract, the supervisor feared legal action and agreed to make the repairs.
About a year later, while Buyer was driving in the carpool lane with his three-year-old son and his friend, the steering wheel of the F150 made a 180 degree turn but the vehicle continued to drive straight. Suddenly, the driver’s side tire flew off and the front bumper began to scrape the ground, igniting sparks. The surrounding traffic immediately took evasive action as the Ford F150 headed toward the center divider. As the buyer began to pull the steering wheel toward the right to avoid colliding with the center divider, he found that the brakes were not operating. Fearing for lives of his child, himself, and his friend, Buyer kept pushing hard on the brake pedal until it reached the floor. Luckily, he was able to pull the F150 to the emergency lane and call Roadside Assistance.
Shortly thereafter, Buyer went back to Future Ford to meet with the service technician who performed the most recent repairs. When presented with the 2007 F150, the technician kept insisting that Buyer “hit something” and refused to repair the vehicle. Buyer kept explaining that the vehicle did not hit anything, but the technician still refused, only adding, “At least you’re still alive.” Realizing that Future Ford did not care at all for the safety and well-being of their customers, Buyer and his family contacted the Law Offices of Robert Mobasseri to take legal action.
With the help of our experienced and aggressive attorneys specializing in Dealer Fraud and Lemon Law, Buyer took Future Ford of Sacramento and Ford Motor Company to trial for breaching their contract under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, engaging in payment packing, and improper product disclosure. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Buyer and the court ordered Future Ford to pay Buyer monetary compensation for damages, a statutory penalty for willful conduct, and Buyer’s attorney fees and costs. In total, the judgement in Buyer’s favor was over $410,000.
Buyer, who was located in Adelanto, visited S&A Cars Wholesale (dba “El Camino Auto Sales”) in Fontana and purchased 2003 Nissan Murano. Included in the purchase was a Service Contract which the dealer repeatedly referred to as a “Warranty”. Buyer’s issues with the Murano started moments after purchase.
Immediately after leaving the dealer’s lot, Buyer attempted to fill the Murano with gasoline, but found that the gas cap was broken, stuck, and could not be removed without prying it off. Buyer also checked the vehicle’s fluids while at the gas station and found that the oil and coolant levels were extremely low. After filling those liquids to their required levels, Buyer headed to Los Angeles on the freeway.
While on the freeway heading to Los Angeles, the Murano’s Service Engine Soon Light came on, the car started smoking, and was emitting a burning smell. Buyer went to a gas station right away, opened the hood of the car, and noticed that there was a small puddle of antifreeze gathered on the ground near passenger side tire, indicating a crack or leak in the coolant reservoir.
While driving back to El Camino Auto Sales the next morning to complain about the problems, the Murano started making “knocking and thumping” noises. Buyer met with Caeser Comonero (finance manager) and Carlos Melendez (salesperson) when he got there and was told by Caeser “do not worry you have purchased a good warranty plan and your car will be like new when it takes effect, the warranty will fix anything that is wrong with your car.” Relying on those statements, Buyer left the vehicle there for repair.
Dealer replaced the radiator and Buyer picked up the vehicle a few days later. However, Buyer noticed the same burning smell immediately after pick up. Additionally, the Air Conditioning stopped working, the Service Engine Soon Light came on again, and the vehicle was still making “knocking and thumping” noises.
Buyer again returned the vehicle to El Camino Auto Sales a few days later for repairs. Dealer kept the Murano for 4 days performing unknown repairs and charging Buyer for half of the costs. Buyer asked for an invoice when he picked up the car but was never provided one.
Over the next few months, the “knocking and thumping” noises returned so Buyer retained LemonLawAutoFraud’s attorneys for help. Shortly thereafter, the Murano began to exhibit no-start symptoms and eventually became completely inoperable. Our highly experienced Lemon Law attorneys discovered that the underlying problem was a defect in the timing-chain system which El Camino Auto Sales never repaired and led to severe engine damage.
