Sometimes that vehicle you delivered just turns out to be a lemon. Los Angeles-based law firm Consumer Law Experts conducted a study to find out how often lemons are rolling over the curb and which automakers manufactured those units.
The firm also made a recommendation on the role dealerships can play to prevent the situation from developing into a legal quagmire impacting everyone involved.
Attorneys searched electronic court filings nationwide to see which automakers had the most lemon law cases filed against them from 2013 through 2016. Consumer Law Experts compared the litigation results to the total U.S. sales for each manufacturer over the same time period.
Out-of-court settlements were not included in the study, the law firm said in a news release announcing its findings.
Consumer Law Experts determined Toyota was the major automaker found least likely to defend themselves in court over a lemon law case with one adverse result per 60,926 vehicles sold in America.
According to Consumer Law Experts, a consumer is eight times more likely to be hit by lightning over a lifetime than to go to court with Toyota on a lemon law claim.
At the other extreme, the firm found BMW was 30 times more likely than Toyota to sell a consumer a defective vehicle. Firm lawyers said they saw a lemon law case filed against BMW once for every 2,021 vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2013 through 2016.
The study showed Ford’s fortunes were not much better, with a lemon law courtroom loss occurring once for every 3,523 units sold. Consumer Law Experts pegged that likelihood as about the same odds that a baby will be born with a tooth.
Is a BMW or Ford vehicle really 20 or 30 times more likely to be a lemon than a Toyota? Probably not, according to Jessica Anvar, managing partner of Consumer Law Experts, a leading California lemon law firm.
“There are many reasons why some manufacturers are more likely to lose a warranty case than others,” Anvar said. “How the dealership resolves consumer complaints is probably the biggest factor.
“The best way to avoid a lemon law case in court is to make the customer happy at the first sign of a problem,” Anvar went on to say.