Is this lemon laundering? The procedures make it look like that.
On July 12, we brought you an article talking about lemon laundering. More specifically, it had lawyers and consumer protection entities accusing Tesla of selling lemon cars as if they were in perfect shape. The company uses non-disclosure clauses and other tactics to hide the issues. That was when Tesla apologists claimed Jaguar Land Rover did the same with the I-Pace based in forum threads. We decided to have a look.
These threads are on I-PaceForum.com. The oldest one is called "Lemon Law – Buyback Process." Although most of the discussion there is about many owners sharing the problems their I-Paces had, the user Dantrium says this:
“JLR bought my car back, but I didn’t go through the Lemon Law process. They were very easy to work with.”
That was the first sign the Tesla advocates could be right. If the car were a lemon, going through the entire process would force the EV to be registered as such in some states. Although avoiding the bureaucracy is convenient for the clients involved, it may be even better for the automaker.
The second thread is called "The Buyback Thread." It asks for the I-Pace owners to share the details of the buybacks they had without much detail, "or you'll be violating the terms of the settlement."
A little further in the discussion, the thread creator says he edited the initial post," warning people not to disclose terms of the settlement." He also states that "the language allowed is 'resolved the dispute,' with no details." Another user says people will have to sign a "Non-Disclosure Agreement at the time in exchange for the settlement offer." The same user later confirms he has signed one.
Why would Jaguar clients have to sign an NDA? What does the company prefer other people do not know about these buybacks? Why has one of them said he did not go through the lemon law process?
We asked all these questions to JLR. After all, that is the same procedure Tesla allegedly adopted to be able to resell the cars it bought back without having to disclose they were lemons. We also asked for a copy of the NDA the clients have to sign.
The company just said it did not have any news or comments to share at that point. It last got in touch with us on July 17, which was the deadline we gave it.
Does it mean Jaguar is lemon laundering its I-Paces? We cannot say that, even if the procedures seem to be very similar to the ones adopted by Tesla. We would still need concrete situations of people that bought defective used I-Paces once repurchased by JLR as lemons. We have also spoken to lawyers and consumer protection entities, and none of them knew of any lemon laundering cases involving JLR.
That is also no conclusive evidence that everything is ok. The threads only show us one tip of this story: the defective I-Paces that were repurchased. Who has bought them? Were the issues fixed, or are the cars still presenting software, battery control modules, and battery pack problems, among others, as the threads report?
If you bought a defective used I-Pace, get in touch with us. If you know about any cases, we would also like to learn more about them. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on our Facebook page. We want EV adopters to be sure they are making a good deal, regardless of the brand they bought their electric cars from.