As a result of our efforts, El Camino Auto Sales agreed to settle the case by cancelling the contract, paying Buyer’s damages, and paying for Buyer’s attorney fees and costs. In total, the dealership paid over $68,000.
A first-time car buyer working her way through college had always wanted a Dodge Charger. While browsing craigslist for used vehicles, she thought she found her dream car when she saw dealer Southcoast Automotive Liquidators (dba Discount Auto Plaza)’s advertisement for a 2009 black Dodge Charger priced at $9,995.00. Unbeknownst to the buyer, Discount Auto Plaza did not have the car they were advertising, and were unlawfully engaging in bait and switch advertising to trick used car buyers to come into their dealership, where they could more easily take advantage of them.
Buyer lived in Oxnard and Discount Auto Plaza was located in South Gate. Before Buyer and her mother made the long drive to South Gate, Buyer’s mother called the dealership to confirm the vehicle was still available and spoke an employee named Sergio. During that phone call, which was in Spanish, Sergio confirmed that the exact Charger they saw on craigslist was available – reiterating that the car had 42,000 miles and was the only black Charger on the Dealer’s lot. Sergio further stated that although the Charger was priced at $9,995, Discount Auto Plaza’s manager could lower the price to $9,000 if they came in.
A few days later, Buyer’s stepfather called the dealership to again confirm the Discount Auto had the Charger in stock before traveling down to the dealer. A female employee again confirmed the Charger was still available for $9,995.00 with 42,000 miles. After being assured twice by two separate Dealer employees that the Charger had 42,000 miles and was available for the advertised price, Buyer and her mother drove to South Gate to view the Charger.
When the Buyer and her mother arrived at Discount Auto and asked to see Sergio about buying the Charger, a salesman named Ali misrepresented that he was Sergio and showed them a black Charger with 107,000 miles on the odometer. When Buyer asked to see the Charger with 42,000 miles, Ali stated that Discount Auto Plaza did not have a Dodge Charger with 42,000 miles, and instead stated “this will be an excellent replacement”.
The Dodge Charger offered had 107,000 miles and the buyer noticed that there was no sticker or sales price on the vehicle. Buyer also noticed some dents and scratches outside, rips and tears inside, and a warning light flashing on the console. Ali promised that Discount Auto would fix all of the problems if Buyer purchased the Charger. When Buyer’s mother questioned Ali about lowering the price to $9,000 as she discussed over the phone, she was told that “the $9,000 price is for cash buyers only.” Needing to purchase a car that night, the buyer agreed to buy the car with considerably higher mileage for $9,995.
Ali then handed Buyer off to another Discount Auto Plaza employee named Lupe, who went over the purchase paperwork. There, Buyer noticed in the stack of sales documents that Discount Auto was selling the vehicle for $16,995, a full $7,000 higher than Ali had stated the Charger was being sold for.
When Buyer and her mom questioned Lupe about why the selling price was $7,000 higher than what they agreed, Lupe replied, “We’re just throwing numbers out there just to get started” and added, “All those numbers will change once your credit is approved. That is not the amount you will end up paying.” Lupe further stated that “In six months, we’ll switch the finance company, and the price will decrease drastically, and in the end, the price will be $11,000.
When Buyer’s mother asked what the numbers in the boxes that list annual percentage rate, finance charge, amount financed, and total payments on the sales contract meant, Lupe told her to “ignore the numbers, they don’t mean anything, all the numbers will be fixed. You are not paying the amounts in the boxes.” Buyer’s mother questioned Lupe if she was sure, and again brought up that the Dodge Charger was advertised for $9,995. Lupe said, “I’m sure, you can trust me!” Buyer relied on all of the representations made by Discount Auto Plaza and signed the documents where Lupe told her to sign without further explanation. Further, the purchase was eventually financed by Veros Credit but the numbers in the sales documents never changed.
