When an auto maker discovers a manufacturing defect affecting a number of their vehicles, it is their responsibility to take the necessary steps to ensure that the defect is corrected and that owners of the affected vehicles are notified. Recalls are often a last resort, as these can not only cost manufacturers millions, but also, as the recent Toyota controversy demonstrates, cause serious damage to a company’s public image. The decision to issue a recall typically rests on whether the defect carries a significant safety risk and is usually in conjunction with NHTSA studies or support.
Claes Bell of Bankrate.com offers some useful advice for car owners on how to handle a vehicle recall in California and nationwide. First and foremost, Bell urges that owners act quickly upon receipt of a recall notice. Often consumers affected by a recall let the logistics of bringing their car in for repairs overwhelm them. However, putting off getting necessary repairs can greatly increase safety risks.
Second, Bell recommends that the owner keep all documentation relating to recall repairs. Documentation may be needed as evidence the repair was done if the owner wishes to sell the vehicle in the future. Finally, Bell emphasizes that dealerships are required to perform at least one recall repair free of charge. A dealership’s refusal to perform the repair for free should be referred to the NHTSA or to the manufacturer.
In addition to the rights provided under federal recall standards, California has some of the toughest laws regarding consumer protections in the United States. If you feel you have been sold a defective vehicle, you may be entitled to free repairs, a refund of your money in its entirety, or a new car. Call experienced California lemon law attorney Howard D. Silver for a free consultation about your case at (866) 46-LEMON.