The Lemon Law King Reaches Settlement With Tesla In Model S Case For $126,836

JUL 15 2014 BY JAY COLE 37


About 3 months ago,  Vince Megna, the self proclaimed “Lemon Law King” put out a fairly unique video in announcing that he was representing a Model S owner in Wisconsin looking for a refund (and fees) for his Tesla after it experienced a claimed “66 days (in the shop) in the first 6 months“.

The "Winner"

Vince Megna – The “Winner”

Specific to the claim was that this particular Model S had more than few problems, namely;  failure to start, inoperable door handles, failure to charge at the plaintiff’s house, malfunctioning defrost setting and paint defects.

In Wisconsin, the state’s lemon law requires a timely refund or replacement after a warranty-covered defect is attempted to be repaired 4 times in a year, which the Plaintiff said his car qualified for.

Originally, Tesla publically refuted the lawsuit, and even went as far to put up a blog post on the subject calling into questions the validity of the lawyer and the Model S owner.

Despite what seemed like an inevitable war, and a protracted legal battle as Mr. Megna would accept no settlement that included a confidentiality agreement, the lawyer has made another video (in which takes the time to call out the Tesla fanboys), saying they have settled for $126,836…including $18,500 in lawyers fees.

 

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37 Comments on "The Lemon Law King Reaches Settlement With Tesla In Model S Case For $126,836"

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Anon

Sad the scammer got anything…

kdawg

Every other car-maker has their fingers crossed he doesn’t buy one from them.

Nix

So minus lawyer fees the buyer broke even?

Tesla will get the car back, and even with a lemon law claim, they will be able to “fix” whatever was Never Wrong with it and some lucky buyer will get a really good deal on a used Model S.

I’m glad it wasn’t a big payday for the guy suing, who previously sued Jaguar for a lemon. He fabricated the whole thing, and should consider himself lucky that Tesla was willing to let him out from under his lies by letting him return the car. He will still forever be known in shame as the loser who lied about his Tesla.

sven

“He fabricated the whole thing, and should consider himself lucky that Tesla was willing to let him out from under his lies by letting him return the car.”

Tesla folded like a cheap suit. The plaintiff got 100% of the amount he sued for: the cost of the car plus attorney’s fees. Tesla paid the maximum amount allowed by Wisconson’s Lemon Law, the purchase price of the car plus attorney’s fees.

Alan Dean Foster

But Tesla gets back the $95,000 car, which can be resold, or more likely used as a loaner at one of their service centers.

kdawg

Does the owner have to give back the $7,500 Federal tax credit?

EV

d***hebag

Lensman

Sorry to see Tesla Motors pay anything to this slimeball lawyer and his apparently lying client (at least, according to the claims of Tesla Motors) for their frivolous lawsuit, but at least Tesla Motors didn’t give into paying them “go away” money on top of the attorney fees.

It’s worthy of note that that this same guy sued Volvo for more or less the exact same claimed problems. Odd that a gas guzzler and a luxury EV sedan from two different auto makers would both have the same problems. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he made the whole thing up so he could have an excuse for his frivolous lawsuit…

Chris O

Guess sometimes it’s wiser just to allow the cockroaches a few crumps rather than try to crush them.

Sounds like Vince Megna and his down-on-his-luck-doctor partner in crime got a lot more than they bargained for when they decided to pick Tesla for their little scam. They actually became themselves the target of a public outcry. That should explain the meager sum they settled for.

sven

“That should explain the meager sum they settled for.”

That meager sum is exactly what they sued for, and is the maximum allowed under Wisconson’s Lemon Law. Were you expecting punitive damages or damages for pain and suffering?

JakeY

Yes. Megna was able to get many times more than the value of the car in previous lawsuits:
For example, a $482,000 judgment against Mercedes-Benz for a $56,000 E-Class. $385,000 judgement for a Dodge Viper.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vince_Megna

So in this case, getting only $18.5k extra doesn’t seem like much.

Only lawyer fees and a buyback of the car seems to be the minimum you would get in a lemon law lawsuit, not the maximum (judging by Megna’s past history).

CherylG

Edmunds should have hired this guy to represent them for all the problems Edmunds had with their Model S.

I guess Consumer Reports was correct when they added the 2013 Model S to their list of cars to avoid.
It’s getting harder and harder for Telsa to pretend these problems don’t exist.

Looks like George Clooney was right too. Clooney needs to send a twitter response to Elon.

Tim

Are you a bot?

MDEV

I knew it you are back I think you are the lawyer wife

Joshua Burstyn

I’m not sure where you’re getting your information from, but Consumer Reports continues to feature both a 99/100 rating and a recommended icon on their website for the Model S.

ntam

I recalled seeing Edmunds blog showing how they disable the traction control and pull some fuses to enable their Model S to smoke the tires and doing donuts. If I were Tesla, I would have voided their warranty. They should have checked the log to investigate what else they had done to the car.

Murrysville EV

Did you know Edmunds’ Model S is on its 4th drivetrain?

Trace

“Tesla!… Consumer Reports!… Tesla!… Cars to avoid TESLA!… Edmunds!… Tesla bad!… TESLA! No battery swap! Tesla!

I think You have Tesla Tourette’s, Cheryl.