While signing the Sale’s contract, Buyer heard a loud commotion outside the room and a woman scream, “oh my god, he hit Sergio!” Ali and Sergio had apparently gotten into a physical fight over who was going to get the commission over Buyer purchasing the Charger while buyer was signing the sales documents. Shortly thereafter, the police arrived, and while Buyer and her mother wanted to leave, they couldn’t because Discount Auto Plaza had taken her driver’s license and wouldn’t return it until after the sales paperwork was finished.
Lupe then presented Buyer with a contract cancellation option agreement, which gives a consumer the opportunity to purchase a right to cancel the contract option, but misled Buyer by stating that by Buyer signing it, Buyer couldn’t cancel the contract. Discount Auto Plaza also added an additional $895 charge for “GAP” insurance, (Guaranteed Asset Protection), without giving the buyer the option to choose not to purchase it. Further, although Buyer and her mother only spoke Spanish with both Sergio and Lupe regarding the sale of the car, none of the sales documents were in Spanish as required by California law.
After signing the purchase documents, Buyer pointed out to Lupe the Dodge Charger’s damage that needed to be fixed as agreed, and Lupe took photographs. Discount Auto’s manager came out shortly thereafter, and told Buyer she needed to take the car home that day, but she could make an appointment to return the Charger for repairs. The manager promised that if anything was wrong with the Charger, the Dealer would fix it, including the dents and scratches outside, rips and tears inside, and a warning light flashing on the console. Although Lupe and Buyer exchanged several text messages in Spanish after the purchase, confirming what the Dealer had agreed to repair, Discount Auto never made the repairs as promised, violating California’s Lemon Law.
About a month after purchase, the Charger began overheating and had problems with the air conditioning. Buyer was forced to take the Charger to an independent repair shop, Auto Tech in Oxnard, to have it inspected and get an estimate for repairs because Dealer refused to accept the vehicle for repairs as promised. Auto Tech’s technician informed the Buyer that the Charger needed numerous repairs including: new spark plugs, new air filter, new cabin filter, that the air condition was not working, that there was coolant leaking from the upper coolant outlet, the front and rear brakes were only at 30% and the front and rear tires were only at 40%.
Shortly thereafter, buyer retained our firm against Discount Auto Plaza regarding their acts of fraud, misrepresentations, false advertising, bait and switch advertising, selling a vehicle over its advertised price, forced placement of GAP insurance, and failure to repair the subject vehicle under California’s Lemon Law.
Discount Auto Plaza refused to cooperate, and forced the matter to trial, where the court awarded our client full rescission (cancellation) of the sales contract, plus an additional award of $15,409.95, as well as another $23,114.93 in civil penalties due to their willful dishonesty, and further ordered the dealership to pay the buyer’s attorney’s fees. Discount Auto Plaza decided to appeal the judgment, but lost again, and was ordered to pay the additional attorney’s fees arising out of the buyer having to defend the appeal.
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.
The car owner began experiencing problems with her vehicle after the presumption period, which in California is within the 18 month or 18,000 miles from when the vehicle was first purchased. The owner contacted the Mercedes-Benz Customer Assistance Center and was erroneously told by a representative of the manufacturer that her vehicle would not qualify to be repurchased or replaced under the California lemon law because it was outside the presumption period.
Several times the owner took her Mercedes SL550 in to the dealership for transmission and electrical issues only to be told that no fault could be found. On one occasion, the owner brought her vehicle to a dealership because the vehicle intermittently would not start. After keeping the SL550 for several days, a service writer told the owner that the service department could not duplicate her issues and asked her to pick up her vehicle. When she went in to pick up the SL550, the vehicle did not start in the service drive. Still, the owner was told that her vehicle did not qualify under the California Lemon Law.
The owner was worried for her safety and decided to retain a California lemon law lawyer for help in returning her defective Mercedes SL550. While the vehicle's defects and nonconformities continued, her case was again rejected for being outside the presumption period.
Finally, the SL550 owner contacted the Law Offices of Robert B. Mobasseri and within 30 days of the manufacturer receiving a demand, and without any admission of liability or conceding the merit of any of the consumer's claims, the manufacturer offered to repurchase the owner's vehicle and waive any mileage offset that the manufacturer was entitled to by law.
