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Consumer Lemon Law

Volvo Dealerships Shutdown And Customers Are Left in The Cold

When small market Volvo dealerships shutdown in 2019 shook the automotive industry and Volvo customers. 

Those with manufacturer warranties questioned how the company was going to continue their contractual obligation with them if the local dealerships were closing. 

Communication was lackluster and ignited frustration among owners when Volvo Cars USA announced that in some cases the closest local service center would be 100 miles away. 

In this article, we will discuss the aftermath of Volvo’s dealership shutdown, analyzing the impact it had on various stakeholders and what we learned.

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Volvo dealerships shutdown

The Predicament: Volvo Cars Bakersfield Closure

The abrupt shutdown of Volvo Cars Bakersfield by Volvo Cars USA in 2019 ignited frustration among numerous Volvo owners. The dealership’s closure, reportedly not due to any fault of its own, has left many without local options for warranty and service work, challenging the company’s stance on customer service and care.

Despite the dealership’s pleas to continue servicing Volvo vehicles under warranty, the request was denied, compelling owners to seek alternatives, often over 100 miles away.

Impact on Consumers

The decision has disproportionately affected various groups, including the elderly and those with limited mobility, for whom long-distance travel presents significant challenges.

The unavailability of nearby authorized dealerships or service centers exacerbates the inconvenience, casting a shadow on Volvo’s commitment to customer satisfaction and accessibility.

Legal Framework and Consumer Protection

Understanding the Song-Beverly Act and Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

The legal landscape offers some solace through the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Both statutes underscore the obligation of manufacturers to provide adequate service facilities within reasonable proximity to their customers.

Specifically, the Song-Beverly Act mandates that manufacturers must maintain or authorize independent facilities for warranty service close to where the vehicles are sold. Although the Magnuson-Moss Act lacks the “reasonably close” provision, it still emphasizes the necessity for manufacturers to ensure service accessibility.

Implications for Volvo

Volvo’s denial of service options within a reasonable distance could potentially contravene these laws, exposing the company to legal challenges, including Lemon Law claims.

Such situations could lead to remedies like vehicle buy-backs, damages, or attorney fees, highlighting the importance of adherence to consumer protection statutes.

Advised Actions for Affected Owners

Legal experts suggest several steps for aggrieved Volvo owners, including the submission of certified letters to Volvo, outlining the undue hardship caused by the dealership’s closure, and requesting the arrangement of local service options as mandated by law.

Further, escalating the issue to federal agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as well as state and federal representatives, could yield additional support and potentially catalyze action from Volvo.

Small Claims Court as a Recourse

For those who incur out-of-pocket expenses for services that should be covered under warranty, pursuing claims in Small Claims Court presents a viable option. This legal avenue can offer a platform for consumers to seek redress, especially in cases where the absence of local service facilities constitutes an unreasonable burden.

Conclusion

The situation surrounding Volvo Cars Bakersfield underscores a broader conversation about corporate accountability, consumer rights, and the mechanisms in place to protect car owners from undue inconvenience and expense.

As this case illustrates, understanding the legal protections at one’s disposal and taking proactive steps can empower consumers to advocate for their rights effectively. It serves as a reminder of the ongoing need for transparency, fairness, and accessibility in the automotive industry’s approach to customer service and warranty obligations.

Volvo Dealership Shutdowns FAQs

If your local dealership has closed, you should contact Volvo Cars Customer Service or check the Volvo Cars official website for guidance on where to take your vehicle for recall services. Dealership networks may offer alternative locations or arrangements for servicing vehicles affected by recalls.

Volvo may authorize independent service shops to perform warranty work. It’s essential to contact Volvo Customer Service for approved locations that can use original Volvo parts to ensure compliance with warranty conditions.

A vehicle can also qualify if it’s been in the shop for over 30 days cumulatively for repairs.

Volvo encourages customers to send certified letters to their corporate address, found in the owner’s manual, detailing the inconvenience caused by dealership shutdowns. Additionally, reaching out to Volvo Cars Customer Service can provide immediate assistance and information on next steps.

Under consumer protection laws like the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, manufacturers are required to ensure reasonable access to service facilities. If a dealership closure impacts this, you may have grounds to seek legal recourse or demand alternative solutions from the manufacturer.

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