Main Menu

Lemon Law New Car Purchase

Case Type:   Lemon Law New Car Purchase
Case:   Heather Edenbaum v. Hyundai Motors America
Plaintiff Attorney(s):   Anthony T. Ballato, Esq., of Massapequa, NY
Defendant Attorney(s):   Suzanne E. Taylor, Senior Manager and Peter K. Hillman, District Parts & Service Manager for Hyundai of Jamesburg, N.Y.
Facts:   The consumer purchased a new 2016 Hyundai Tucson on January 28, 2016, with a 1.6-liter turbo engine and a dual drive clutch transmission (“DCT”). Within one month of driving the vehicle, the consumer began to experience intermittent engine problems with the acceleration mechanism of the car. In May of that year, the consumer experienced a frightening incidence when her car stalled on an interstate entrance ramp upon acceleration from a stopped position. Shortly thereafter, the consumer began experiencing significantly dangerous transmission problems resulting in the vehicle erratically “lurching” forward or hesitating upon acceleration and upon changing gears. The vehicle was brought to the dealer numerous times for engine and transmission repairs between June of 2016 and June of 2017. Despite the number of attempts made by the consumer to resolve the issues, the dealership failed to fix the problems. Diagnostic tests revealed no code errors and the dealership concluded that the jerking of the vehicle was the DCT engaging which was considered to be “normal” and that the vehicle drove “as designed”. The vehicle was subject to at least six repairs and “out of service” (not “in the shop”) for over one year. Despite two recalls on the DCT, both of which were said to have been “resolved” by the Dealership, the problems continued and consumer felt it was unsafe to drive the vehicle. After the consumer’s multiple complaints and numerous attempts to have the engine and transmission problems went unresolved, the consumer contacted Hyundai’s corporate office. Ms. Edenbaum was assigned a case manager but after nearly two months of silence from their initial communication, Ms. Edenbaum retained the Law Office of Mr. Anthony Ballato to represent her. Mr. Ballato sent a demand letter to Hyundai Motor America demanding they repurchase the consumer’s vehicle pursuant to New York Lemon Law and the Federal Magnusson Moss Warranty Act. Hyundai Motors contested the consumer’s complaints despite having received multiple nationwide complaints of a similar nature concerning the erratic hesitation and lurching on Hyundai’s 1.6-liter Engine DCT Tucson. Mr. Ballato filed for arbitration pursuant to the New York Lemon Law and on December 19, 2017, an arbitration hearing was held. Hyundai Motors took the position that “some drivers have a tendency to drive in such a manner that they can create a condition that may cause a normal operating characteristic to be more noticeable”. Additionally, Hyundai stated that “some people have a tendency to tune in to a subjective issue, especially once they are aware of its existence”. In short, they blamed the consumer’s driving as the source of the problem.
Verdict:   At the hearing, Mr. Ballato produced witness testimony of the owner and her two co-workers to conclusively show that this was not within “normal operating characteristics of the DCT” but rather a chronic material product defect. During the test drive with the arbitrator, the vehicle exhibited “lurching” while coming to a stop as observed by all passengers. The Arbitrator issued a ruling in the consumer’s favor and ordered that Hyundai by back the vehicle for a total award of $34, 094.50.

Lemon Law Cases