Knight Law Group Exposes Kia’s Dishonesty In Lemon Law Victory

The maximum verdict allowed under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act (commonly known as California’s Lemon Law) was awarded to the plaintiff for his 2021 Kia Seltos. The jury, which ruled 12-0 in favor of our plaintiff, stated that Kia America, Inc. was so dishonest in its conduct toward its consumers that they wished they could have awarded more to him.

Deivi Cifuentes, represented by Brian Plummer and Jeffrey Mukai of Knight Law Group, won a verdict of $135,799.56 (three times the price of the vehicle and Mr. Cifuentes’ incidental damages) after Kia America, Inc. was found to have willfully violated Mr. Cifuentes’ rights under the Song-Beverly Act. What could have been a simple lemon law claim for a car worth $29,881 resulted in the extent to which Kia is willing to deceive consumers and escape its obligations under the California Lemon Law.

Instead, our thorough investigation resulted in the jury awarding our client $29,881 for the purchase price of the vehicle, finance charges of $3,834.23, and insurance and registration of $8,162.62, adding up to $45,266.52 in actual damages. When Kia was found to have willfully violated the California Lemon Law, the jury awarded civil penalties of $90,533.04, adding up to a final verdict of $135,799.56.

Mr. Cifuentes purchased the 2021 Kia Seltos as a Kia certified pre-owned vehicle. He was the third owner of the vehicle. Before he purchased the Kia Seltos, the second owner reported problems with the Check Engine Light and the engine running rich (using more fuel than necessary during the combustion process). The second owner returned the car to the dealership after only months of ownership.

Before Mr. Cifuentes could even leave the dealership with his newly purchased Kia Seltos, the Check Engine Light turned on. The dealership initially refused to acknowledge the Check Engine Light. When they finally admitted the Check Engine Light was on, they told Cifuentes that they could not repair the vehicle that day and to come back for repairs at a later date. This led to the jury allowing no mileage offset for the auto manufacturer to deduct from what it owed to our client.

Mr. Cifuentes continued to experience the same engine and exhaust system issues. Mr. Cifuentes reported his vehicle problems to Kia and requested a repurchase. When Kia responded with its initial repurchase offer (which was conditioned on an undisclosed release), they told him they would not reimburse his service contracts or GAP insurance. These items were deducted from the initial repurchase offer, and no mention was made of reimbursement for Mr. Cifuentes’ then-current registration or insurance expenses.

When Mr. Cifuentes requested a copy of the release agreement, Kia refused to send it to him. The undisclosed release agreement contained an improper vehicle condition clause and was riddled with illegal conditions that Kia had no right to enforce.

Had it not been for our diligent response in exposing Kia’s conduct, Kia may have succeeded in deceiving and taking advantage of its own customers in order to avoid its obligations under the law.

Knight Law Group is the leading lemon law firm in California. When auto manufacturers engage in deceitful conduct or otherwise attempt to avoid its financial obligations to its customers, we offer a vigorous and thorough defense of consumers’ rights. Kia’s conduct toward our client was not only deceitful, it was also penny wise and horribly pound foolish.

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