Fiat-Chrysler Issues Ram Recall

Dodge Ram Recall Car Crash Lawyer

Fiat-Chrysler has issued a recall on hundreds of thousands of pickup trucks. According to the Detroit Free Press, Ram trucks with a 6.7 liter engine manufactured between 2013 and 2017 are under recall due to a water pump issue that could potentially cause a fire. The recall affects owners of Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks, as well as Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs. This includes 443,712 vehicles in the United States, 46,220 vehicles in Canada, and 4,485 vehicles outside of North America. Fiat-Chrysler announced the recall on September 19, 2017.

The company is not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by the water pump problem, and is issuing the recall as a precautionary measure. According to the Fiat-Chrysler press release, “certain trucks are equipped with a water-pump bearing that, after exposure to certain conditions, may overheat and potentially cause an engine-compartment fire. Compromised water-pump function may activate a warning light in an affected vehicle’s instrument cluster." Any customers with questions can call the FCA U.S. Recall Information Center at (800) 853-1403.

Recalls can conjure up images of exploding engines and malfunctioning steering wheels, but more often than not drivers shouldn’t envision the worst case scenario. While the scariest sounding incidents are usually the ones that receive the most attention, recalls are quite common, and the number of recalls issued per year is the highest it’s been in decades. Fiat Chrysler, for example has issued a number of recalls over the last year, including one for a Jeep gear shift, that was responsible for the death of Star Trek actor Anton YelchinU.S. News and World Report found that in 2013 alone, 22 million vehicles were recalled, and that number has gone up. Most recalls, such as the Ram recall, are preemptive measures taken by the company. The majority of recalls are issued after a complaint has been filed by a driver (or many drivers), prompting an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). A recall is then issued if they discover a problem in the manufacturing process, and the vehicle doesn’t meet federal safety standards. This sounds scary, but in reality a recall can be issued for something as small as a mislabeled sticker on a part under the hood. Some recalls are voluntary, and others are mandated by the NHTSA.

Michigan Car Defect Accident Lawyer

So what should you if you find yourself as the owner of a recalled vehicle? Instead of panicking, there are a number of steps you can take to in order to get your vehicle repaired and keep yourself safe from any potential recall related car accidents. Once the manufacturer has decided (or is forced) to issue a recall, they have 60 days to notify registered owners of the affected vehicles by mail. If you hear about a recall on the news (or on a law firm blog) that you think may affect your vehicle, but you never receive any correspondence from the manufacturer, you can check to see if your vehicle is affected by going to and entering the VIN number for your vehicle. If you are the owner of a used car that is under recall, according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB),  you should contact the manufacturer directly and make them aware of your contact information.

With most recalls, the manufacturer has usually engineered a solution that can be repaired relatively easily. According to U.S. News and World Report, “if the car is less than 10 years old from the date of the first purchase, the automaker must correct the problem by repairing the car, replacing the car or providing a refund for the purchase price of the car minus depreciation." If the car is older than 10 years old, you will have to pay for the repairs out of pocket. If you already had the issue repaired before the recall is announced, you may be eligible for reimbursement, but manufactures are not required to do so. Any local dealer can fix the problem, and you don’t need to take the car to get serviced at the dealer you purchased it from. It can be a frustrating process, but be patient. If it is a large recall, there will likely be a lengthy waiting list for repairs. Consumer Reports notes that the only time to really panic is if the manufacturer tells you to stop driving the vehicle. Again, this is rare, and the manufacturer should tow your car to the dealership and issue you a loaner in such an event.

Detroit Car Crash Accident Lawyer

Drivers are right to be concerned about recalls, no matter how small they may seem. All recalls should be taken seriously, regardless of whether or not they seem like they may lead to automobile accidents and injuries. If you find your vehicle under recall, stay calm, do your research, and proceed as necessary. In most cases, such as the Ram recall, you can continue driving your vehicle without worry. The manufacturer is looking out for driver safety, and taking the necessary precautions. That being said, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Check if your vehicle is under a recall even if you don’t hear anything from the manufacturer, and take the necessary steps to correct the issue. More so, drivers can be proactive. If you think something is not as it should be with your vehicle, let the NHTSA know. Your input could be what it takes for an investigation to be launched and a recall announced.  

All cars, whether under recall or not, have the potential to be involved in automobile accidents. While some events may be out of the driver's control, following traffic laws and being cautious are two things drivers can do to be proactive on the road. Even so, accidents can still happen. If you have been involved in an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Women In Michigan Pay More For Auto Insurance

Auto Insurance

It's 2017 but women still can't win for losing. On top of consumer pricing bias such as Pink Tax and gender based wage gap, women in Michigan are faced with another issue - paying more for auto insurance.

