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Many consumers purchase Hyundai vehicles because they are cost effective, and the manufacturer offers long warranties. However, the automaker has recently become known for selling vehicles with defective battery systems. In fact, a class action lawsuit alleges Hyundai knew about the problem before the first recall was ever issued, and this is not the first time Hyundai class action lawsuits have been filed.
Hyundai isn’t the first manufacturer to sell vehicles with hazardous batteries. It’s essential to understand that under California’s Lemon Law, vehicle manufacturers have responsibilities — and consumers have rights. If you purchased a defective vehicle such as a Hyundai, you might be able to hold the automaker accountable for selling you a vehicle that did not conform to its warranty.
Despite the manufacturer’s reputation for reliability, a problem was discovered with the 2019-2020 Kona Electric and the 2020 Ioniq Electric batteries found in Hyundai’s SUVs and cars. Those who owned and leased the affected vehicles were advised by the manufacturer to park outside due to the risk of fire which was supposedly linked to the defective batteries — at least 13 battery fires occurred and are under investigation by Hyundai.
More than 80,000 vehicles were recalled by the manufacturer in October 2020 due to the battery issue with repairs estimated at $900 million. Specifically, the recalled vehicles were all equipped with battery cells made in the LG Energy Solutions China plant in Nanjing. The problem stems from the Anode tab on the defective cells which can be folded allowing the Lithium plating to come into contact with the Cathode. When this occurs, an electrical short can result.
Hyundai will be replacing the defective batteries as part of the recall. The manufacturer recommends owners adjust the maximum charge level to 80% while they are waiting for the repair.
California’s Lemon Law sets forth stringent criteria that must be satisfied in order for a vehicle to qualify as a lemon — and for you to obtain the refund or replacement vehicle to which you’re entitled. Just because a car is subject to a recall or class action doesn’t necessarily mean it is a lemon. To invoke the lemon law, the vehicle must still be under the original manufacturer’s warranty and fail to conform to it.
A reasonable number of repair attempts must also be made before a car can qualify as a lemon. Generally, four repair attempts will suffice to bring a lemon law claim. However, only two repair attempts are needed if the problem is one that could cause injury or fatality to the driver, their passengers, or others on the road. A vehicle might also be a lemon if it was in the repair shop for 30 days or more and the defect was not fixed.
A Hyundai, or any other vehicle, may also be presumed to be a lemon if the defect arose within the first 18 months of the vehicle’s delivery or within the first 18,000 miles driven.
A class action lawsuit, Siamak Kermani, v. Hyundai Motor America, et al., was filed in California in June as a result of the battery defect. The Hyundai class action lawsuit alleges that Hyundai knew about the dangerous battery system but refused to make repairs and informed owners that there was no actual remedy. Additionally, the lawsuit argues that the software updates offered by Hyundai did nothing to fix the defect. The class action — which is ongoing — seeks buy-back refunds for the affected vehicles under the California Lemon Law.
Whether you own a Hyundai or another vehicle, you might be wondering what a manufacturer’s responsibilities are under the lemon law. Unfortunately, many people think they have limited options if they purchased a lemon — but if a manufacturer sells a faulty vehicle, they may be required to replace it or refund the buyer the purchase price under the lemon law.
A manufacturer also has obligations to notify owners if they become aware of a problem with their vehicles. By law, automakers must also offer warranties that address these protections. Owners must be informed within 60 days of a recall being issued, and repairs should be provided by the manufacturer at no cost. While many recalls are issued voluntarily by the manufacturer, some are ordered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Regardless of your warranty, it’s crucial to be aware that the manufacturer must provide you with at least the minimum protection guaranteed by California’s Lemon Law if you purchased the vehicle within the state.
If you purchased a Hyundai with a defective battery or another problem that makes it fail to conform to its warranty, you might be entitled to a legal remedy under California’s Lemon Law. A skilled lemon law attorney can best advise you and help to ensure you obtain a positive resolution in your case. The lemon law attorneys at The Ledbetter Law Firm are dedicated to achieving the best possible results for each of their clients for the inconvenience they experienced due to buying a lemon.
The Ledbetter Law Firm assists people in Southern California who have experienced lemon law issues with their vehicles in obtaining favorable outcomes in their cases. With offices conveniently located in Torrance and San Diego, California, telephone and video conferencing options are also available. Call (424) 407-3487 to schedule a consultation with a California Lemon Law attorney today.