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I bought a new 2019 Pacifica Hybrid labor day weekend 2019 and a week later it stopped working with a warning message of "service charging system". It actually turned itself off while my wife was driving it. After three months at the dealership FCA finally figured out it was the hybrid battery and replaced it. Mean while I had already contacted FCA 1 month into the three month period to initiate a buyback because I was tired of getting the run around on what the issue is. Fast forward to Dec 2019 they are offering me some compensation but making me sign a release agreement. My main concern with the agreement are these statements"

"I agree that the Subject Vehicle is not a “lemon” and does not qualify as a “lemon” under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act or the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and I will maintain possession of and any financial obligation for the Subject Vehicle.
I further agree to indemnify and hold the above parties harmless from all further claims, costs or expenses relating to this claim or the Subject Vehicle. I expressly agree that the only consideration I will receive is that listed above and that FCA US has made no other promises to me. I accept the consideration listed above as full satisfaction of any and all claims as set forth herein."

I'm just wondering if signing this means if the new battery craps out that I can't use this situation towards proving the car is a "lemon". It does state that " This Release shall not limit or modify the terms of any warranty or service contract applicable to the Subject Vehicle" so I'm thinking a faulty second battery would still be covered under the warranty.

Has anyone been in this situation or can give advice on how to interpret the language?

Thanks.
 

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I bought a new 2019 Pacifica Hybrid labor day weekend 2019 and a week later it stopped working with a warning message of "service charging system". It actually turned itself off while my wife was driving it. After three months at the dealership FCA finally figured out it was the hybrid battery and replaced it. Mean while I had already contacted FCA 1 month into the three month period to initiate a buyback because I was tired of getting the run around on what the issue is. Fast forward to Dec 2019 they are offering me some compensation but making me sign a release agreement. My main concern with the agreement are these statements"

"I agree that the Subject Vehicle is not a “lemon” and does not qualify as a “lemon” under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act or the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and I will maintain possession of and any financial obligation for the Subject Vehicle.
I further agree to indemnify and hold the above parties harmless from all further claims, costs or expenses relating to this claim or the Subject Vehicle. I expressly agree that the only consideration I will receive is that listed above and that FCA US has made no other promises to me. I accept the consideration listed above as full satisfaction of any and all claims as set forth herein."

I'm just wondering if signing this means if the new battery craps out that I can't use this situation towards proving the car is a "lemon". It does state that " This Release shall not limit or modify the terms of any warranty or service contract applicable to the Subject Vehicle" so I'm thinking a faulty second battery would still be covered under the warranty.

Has anyone been in this situation or can give advice on how to interpret the language?

Thanks.
My assumption would be that the document you've been offered is a boilerplate one and, as such, that there would be nothing untoward about the language. The statement about the vehicle not being a lemon strikes me as a bit strange, as there is no reason a different issue down the road might cause you to lose the vehicle for more than a month again, which would qualify as a lemon under many states' lemon laws. The second statement seems much more benign to me, inasmuch as it is relating to this specific claim. Even if the battery were to go bad again, that would be a new claim and not be subject to the language of the second clause.

Being boilerplate and being from FCA corporate, my guess is that you will have little leverage, but if it were me I would push to have "at this time" inserted after "does not qualify as a 'lemon'". The language here could be interpreted to be in perpetuity, which neither you nor FCA can guarantee at this time. Ideally, the clause would read more like this: "I agree that the Subject Vehicle is not a “lemon” at the conclusion of this claim and does not qualify as a “lemon” at the conclusion of this claim under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act or the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and I will maintain possession of and any financial obligation for the Subject Vehicle following the resolution to this claim. I do not waive any rights toward the lawful resolution of any unique future claim."

Again, though, you may have little ability to force FCA's hand, here.
 

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Contact an attorney. I work a lot with legal matters and I have seen people sneak stuff in hoping you didn’t read it.
 

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As someone that works with releases regularly at work, this language is all very typical, especially the hold harmless agreement. I've been part of thousands of these in my 15 years in insurance claims. You are only releasing the specific things in that release. In this case, you can't make a lemon claim. Unless they state elsewhere that your existing warranty is released, that warranty and any other protections remain in effect.

Here is the thing, you don't have to take the compensation. You are selling the rights stated in the release for money. If you want to keep the rights, don't take the money. Tell them to keep their money and you've given up nothing. You don't have to sell. No is a powerful statement. Use it.

What's that? You want the money? Don't we all. :) You need to bring something to negotiating the table; you have to be willing to release future rights. That's what they want. They don't have to hand over the money for nothing. You want money, and they want those future rights.

Why do they want the release? They've decided you are a risk to bring this matter up again in the future. Something in your action, communications, or demeaner made them itchy. They want to be done with you. A release is how you make that happen.
 
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