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Henry Vorderbruggen of Hammer Law on Automotive Lemon Laws and Typical Outcomes of Lemon Law Settlements

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Bumper to Bumper Radio, the car guys on KTAR, 92.3 FM in Phoenix, AZ, broadcast every Saturday from 11:00 am to noon. On this show, Matt Allen of Virginia Auto Service in Phoenix is joined by Henry Vorderbruggen of Hammer Law to discuss lemon laws and why Hammer Law are the experts to see if you suspect your new vehicle is a lemon. Also on this show:

  • Henry’s history as a lawyer and what sets Hammer Law above the rest.
  • How Hammer Law became a consumer advocate for regretful buyers.
  • What defines a car or truck to qualify as a lemon under the lemon law.
  • Are pre-owned vehicles protected under the lemon law?
  • What are the typical outcomes from lemon law settlements?
  • Is the trade-in value of my previous vehicle still refundable under the lemon law?
  • 2015 Toyota Avalon: Do I need to replace the shield beneath my bumper?
  • 1999 Volkswagen Jetta: I was told I need to replace my shocks, struts, and motor mounts. Is this necessary even if I’m not experiencing any negative symptoms?
  • 2002 Honda Accord: Did I somehow disrupt a connection in my vehicle while inspecting it?
  • 2019 Nissan Sentra: My dealership was unable to solve an intermittent issuewith my AC. Where should I turn next?

Cars talked about on this show are the 2015 Toyota Avalon, 1999 Volkswagen Jetta, 2002 Honda Accord, and the 2019 Nissan Sentra.

Click here for access to the full interview on Bumper to Bumper Radio

AZ Foothills-Trendsetter to Know: Henry Vorderbruggen, Attorney & Business Owner at Hammer Law

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A special edition of AZ Foothills called Trendsetters featured Henry as a business leader spotlight. Trendsetters is a feature focusing on professionals and entrepreneurs from all over the state of Arizona who are leading their respected professions as they set new trends in their field of expertise.

 

Click here to read the full article and get to know more about Henry and his career goals!

Free Lemon Law E-book

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cover photo of Lemon Law E-book

Here is everything you need to know about both the Arizona Lemon Law and Federal Lemon Law, inside our new and free Lemon Law E-book. It’s important to know your consumer rights so you can battle these large corporations and get the consultation you deserve. Don’t let a “Lemon” get in the way between you and the road. Download the Free Lemon Law E-book to learn more about its history, client stories, how you may qualify, what the deadlines are, and tons more.

The book goes in-depth on various topics that could be related to your particular case. Topics such as legal options and a step-by-step guide to help you get out of your legal troubles. Your mechanic doesn’t know the actions you can take in order to get the functioning car you deserve. Understand the origins of the law from a local and federal perspective and how Henry can help you fight back. The beauty of the Lemon Law is there’s not just one solution- there are different options if your vehicle qualifies. What might not be a case in Arizona can turn out to qualify at the national level. The Arizona Lemon Law sets clear standards for what qualifies a vehicle as a “Lemon.” However, you will need to take the free assistance from an experienced attorney because to car manufacturers, you’re an inconvenience to them with warranty issues. Become informed today on next steps if you’re struggling with your “Lemon.” The Arizona Lemon Law is there for a reason, use it to your advantage!

How COVID-19 Changed The Lemon Law

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It’s hard to forget the shock of the early months of the pandemic—cities turned to ghost towns, highways silent at rush hour, and businesses and factories sitting empty as millions of people quarantined at home.

Years later, the auto industry is still struggling to adapt to the new world that has emerged, where enhanced safety protocols, supply chain issues, and runaway inflation have wreaked havoc on the marketplace and upended traditional ways of doing business.

THE EFFECTS ON THE INDUSTRY

While online auto retailing was available in many countries prior to the pandemic, the actual sales process has always typically taken place—face-to-face—at the dealership.  And despite some remaining Covid-19-related restrictions, consumers predictably flocked back to showroom floors as the pandemic waned, proving that people still want to personally inspect and test-drive vehicles before committing to a purchase.

Unfortunately for both manufacturers and consumers, inventory issues have derailed what should have been a roaring return to business as normal as geopolitical tensions, parts shortages, and shipping delays continue to plague the industry worldwide.

Supply and demand pressures, combined with record inflation, have squeezed consumers to the brink and sent the average cost of vehicles—both new and used—to astronomical heights.  Consumers “lucky” enough to locate and afford to purchase a vehicle in this environment have quickly realized that the pain doesn’t stop with the buying process.