After eight unsuccessful attempts to have his 2006 Mercedes-Benz SL65 repaired at three different local dealerships, the car owner called the Mercedes-Benz Customer Assistance phone number to request that the manufacturer repurchase or replace his defective Mercedes-Benz SL65. The vehicle was experiencing problems with its Brakes, Active Body Control (ABC) System, Transmission, Electrical System, Check Engine Lights and various other defects and nonconformities. The owner's Mercedes SL65 had been in for repair 8 times for a total of 28 days.
One month later, the owner called to check on the status of his request and to inform MBUSA that his SL65 had been in for 3 more repair attempts totaling 5 additional days. The Mercedes vehicle owner was informed that MBUSA was still looking into his repair history.
Over the next few weeks the Mercedes SL65 went in for repairs 2 more times totaling an additional 11 days. Almost 2 months after first contacting the Mercedes-Benz Customer Assistance department, and with a vehicle that had been in for 13 separate repair attempts totaling 44 days, the owner of the defective Mercedes received a letter from Mercedes-Benz USA informing the consumer that his vehicle did not meet the standards of California Lemon Law, but that MBUSA would offer him the reimbursement of two of his payments as an act of "Goodwill".
Within the next 30 days, the Mercedes SL65 went back in to the service department 4 more times for an additional 9 more days. The vehicle owner wrote the Head of Service for Mercedes-Benz and the Head of Mercedes-Benz Western Region informing them that he had a vehicle that qualified to be replaced or repurchased under the California Lemon Law and that Mercedes was not adhering to the applicable California lemon law statutes. The SL65 owner suggested that he would get a lawyer if Mercedes did not meet its legal obligations.
2 days later, the owner of the defective Mercedes-Benz SL65 discovered that the passenger side of his vehicle has collapsed due to another problem with the vehicle's ABC system. The owner calls the department head of Mercedes Customer Assistance Center to inform him of the situation and express that the vehicle must be repurchased pursuant to California's Lemon Law.
Disregarding the owner's safety, the Mercedes Customer Assistance Center Department Head attempted to diagnose the vehicle over the phone and have the owner drive the defective vehicle to the second closest dealership to the owner to be examined. The owner refused and when the tow truck driver arrived, the owner was warned that driving the vehicle with the collapsed system like it was could have likely put the driver in a life-threatening situation.
The owner again sent requests to the same department heads of Mercedes apprising them of the newest developments and requesting his vehicle being repurchased. The owner received a reply email that the Department Head of Mercedes Customer Assistance Center was “empowered” to make decisions on behalf of MBUSA and that a specialist will look at the owner's vehicle.
At the dealership, the service writer looked over the vehicle's service history and volunteered information that the vehicle should have been repurchased for at least 2 separate issues. The owner relayed the service writer's comment on to the heads of Mercedes-Benz and 2 days later an offer from the Customer Assistance Center on behalf of the manufacturer agreed to repurchase the owner’s vehicle. The letter stated that a third party group would calculate a reimbursement amount based on state lemon laws.
The Impartial Group's Buyback Calculations
A few weeks after Mercedes had agreed to buyback the vehicle, a representative from the impartial group called to introduce himself and inform the owner how long the repurchase would take and what procedures were going to be involved. The impartial representative asked the owner if he had an idea of what the dollar amount or calculation of the repurchase would be. The owner, instead of answering, asked the representative what calculation he had come up with and was informed that it should be around $70,600. The owner informed the representative that by law the repurchase amount should be around $75,000 to which the impartial representative said OK, and that he would get in touch with MBUSA.
About 2 weeks later the representative called the owner and left message informing that he (the impartial representative) had made a mistake in his calculations and that he would send the owner a fax with MBUSA’s adjusted offer. The adjusted "repurchase offer" that followed was for $21,172.26
The owner called the impartial representative confused as to why the offer was so much lower than both his and the representative’s initial calculations and expressed his dissatisfaction. The impartial representative suggested that the Lemon law may not apply and that perhaps MBUSA was simply making the offer as a “good will” gesture. The impartial representative informed the plaintiff that he would talk with MBUSA and get back to the owner as soon as he got a response.
