For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST GENERAL MOTORS FOR DECEIVING BUYERS BY CONCEALING DEFECTS AND SELLING UNSAFE AND UNRELIABLE VEHICLES
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) filed a civil lawsuit against General Motors LLC (GM) for endangering motorists and the public by intentionally concealing serious safety defects in GM vehicles to avoid the cost of a recall or replacing defective parts. The complaint, filed June 27, 2014, states that GM endangered the public through deception regarding vehicle safety and reliability and gained advantage over its competitors by engaging in unfair business practices.
GM is accused of failing to disclose and/or concealing known defects in millions of GM vehicles. The safety defects include power steering, airbag, and brake-related problems. By knowingly hiding the existence of defects and marketing their vehicles as safe and reliable, the OCDA is charging that GM enticed consumers under false pretenses to purchase GM vehicles.
GM is charged with continuing to sell and lease its vehicles while knowingly concealing and suppressing information about the defects from California consumers. The complaint charges GM with valuing cost-cutting over safety, and intentionally falsely represented to the public that GM-manufactured vehicles were safe and reliable, despite its knowledge of the defects, to avoid the cost and negative attention of a recall.
The complaint states that, as a result of the defective vehicles and failure by GM to disclose defects to consumers prior to lease or purchase, victims have been injured and killed, owners and lessees of GM vehicles have suffered property damage, economic damage, and many are unable to sell or trade their cars.
GM is accused of engaging in fraudulent, unfair and unlawful business practices, which put an emphasis on profits over safety. To avoid the attention of regulators and cost of a recall, GM is accused of training its personnel to never use the words “defect,” “stall,” or other words suggesting that any GM-branded vehicles are defective. They are accused of routinely choosing the cheapest part supplier without regard for safety and discouraging employees from acting to address safety issues.
Under the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act and other consumer protection laws, when a manufacturer learns that a vehicle contains a safety defect, the manufacturer must promptly disclose the defect. Despite failure to adhere to the law for many years, GM was required to recall 17 million vehicles in 33 recalls covering various defects during the five months of 2014.