Watervliet, NY asked in Consumer Law, Lemon Law and Arbitration / Mediation Law for New York

Q: Can I file both a Lemon Law complaint and a Vehicle Safety Complaint in the state of NY?

I purchased a used vehicle from a dealer in early 2023. Immediately it started to present numerous mechanical issues, and in fact was not in my possession for five months as it was shuffled between three separate repair shops. I filed a Lemon Law Complaint through the NYS Attorney General in July and we ultimately settled out of court. However, the third repair shop discovered in September that my car had in fact been sold to me without airbags, which is illegal in NYS, so I opened a Vehicle Safety Complaint. The dealer has now retained an attorney and the two are insisting that I have no recourse because the Lemon Law complaint was already settled. I was under the impression that the two are handled by completely different government departments and have nothing to do with one another.

So, is this dealer actually able to avoid investigation because of a lemon law claim filed prior to the discovery of the felony? Or am I able to go forward with the Vehicle Safety Complaint?

1 Lawyer Answer
Marco Caviglia
Marco Caviglia
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Lagrangeville, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: The key words I notice are "settled out of court" which means there was some sort of payment to you (as you did not have your vehicle replaced by the manufacturer as you may have been entitled) in exchange for some sort of release. The terms of that release are the crux of you civil dispute. You then mention a "felony" because of you learned later that there were no airbags. I have no knowledge why that would be a criminal, as opposed to a civil negligent, act and if it were a crime, prosecution would be up to a prosecuting agency (e.g. Justice Dept., District Attorney, etc.) Have an attorney review the terms of your settlement to see if any rights to still get compensation for a newly discovered defect exist.

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