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Volkswagen Passat

Consumer protection used car needed five repairs in the first month

Settlement:   S21.540,00
Case Type:   Lemon Law, Motor Vehicle - Lemon Law
Case:   Mychal Henry vs. Autoworld US No, 35173
Venue:   Education & Assistance Corp., Smithtown, NY
Judge:   Sheldon Lasher
Date:   Friday, September 08, 2006
Plaintiff Attorney(s):   Anthony T, Ballato; Massapequa, NY, For Mychal Henry
Defendant Attorney(s):   Milton Grunwald; Grunwald Seman, PC; Garden City. NY. For Autoworld US
Facts:   In February 2006, claimant Mychal Henry purchased a used 2005 Volkswagen Passat. In addition to the $21,792 purchase, he purchased an extended Manufacturer's warranty. Henry claimed that the vehicle subsequently experienced functional problems, that began in March 2006, He contended that the vehicle had repeated problems with the tail lights and other defects. During that month, Henry claimed that he took the car on five separate occasions to have adjustments and/or repairs attempted. The result of that work, Henry claimed that the vehicle accumulated more than 16 days of repair-shop time. Henry contended that the problems were not resolved and tried to return the vehicle, but it was refused by the dealership, Patchogue, N,Y,-based, Autoworld USA. Henry sought recovery via application of the Used Car Lemon law, General Business Law article 11-A, § 198-b et seq. He noted that the vehicle had exceeded the law's threshold that dictates that a vehicle may not under three repair attempts and/or be out of service for 15 days during the first 90 days or 4,000 miles following its purchase. The matter was scheduled to proceed to an arbitration hearing. Henry commenced Lemon Law proceeding pro se. Prior to the arbitration date, Henry retained counsel to negotiate a settlement or attend the Lemon Law arbitration. Autoworld US disputed Henry's allegations and claimed that he failed to establish problem or covered parts under the warranty, let alone substantial impairment of the value of the vehicle, and that because of that, the vehicle did not meet the threshold set by the Better Business Law for Used Vehicles, Defense counsel alleged that Henry's claims for repair were unsubstantiated and never presented to Autoworld USA to view and confirm any alleged problems or provide them with a reasonable period of time to allow them an attempt to repair the car.
Injury:   Henry claimed that the vehicle subsequently experienced malfunctions of its taillights and other defects. He contended that these problems compromised the vehicles, safety and performance. Henry sought recovery of $21,792, which represented the vehicle's full replacement value. He also sought recovery of the extended warranty price and arbitration's cost, which Included the $120 filing fee. Autoworld USA claimed that there was nothing wrong with the car and contended that It never saw the records of the repairs Henry claimed that the vehicle needed. It further claimed that the vehicle in question was in such good condition that it could be resold without any loss in the original sale price. Defense counsel claimed that, prior to the claim, Henry apparently could not manage the unexpected toll of the monthly charges he was required to pay his bank and that his claim was an example of "buyer's remorse"
Verdict:   The parties agreed to a $21,540 settlement prior to the lemon-law arbitration hearing. The settlement consisted of 100% of the vehicles purchase price, 90% of the intended warranty, and $120 toward the filing fees. This was credited against the purchase price of a replacement vehicle selected by Henry from the dealers stock, which was $5,345 less than the one he had originally purchased, and the option to refinance the different vehicle at substantially lower interest rate.

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