Independent insurance expert Doug Heller, the same Doug Heller who shockingly revealed in August that low wage Michiganders pay more in auto insurance than their more affluent counterparts, conducted a new study into insurance gender prejudice. Heller produced the survey under the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault (CPAN) by collecting around 100 online premium quotes and comparing women and men with the same factors such as addresses, mileage, vehicles, and driving record, within the cities of Brighton, Michigan and Detroit, Michigan.

In the end, 3 insurance companies were shown to be biased when it came to premiums between the sexes. The medal for most prejudiced goes to Progressive, for charging women 38% more than men with the same demographics. Esurance comes in a close second charging woman 33% more than men. In another kind of bias Liberty Mutual charged both sexes 5% more if they were widowed. Heller’s survey showed that in general, if women happened to be single or widowed, they were charged 5% to 10% more than women who are married. 

In response to the survey's findings, the 3 insurance companies replied to Channel 7 News as follows:

Progressive commented, “Our rating factors are actuarially justified and in compliance with all state laws and applicable insurance statutes.” Liberty Mutual opted for the route of assurance stating that one of their principles is treating everyone equally, without discrimination, and embracing an inclusive environment for all. Esurance really didn’t offer a statement, just a suggestion that those inquiring answers should look to the Insurance Alliance of Michigan (IAM).

Illegal Auto Insurance Pricing


Despite the auto insurance companies stating that their pricing difference based on sex is within the law, CPAN alleges that this very act is very much illegal according to Michigan’s Insurance Code of 1956. In section 4 it clearly states, “An insurer shall not establish or maintain rates or rating classifications for automobile insurance based on sex or marital status."

Heller argued, “When insurance companies are allowed to slice, dice, and price Michiganders according to personal characteristics that have nothing to do with their driving, many good drivers end up paying more than they should or driving uninsured, and it's one of the reasons premiums are so high in Michigan.”

It almost seems like fighting with auto insurance companies is like battling tobacco companies back in the 1950s. It’s no wonder why so many people are distrusting of insurance agencies today. With Michigan’s No-Fault under scrutiny, one can hope and act through their political representatives to make sure that biases such as this are no longer permitted by auto insurance agencies. A few rotten apples shouldn’t spoil the bunch.

One step forward, ten steps back seems to be the song and dance women have been enduring when it comes earning equality among the sexes. Even though data collected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that men are more likely to engage in risky driving habits, drink while driving, and more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents, women are still unfairly charged more for insurance. If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, call 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation with an experienced attorney at The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC, today. We are here to help you!

FTC Sued For Approving Used Cars With Recall Defects

Auto Recall Car Crash Lawyer

The old adage, "it's too good to be true" comes to mind in the light the news that used cars sale representatives have been approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to sell used cars as certified, despite some of them having safety defects. Some of those defects include vehicles or parts under recall that have yet to be fixed. However, used car salespeople can still sell the cars as 'safe' or as subjected to 'rigorous inspection' vehicles just as long as they post a notice prior to the purchase of the vehicle stating that it may be under recall notice and by providing the buyer with the information to discover if the vehicle is under recall. 

CBS News listed that the defects may include exploding faulty Takata air bags in addition to other defects that can cause serious to fatal injuries such as, defective ignition switches, problems with the power steering, and damaged brakes. The FTC came to the decision during a settlement with General Motors (GM) and 2 used car dealers.

Opponents Of Recall Defective Car Sales

Cash 4 Junk Cars Sign

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not approve of the FTCs ruling. In fact, the FTC's agreement goes against NHTSA policy. The NHTSA's policy, which they unfortunately don't have the power to enforce, says that used cars must be inspected and fixed before being resold. 

Seconding the NHTSA's view on the issue, Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) said, “The FTCs reckless action will result in more people being killed and injured because of unsafe, defective used cars.” To back up their words with actions, Shahan’s organization is fighting along with a few Democratic senators, the Center for Auto Safety, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group against the FTC. “It’s a dangerous and irresponsible abuse of the commission’s authority,” Shahan continued. Now the FTC is facing a lawsuit from the 3 organizations on the grounds of consumer safety.  

The legislative director for the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, Deidre Cummings also said to NBC News that, "The Federal Trade Commission is supposed to crack down on false and misleading advertising, but instead they are encouraging it. They should have protected consumers, but chose to protect reckless car dealers.”

