From WPXI TV in Pittsburgh- Woman gets refund from GM after filing suit about sliding doors problem.

November 15, 2007
By: LemonLaw

From WPXI TV Pittsburgh airing last night…. 

Some Mini Vans Put Local Families At Risk

Families buy them for room and safety, but some minivans are now scaring local drivers. Lisa Ray, of Penn Hills, said she got a sweet deal on her 2005 Chevy Uplander. She bought it new and it came with a television and all the bells and whistles.

Kelly Zajicek, of Allenport, said all of her friends were excited when she bought her new 2007 Chevy Uplander van last spring. She finally had a vehicle big enough to carry her daughter and several fellow cheerleaders to practice and games. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before Zajicek started having trouble with her van. “This right door will open sporadically by itself. It will not close properly. It’s opened going down the highway,” Zajicek said. That’s right, opened while the van was moving. It happened one time when Zajicek was going 55 mph on the highway with her daughter and friends in the van. Dani Zajicek said, “It flew open and me and another girl was in the car and we were scared that we were going to fall out or something was going to happen.”

Lisa Ray said she had very similar problems with her power doors. Her right passenger van door popped open as she was driving and her 4-year-old and 13-year-old daughters were in the car. Her daughter Taylor Ray Jetter said, “I looked at my sister and she starts screaming the door is opening I’m going to fall out.” Ray now puts her 4-year-old in the opposite seat.

Channel 11 searched the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) database and discovered over 20 complaints about similar problems with the Uplander’s doors. The Uplander isn’t the only GM made van with door complaints. There have also been similar complaints for the Pontiac Montana, Saturn Relay, and Buick Terraza.

This doesn’t surprise Bob Silverman of Kimmel and Silverman, a law firm that specializes in the lemon law. Silverman said, “I’ve had clients, hundreds of clients, complain of doors not closing, popping open when they felt they were closed, warning buzzers going off and actually some of my clients saying the doors are opening while driving. Very serious issues.” Silverman said despite repeated complaints,GM has never issued a recall for the vans.

Ray and Zajicek took their vans back to the dealers several times. Zajicek said, “I had the vehicle for 12 days the first month I owned it. It was at the dealership the whole time trying to get this door replaced.” In all she has documentation that shows she took it back to the dealer five times between in the six months she had the car. Ray also took her van back to the dealer several times. Despite several attempts to fix the problem he said, “I’m being told there is nothing wrong with the van.” Zajicek contacted General Motors. “Sometimes they didn’t even listen to my concerns and validate them. They’d open up a case and not follow through with it.”

Silverman has heard that complaint before, “With these Uplanders we saw a huge trend in the beginning where manufactures instructed dealers, on the side, don’t find anything wrong, it’s normal, clean the contacts, it could be debris or something causing the door to fly open. It isn’t.” Finally, Zajicek contacted Silverman. Within two weeks she got good news. “They are going to buy back the vehicle which means I will not have to worry about my family’s safety. GM is doing the right thing.” And Zajicek does not pay any attorney fees. Silverman said the quick resolution of Zajicek’s case is a little unusual. “That case involved a newer vehicle with repairs that occurred faster under PA law and where the cable actually snapped. Once where the door did open when driving and essentially there is no way to deny it on GM’s part,” according to Silverman. Zajicek also had all her repair work and phone calls documented which made filing the claim easier. Silverman said, “A lot of manufacturers including GM tend to do what is right. “

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3 Responses to “From WPXI TV in Pittsburgh- Woman gets refund from GM after filing suit about sliding doors problem.”

  1. #1 Kelly Janachovsky says:

    My childrens fingers and arms were hurt in a Pontiac Montana. If you could help with our case I would appreciate it. Thank you( a caring mother of 6 children) Kelly Janachovsky

    • #2 Flug says:

      I’ve have also heard that many people complain of doors not closing, popping open when they felt they were closed, saying the doors are opening while driving. GM must have a serial issue for that problem. It’s really a dangerous thing and would lead to terrible accidents.

      • #3 Amy Mercer says:

        I have, well had a 2006 Chevy Uplander that I purchased last year from a well-known and respected local used car dealership. We liked the affordability and the room it gave us being that we were having our third child. Well, about 7-10 days after purchasing the van I began to have problems with the automatic doors. Mostly the passenger door. Sometimes after I would close the doors, they would open and begin beeping. Even after closing them manually the beeping would continue for hours, I actually had it beep off and on for weeks. The first time I took it to the dealership they took it back, played with it a bit then told me to come back, when I could leave it. I took it back a week or so later (when it messed up again) and left it. They cleaned out the track and lubricated it and cleaned the contact sensor plate. Said that was about all they knew to do. (they were a used car lot, not a chevy dealer) It was only a temporary fix, the doors again messed up- opening by themselves or not closing all the way. I even tried cutting off the automatic doors with the buttons in the overhead console, It still happened. This was a continuous problem, but what do you do, after having the car several months – I hated to call the dealership thinking “it’s my car, my problem” – But I also hated to take it to our local Chevy dealer knowing it would cost me and arm and a leg and whose to say if it would be a permanent fix.
        Well, this morning while I was at my grandmother’s -my Chevy Uplander cought on fire! After the fire department came they thought it was an electrical fire that stemmed from the motor for my door on the passenger side. My car was totalled in a matter of minutes, I had just been out there and was making my youngest a bottle when I noticed the smoke, thought it was the neighbor grilling or burning something in his yard – gave him the bottle then remembered I didn’t get something out of the car I needed – I walked out there to see it was my car smoking, I ran,opened the driver’s door and could feel the heat of the flames on my face and hands as I quickly grabbed what I needed and ran in to call 911. This all transpired in 5-10 minutes-if not less because I had just been out to the car, what if we were going to school and I forgot something and ran back in the house??? My child’s carseat was melted!!!! What if we were driving down the road, and we were all in there, could I have stopped and gotten everyone out safely in time. I kept asking myself what if ?
        After seeing that there have been several problems with the Uplander, I am OUTRAGED that GM/Chevy hasn’t done something before now. Don’t make automatic doors, manual would have been just fine with me!!!

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