The COVID-19 pandemic has affected virtually every aspect of life in California, including car owners’ ability to get their vehicles repaired.
A recent report in the Los Angeles Times detailed an ongoing situation involving the Nissani Brothers Hyundai dealership in Culver City. Car owners who took their vehicles in for repairs say the cars were towed away without warning after the dealership closed in March, supposedly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The car owners found themselves facing thousands of dollars in towing and storage fees, and it appears that the vehicles were never repaired.
Moreover, a spokesperson for Hyundai claims that the vehicles were towed away not because of the COVID-19 shutdown, but because the dealership terminated its relationship with Hyundai.
“This dealership voluntarily ended its relationship with Hyundai on April 6, no longer represents Hyundai as one of its dealers and is closed,” said the Hyundai spokesperson.
“Prior to the closing of the dealership, this dealer moved vehicles that had been dropped off for service to an off-site facility in order to vacate the property, without informing Hyundai nor the customers who had vehicles at the dealership for service and repair,” he said.
An important thing for car owners to understand is that California has some of the strongest consumer protection laws in the world. For example, under California Lemon Law, vehicle owners may be owed refunds for new vehicles that have not been repaired after repeated attempts. Car owners may also be owed compensation for other losses resulting from unfair business practices on the part of dealerships.
For more on these matters, please see our overview of California Lemon Law and consumer protections.