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Car Manufacturers Disguise Defects Though "Service Campaigns"

Wednesday, August 08, 2018By Nina Shapirshteyn

Car manufacturers have increasingly used a tactic to minimize safety concerns according to industry experts. Automakers may announce “bulletins” or “service campaigns” to notify consumers of defects without issuing a formal recall. Consumer advocate groups have objected to this practice since identifying a defect as something other than a recall implies that the issue is not safety related. This could result in consumers disregarding the announcement and failing to contact dealers to repair the problem. Experts caution that failing to properly characterize a defect could lead to drivers operating vehicles with conditions that could cause serious injuries or death. There have been several examples of this practice in the headlines in recent months that have posed significant risks to drivers and owners.

Ford Carbon Monoxide Complaints

Many owners of Ford Explorers filed complaints about carbon monoxide exposure in the car’s cabin for years before Ford addressed the issue. Even then, the automaker initially only warned car dealers rather than consumers about the issue. Ford alerted its dealers in 2014 of the problem and recommended that they offer free repairs to those who reported a problem. After several reports of collisions by police in Ford Explorers that had been refurbished for police use, the automaker finally offered to repair the leaks but continued to diminish the risks posed by carbon monoxide leaks. Only in late 2017 did Ford offer similar repairs for owners of civilian cars but maintained in its service bulletin that the vehicles were safe to drive. Despite the grave dangers of carbon monoxide inhalation, Ford continued to assert that this this was not a serious problem.

Nissan and Chrysler Downplay Braking Defects

Consumer advocates allege that Nissan and Chrysler have used similar tactics to avoid recalls. Hundreds of consumers filed complaints about the 2009 Nissan Murano suddenly losing braking power. In response, Nissan issued a “customer satisfaction campaign” to invite owners to have their cars repaired. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now investigating these complaints. Chrysler also used a “customer service campaign” announcement to invite Jeep owners to submit their cars for repair. In that case, reports of older Jeep models experiencing sudden explosions when rear-ended led to the deaths of 70 people. Chrysler only recalled some of the affected cars and announced that the other owners were eligible to take part in the voluntary service campaign.

If you or a member of your family suffered injury or death as a result of negligence or a defective automobile, contact the attorneys Alexander Law Group, LLP. Our exceptional personal injury lawyers will answer your questions and get you the maximum compensation that is possible. Call 888.777.1776 or contact us online.

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