A Connecticut consumer recently won an Auto Warranty claim in United States District Court. The consumer had sued Brandfon Honda in Branford Connecticut. The dealership had sold the vehicle pictured above as a certified-pre owned car. The jury found that the dealership had breached an Auto Warranty and that it violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The above photo shows the car after the first of two accidents in 2014. The car had been hit on the passenger side by a frozen lemonade truck in Rhode Island. The side airbag deployed, and the car suffered structural damage. The cost of repairs was over $10,000. Three month’s later, the car was involved in a front-end collision, causing additional structural damage. The cost of repairs for the second accident was more than $5,000.
Brandfon Honda later purchased the car at auction and, despite these prior accidents, advertised the car as a “Certified Pre-Owned” vehicle. The car was not eligible for inclusion in the Honda certification program, because cars with prior structural repairs are automatically excluded under Honda’s guidelines.
The Carfax report for the car did not list the accidents at the time of the sale, but it did begin reporting them about two months later.
The consumer learned of the prior accidents about two years later, when he tried to trade the car in at a different dealership. He arranged for an independent inspection, and an auto body expert told him that the car was not safe to drive because the airbags might not deploy properly in the event of another accident.
The consumer retained Consumer Law Group, and with the firm’s assistance, he returned the car and demanded that the sale be canceled and that his money be refunded. When the dealership refused, Consumer Law Group filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court.
In addition to finding that Brandfon Honda had breached Auto Warranties and had violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, the jury also found that the consumer was justified in returning the car and that he was entitled to a refund.
The jury also found that Brandfon Honda intentionally and wantonly breached an Auto Warranty or that it acted with reckless disregard of the consumer’s rights in breaching that warranty. This finding permits the trial judge to impose punitive damages on the dealership in addition to the more than $15,000 awarded by the jury. The consumer is also entitled to claim attorney’s fees.
Consumer Law Group has successfully handled many cases involving auto dealer fraud, including claims that dealerships improperly sold previously wrecked vehicles under manufacturers’ certified pre-owned programs.