Persistent supply chain fragility has made getting warranty repairs nearly impossible, with extended waits at overwhelmed dealerships and parts shortages creating lots of frustrated customers.  To make matters worse, most dealerships are often unable to provide loaner vehicles, which puts the average person under a huge financial strain paying for a vehicle they cannot use.

Most people can’t survive long in this situation, leading many consumers to seek restitution under the protection of the Lemon Law.

THE EFFECTS ON THE LEMON LAW

The Lemon Law is based on a simple premise—consumers shouldn’t be expected to pay for a vehicle that doesn’t work and can’t be repaired in a reasonable amount of time.  In cases where repairs have been delayed due to the unavailability of parts, courts have usually sided with consumers.  See Milicevic v. Fletcher Jones Imports, Ltd., 402 F.3d 912, 919 (9th Cir. 2005).

But that historical precedent is now being tested by auto manufacturers seeking to shield themselves from an onslaught of litigation stemming from pandemic-related delays and fed-up customers looking for a way out of their lemon vehicles.

Among other things, manufacturers have argued that the extraordinary effects of the pandemic should trigger the Lemon Law’s force majeure clause, potentially opening an escape hatch from liability.

A Force majeure provision of a contract or statute excuses performance when events beyond the parties’ control render performance unrealistic or impossible.

The Arizona Lemon Law includes such a provision—extending the time period allowed for warranty repairs that “are not available to the consumer because of any war, invasion, strike, fire, flood or other natural disaster.”  See A.R.S. § 44-1264(B) (emphasis added).

And while auto manufacturers would love for courts to interpret “other natural disaster” to mean pandemic, so far courts have been hesitant to re-write the law as it concerns pandemic-era parts delays and Lemon Law claims in Arizona.

At least for the time being, the requirements for a Lemon Law claim remain the same as before the pandemic, which is good news for consumers.  Although not an instant solution, the millions of people who are still dealing with extended delays caused by the ripple effects of Covid-19 at least have some comfort knowing that the Lemon Law remains there to protect them.

 

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/autos/auto-industry-pandemic-changed-everything-n1260926
https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/automotive-and-assembly/our-insights/how-the-automotive-industry-is-accelerating-out-of-the-turn
https://www.americanbar.org/groups/government_public/publications/pass-it-on/spring-2022/spring22-franklin-wind-forcemajeure/

Chrysler Changes its Name (Again)

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If you’re not completely up-to-date on Chrysler’s recent name changes, you can be forgiven because there have been many over the years. Originally founded by Walter Chrysler in 1925, the company now known as Stellantis is still referred to as part of the Big Three – the three biggest American automakers – also including General Motors and Ford.

Over the last century, however, the automaker has teetered repeatedly on the edge of financial ruin. To survive, the company has continually sought out government subsidies and mergers with foreign automakers as a source of support. It was first saved from bankruptcy in the late 1970s by government loan guarantees.

DaimlerChrysler Failed Merger

In 1998, in a deal worth $36 billion, Chrysler was acquired by German automaker Daimler-Benz, and its name was changed to DaimlerChrysler. The merger was not a success, and Daimler sold Chrysler in 2007 to Cerberus, a private equity firm in the U.S., for $7.4 billion. Just a year later, the financial collapse proved devastating for Chrysler and the other Big Three automakers, forcing yet another restructuring for the beleaguered company.

FCA is Formed

Chrysler cut thousands of jobs and closed factories, and work on future products was mostly curtailed. On April 30, 2009, Chrysler filed for bankruptcy. General Motors filed for bankruptcy later that year, and while everyone seemed to agree that GM was too big to fail, officials were divided as to whether the government should save the smaller Chrysler corporation.

In the end, the government came to the rescue again, providing loans totaling more than $10 billion, and when Chrysler exited bankruptcy, it had a patchwork of owners including both the U.S. and Canadian governments, the United Auto Workers pension fund, and the Italian-owned Fiat corporation. By 2014, Fiat had acquired Chrysler, which then became a full subsidiary and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) was born.

Stellantis

In 2021, FCA completed a merger with the French PSA Group and changed its name (again) to Stellantis. The company is now the fourth-largest automaker worldwide. While profitable brands such as Jeep and Ram are assured of their place in the manufacturer’s future plans, the oldest and more recognized brands of Chrysler and Dodge may eventually be retired. So despite the fact that Walter Chrysler’s original company remains alive in some form, the namesake brand may soon fade from the American lexicon completely.

Read more details about the formation of Stellantis in Car and Driver magazine, and in MotorTrend magazine.