How Defective Car Sales Affect The Auto Industry 

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Many view the FTC's decision as a change in the auto buying industry. This may lead to car dealers altering their policies to reflect monetary benefits for themselves instead of safety measures for the consumers. In fact some changes have already been made. Ford has already modified their policies to include recall defects such as the Takata airbag. Ford Dealers can now sell vehicles with faulty parts as 'certified' as long as the word 'safe' is not utilized at anytime in the sale. Used Ford buyers will then sign an agreement noting that they are aware of the safety issue and agree to be contacted by the Ford dealer once the replacement parts arrive. 

In defense of their new policy, Sara Tatchio of Ford Communications stated that, “The safety of our customers is our top priority. Our dealers must complete all recalls when parts are available. In the extremely rare instance when parts are not available, our policy is that dealers must clearly disclose the situation including printing the open recall information and handing it to the prospective customer. As soon as parts are available, the dealer will then prioritize completing the open recall.”

How Consumers Can Protect Themselves From Recalls

They are few things consumers can do to safeguard themselves from buying a used vehicle that may have recall defects.

  • Look up a vehicle's Identification number (VIN) in the NHTSA’s recall lookup tool. The NHTSA’s system will show any outstanding recalls that have yet to be fixed on the vehicle.
  • Get a vehicle's history report on websites like CarFax to see if the car has been involved in any accidents, if any original parts have been replaced, and if it has been regularly and properly maintained. 
  • Before making a vehicle purchase, ask the salesperson about the history of the car and whether any defects or other safety problems have been made aware to them. 
  • Even if the vehicle list it has been subjected to "rigorous inspection" or as is labeled "safe," get it inspected anyway by a qualified mechanic before buying it. Try to find an auto shop that doesn't have ties to the dealership that the vehicle is being sold from. 

These tips are not 100% effective in every used car buying scenario but in general, they may ease the trepidation one may have in buying a used car. Hopefully, armed with the knowledge of past or present recalls and mechanic history, used car buyers can make an informed decision on what vehicle would serve their needs best while keeping them and others safe. After all, getting involved in a car accident due to a faulty or defective car part because you didn't due your due diligence in researching a used car before purchasing it, is an unfortunate way to harm yourself. 

Car recall lookup tools provided by government websites and agencies such as the NHTSA are one ideal way to make sure that car buyers are truly purchasing safe cars. It is unfortunate that the FTC would approve of the sale of cars with defective parts, thereby making buyers unable to trust the CPO seal that guarantees buyers that they are buying a recall-free vehicle. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident caused by a vehicle under recall, call 844.4MI.FIRM and speak to the experienced staff at The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. We provide free consultations to discuss your legal options.

Over 500,000 Hoverboards Recalled Due to Risk of Fire and Explosions

Issues pertaining to hoverboard malfunctions continue, as more than 500,000 of the balancing scooters are being recalled due to a risk of fire and/or explosions. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall Wednesday, and added that many hoverboard devices which were not included in the recall should be discarded for consumers’ safety. 

Hoverboard Recall Lawyer

“There have been at least 99 incident reports of the battery packs in self-balancing scooters/hoverboards overheating, sparking, smoking, catching fire and/or exploding,” the CPSC told NPR. All of the recalled devices were sold within the last year, and ranged in price from $350 to $900. The CPSC has advised consumers who own a recalled hoverboard to stop using it immediately, and reach out to the manufacturer or retailer for a refund, repair or replacement, depending on what the company is offering. 

CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye is instructing consumers who don’t see their device on the list to “contact the manufacturer or retailer and demand that they give you your money back.” Kaye adds in a statement that unless the manufacturer can show that the device has been certified as safe by Underwriters Laboratories, it should be considered “a fire hazard waiting to happen.”

“a fire hazard waiting to happen...”

Hoverboard Injury Lawyer

So what is causing all of these fires and explosions? Jay Whitacre of Carnegie Mellon University explained that lithium-ion batteries have a flammable electrolyte in them. Whitacre states: 

“I think a lot of (hoverboard makers (are using second-tier battery sources, which are going to have probably a higher rate of defects. These things have more lithium-ion batteries in them than most things because they’re used to move you around. It takes more batteries to get you the power…to do that and as such there’s just more energy in a small space. And so if something does go wrong, it’s a bit more catastrophic.”

Whitacre advised consumers not to overcharge their hoverboard’s battery, and to never charge or use them indoors. 

If you or somebody you know has been injured in an accident because of a hoverboard malfunction, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC.  Speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who will identify the help you are entitled to and will not rest until you get the relief you need. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.