Is Chrysler’s Bankruptcy Affecting Your Rights?
No doubt you have read all about the Chrysler bankruptcy in the headlines. It has been covered by print outlets and blogs throughout the Country, or perhaps you heard Kimmel and Silverman attorney Bob Silverman discuss the situation on the local news. All current Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep owners and anyone who intends to purchase one of these cars in the near future has hit a pothole when it comes to their consumer rights under State Lemon Law and Federal Warranty Law.
As a result of the manufacturer filing in bankruptcy court, all lemon law and breach of warranty claims currently in litigation have been “stayed” or stalled until we receive instruction from the court on how to proceed. But that’s not all; we have over 20 consumers waiting for complete repurchases or refunds, agreed upon before the manufacturer filed for bankruptcy, who are now stuck. These folks each have signed releases from the manufacturer. One client is a handicapped woman who desperately needs her Dodge conversion van to get around, and it has been in the shop numerous times for transmission problems. Another client, who has faced tough financial problems himself, already turned his car in and was waiting for his repurchase, and now he has no car, and no money. Plus, being that his creditor was never paid, he is facing the prospect of his lemon car being repossessed and ruining his credit. Dozens of other folks have received checks which have bounced and these checks were dated prior to the 4/30 filing.
Currently, Kimmel and Silverman is working extensively on efforts to make sure Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep consumers are protected. The manufacturers stance (and the PR statement we have heard from Washington DC and DCC headquarters) is your cars will be fully covered under warranty. But, that’s not really the case. If you can find a dealer that hasn’t closed, and they do have the part you need in stock (doubtful as a result of the closed factories and stop in production), what happens if they still can’t fix the problem? If the check engine light keeps coming on? If the water leak keeps reoccurring, resulting in mold? If the windows still don’t go down? If the car still won’t start? And you are back one, two, three, four times? Well, under normal circumstances, you would be able to use your rights under State and Federal Law to seek recourse, either a complete buyback, a new vehicle, or monetary damages to reflect the diminished value of the car as a result of the problems that occurred. But that’s not the case right now. Right now, Chrysler feels you are entitled to nothing other than continuous repair. And, the new company that is looking to take over Chrysler is NOT interested in taking over these responsibilities; they do not want to compensate all the distressed drivers who have suffered defects or are currently suffering defects with their products. The language in their motion is very unclear and contradicts itself.
We are currently working on a motion in an attempt for Chrysler to establish a litigation trust for those people who were entitled to recourse under warranty claims. We will keep you abreast of our progress. In the meantime, we encourage you to reach out to your State’s consumer protection division and attorney general office and make sure they are aware of this situation. Ask them what they are doing to advocate for consumers in perhaps one of the most troubling situations we have ever seen.
Confused? No doubt. if you feel you have a potential DCC lemon law or breach of warranty claim and you would like to discuss this situation and your rights further, please e-mail us or call 1-800 LEMON LAW (1-800-536-6652). (Our firm handles claims in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and New Hampshire. For other states, please visit our page on State Lemon Laws.) We will be more than happy to go over your matter with you.