A couple of weeks later after leaving the impartial representative several messages asking for an update, the representative informed the owner that the offer had not changed and was firm. The owner was informed that it was a “proactive repurchase and has nothing to do with the Lemon Law”. When asked by the owner if the impartial representative was truly impartial, the representative acknowledged that while the group used the word impartial in their name, the group was not actually impartial as they worked directly for the manufacturer. The owner was told that a process had to be in place, and that MBUSA hired the Impartial Group to facilitate that process. The owner expressed his disappointment and dissatisfaction.
A few weeks later, the owner again called the representative who stated that MBUSA had advised him that the vehicle did not qualify as a Lemon under the applicable statutes (despite MBUSA’s previous admission in writing that in fact it did qualify), but that the representative "will calculate reimbursement amount based on applicable state lemon laws and contact you to review and obtain verbal acceptance of the calculation”. The owner received a “revised repurchase offer” for $32,858.75 made by MBUSA.
Recognizing that the representative was not impartial and that the manufacturer was not going to follow the buyback calculation as outlined by the California lemon law because they claimed they were only repurchasing the vehicle as a “good will” gesture, the owner retained the Law Offices of Robert B. Mobasseri.
Shortly thereafter, without any admission of liability or conceding the merit of any of the owner's claims, the manufacturer repurchased the owner’s vehicle, followed the calculation for reimbursement outlined by the California lemon law and paid additional monies to the buyer.
The buyer agreed to the settlement and chose not to pursue the manufacturer or the "Impartial Group" for fraud in court.
Car buyer went into a dealership to purchase a new car and was asked to sign a blank credit application to have his "credit checked". The buyer purchased a 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLS63.
Almost immediately after purchasing the vehicle, the buyer discovered that the vehicle had damage and that some of the items listed on the vehicle's window sticker as included were missing. The dealership told the buyer that he would need to purchase the missing items. The buyer expressed dissatisfaction and requested that the dealership take back the Mercedes CLS63. The dealership refused to take back the vehicle, but offered to sell the buyer a different vehicle instead. Reluctantly the buyer purchased a 2009 S550 and the dealer used the 2 day old CLS63 as a trade-in with negative equity against the new car.
The buyer complained several times of the vehicle's cost as well as to the additional services that the finance manager insisted were required to make the exchange, but that were listed on the paperwork as an option. The buyer felt pressured into purchasing the $102,630.00 Mercedes-Benz S550.
On both sales, the loan application for the cars were not filled out by the buyer, but instead were filled out by one or more employees of the dealership in different handwriting. In filling out the credit applications, the dealership misspelled the buyer's name and address; the dealership grossly inflated buyer's income much higher than what he informed the dealership that he made; the dealership fictitiously added rental income that the buyer did not have; the dealership fictitiously added a $400,000 investment portfolio to the credit application that did not exist; the dealership self-appraised and/or exaggerated the value of two properties owned by the buyer; the dealership grossly exaggerated the buyer's length of employment and fictitiously stated that the buyer was retired.
The buyer tried several times to return vehicle to dealership and asked for copies of his loan and credit applications. The dealership refused to give the buyer copies of his credit applications and instead responded by the General Manager of the dealership calling to threaten the filing of a malicious lawsuit against the buyer.
The buyer retained the Law Offices of Robert B. Mobasseri to request an immediate repurchase and/or rescission of his vehicle and be reimbursed for all related expenses to both vehicles. In return, the buyer would not pursue charges of fraud against the dealership in court.
The dealership, without any admission of liability or conceding the merit of any of the consumer's claim, offered within 30 days of receiving the demand by the Law Offices of Robert. B Mobasseri, to rescind the buyer's vehicle contract and reimburse the buyer for all expenses related to the purchase of both vehicles.