Taser54

Simply amazed that the posters here are so quick to jump on the Tesla owner. Especially since all he was seeking was his money back for a unsatisfactory Model S. You can’t deny that Tesla put out cars that required a great deal of service. Why begrudge the owner for holding Tesla to the quality standard that Musk espoused?

kdawg
Because this… (From Tesla’s response to the Lemon King) “More tellingly, however, there are factual inaccuracies in the lawyer’s story. The customer did not make three demands for a buy-back. The only time any such claim was made was in a legal form letter sent to Tesla in November 2013 as a prerequisite for pursuing the claim in Wisconsin. Our service team was in close contact with the customer both before and after we received the letter, and the possibility of a buy-back was never mentioned during those discussions. To give you a sense of our service relationship with this customer, it’s worth considering our efforts to resolve two of his main complaints. One related to malfunctioning door handles. Even though our service team wasn’t able to replicate the issue with the door handles as described, we replaced all the handles anyway. Despite the fix, the customer said the problem persisted. We were never able to reproduce the alleged malfunction but offered to inspect the car again and are still trying to do so. Another issue was that the car’s fuse blew on numerous occasions. Each time, our engineers explored all possible explanations and were never able to find anything… Read more »
Taer54

Strange that Tesla settled for the full claim if they were in the right. Right?

I know that businesses settle court cases all the time, but in light of Tesla’s public response, wouldn’t they want to depose the owner under oath, in this matter of principle?

Joshua Burstyn

Tesla probably wants the guy to go away, despite the fact that he’s a troll. Sometimes companies think strictly objectively and make strategic decisions to yield.

Besides, Tesla is also in need of more loaners and they’ll likely put it in the rotation. Interested second-hand buyers are not in short supply, either. (As others have pointed out.)

kdawg

In Tesla’s case, it’s better not to wrestle with pigs.

Erick

Tesla has way too much class than to go beyond its already definitive response. The sleaze and his slurky client may have walked away with some coin, but they have stripped themselves completely of any remaining integrity they may have had before concocting this disgusting abuse of the legal system. It’s OK, they’ll get theirs soon enough.

Lou Grinzo

If the claims are true — 66 days in the shop in the first six months with the specific problems mentioned above — then the guy certainly deserved a refund. I don’t care if the car was made by Tesla, GM, Ferrari, Honda, or any other company you can name. That’s a quality and/or service flaming train wreck, and I’d guess that virtually every person who frequents this site would have been howling mad about it.

From the evidence presented, it seems clear this was not a customer and his lawyer trying to exaggerate a situation in the hopes of making tens of millions on an out-of-court settlement. He wanted, and got, a refund.

I, for one, am happy we have lemon laws. Even though such situations are very rare with modern vehicles, I still want that protection.

Joshua Burstyn
I don’t think any sane people would disagree that we need lemon laws but it’s far from “clear” that there were significant problems enough to process the return. To get that kind of clarity we’d need to go through the court filings, evidence and probably read the testimony. There’s also a distinct possibility that the courts are heavily weighted towards the customer given the industry’s trend towards screwing customers. That said I’ve had our car in for service at the Tesla depot and never experienced the type of frustration that’s described in what we’ve seen of the complaint. Quite the opposite, actually. I’ve been seen the same day I call, given extra service gratis and not been charged for labour on several occasions. Additionally all of the small complaints I’ve had have been fully remedied… better than at the other dealerships I’ve been to. There’s also a distinct possibility that the plaintiff was rude or demanding and as we all know, that rarely leads to the kind of service we expect. Finally I’d just like to point out that as the second car Tesla has ever released and the first full design, the thing is a master stroke. It’s not… Read more »
Aaron

His previous car, a Volvo, was ALSO declared a lemon. Why is this happening to just one person? What are the odds?

I have owned 10 cars in my life. None of them have had major problems. This guy gets two consecutive vehicles that are so bad they’re declared lemons? Unlikely.

Murrysville EV

I’m inclined to agree with you. I once had a 2005 Odyssey whose lemon problems began on Day One, with 26 miles on it. It took 9 months of lemon lawsuit to win a small check, after which I traded the car immediately after 20 months of a terrible ownership experience.

I had originally sided with Tesla when I heard about this case, but this man would have no reason to fight this battle if he was happy with the car – after all, he could have lost. By the same token, Tesla would have fought this case to the death if the car was really OK, but it obviously wasn’t.

The Edmunds long-term Model S also has me very concerned; it’s had its drivetrain replaced 3 times, and I’ve heard of a RAV4-EV owner who had his drivetrain replaced also. They have an obvious design flaw they’re not discussing, and covering it up with good customer service isn’t the answer I’m looking for.

Nix

He shouldn’t get jack if a single day was due to the owner intentionally blowing out his own fuses, or reporting supposed malfunctions that weren’t actually happening.

Tesla let him off easy. I don’t think a jury would have been so kind to the owner after hearing about the fuse and the anti-tamper tape.

pjwood

All cars have an Achilles of some kind. Sometimes flakey door handles are all I think I’ve heard of, from that list.

Aaron

I would accept that car in a heartbeat. Why? I truly believe there is nothing wrong with it. All I would have to do is wash the interior of all the SCUM from the previous owner.

Mark C

Since Tesla sells its own cars and doesn’t send them through a retailer, I say they should permanently put these two people {lawyer and client} on the list to never allow them to buy a vehicle from them again.

Wrapped

This is totally ridiculous. I agree with so many above that a Lemon Law is needed but abuse of such a law just hurts all consumers and retailers in the end. I am sure that Tesla settled with him to stop the S#!7 talking and get the whole matter off of their back.

Hopefully Tesla blacklists these guys.

Steve

I love the Tesla, but maybe there was a case to be answered

qwerty

At least he didn’t bash the windows in with a bat in a fit of rage the the Chinese owner did…..lol

Nix

It sounds like he sort of did. But instead of using a bat to destroy his own windshield, he used over-voltage across his own fuses to blow them out.

JakeY

Tesla’s other option was to fight this “to the death” in a federal lawsuit, but I bet the amount of money that would have been spent would be much greater than this amount, and the amount of media attention would also be greater.

In this case, they got their 15 minutes of fame and hopefully Tesla ensures they never buy another Tesla again (although undoubtedly they’ll find another auto manufacturer as their next victim).