EVT America Delivers Slow, Inaccurate Scooter, No Lemon Law Refund

Brett wants the EVT America electric scooter he was promised. A scooter that was supposed to have a top speed of 40-45 mph, and required a motorcycle license. Unfortunately, while at top speed the speedometer reads 45 mph, he claims that reality differs.

Brett lives in upstate New York, and sent this letter to NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, copying Consumerist.

Dear Mr. Cuomo:

I am filing a formal complaint against EVT America for failure to respond to a glaring defect in a vehicle I purchased from them. This is despite several attempts on my part to discuss the matter directly with them, a judgment in my favor by the New York State Lemon Law process, and a demand letter from my personal lawyer.

A little over a year ago I purchased an all electric motor scooter from Miami-based EVT America via Oakland-Based dealer Electric Motosport. I purchased this vehicle because:

1. It is all electric which would allow me to save energy and be more “green.”

2. It was the only all electric motor scooter at the time that claimed to have a speed of 40-45mph. There are multiple all electric scooters that have a maximum speed of 30mph, at which and below a motorcycle license is not required.

I purchased this scooter (model Z20b) over the internet from Electric Motor Sports and had it delivered to my home in March 2008. I completed the requirements for a motorcycle license in the state of New York and hold a current, valid license.

I discovered after riding the scooter for a couple months that its top speed is actually only 32mph, while at the same time the speedometer reads 45mph. I discovered this by having a car follow me, as well as roadside speed guns which say “your speed is ___.”

After multiple attempts to get the dealer and EVT America to rectify this situation, I was told “you cannot send it back, you have already bought it.” This prompted a successful petition to the New York State Lemon Law authority in which a hearing was held and judgment in my favor rendered. I have still heard nothing from EVT America, nor received my refund.

I have no further recourse except to spend more of my own money to recapture the $2800 I spent on the vehicle. This will take a lengthy legal process as the company is based in Miami, Florida not in New York State.

Please help.

The attorneys general of New York and Florida claim that they aren’t able to help Brett collect on his judgment from EVT America, and have told him that he’s on his own, and that it’s time to hire a lawyer.

Have you had luck getting a refund from an unresponsive company, and do you have any advice for Brett?

RELATED:
What Is “Lemon Law?”

Comments

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  1. Dondegroovily says:

    This kinda sleaze probably does a lot more to harm the electric vehicle market than oil companies ever could.

    • cristiana says:

      @Dondegroovily:
      There are a few electric vehicle companies that have shady business practices. The company Zap has a long history of pretty much making stuff up, and selling crappy vehicles. Also, the company Tesla, with their hyped roadster has had a lot of ‘interesting’ dealings.

    • pgh9fan1 says:

      @Dondegroovily: I blame the lack of electric cars on the Stonecutters.

    • sleze69 says:

      @Dondegroovily: Take it easy on the sleze ;)

    • ktetch says:

      @Dondegroovily: I think the (wrong) perception that it’s green it the biggest hurt of all, and one the OP shares. Electric vehicles are NOT green. Aside from the pollution caused by the battery production, you’ve got a lot more energy loss in charging it (and the conversions the power does on its route from the power station) meaning more produced to start with, meaning more pollution.

      • AnthonyC says:

        @ktetch:

        Sorry, do the math or look up the numbers again. Even an electric vehicle powered entirely from a coal plant just about matches a Prius in terms of carbon emissions per mile, even after accounting for transmission and charging efficiency. 4-5 miles/kWh is typical for a car, not sure what a motorcycle would get. Embodied energy is pretty similar, too, though slightly higher for electric vehicles. Meanwhile, here in America, ~30% of our power comes from emissions-free sources (mainly nuclear and hydro), and another ~20% comes from natural gas (which is less CO2 intensive than coal).

        Please, don’t spread misinformation. Yes, there are certainly going to be places where inefficient dirty power plants and an ailing, ill-maintained, overstressed electric grid mean electric vehicles will pollute more than high-efficiency gas-powered ones. This is not the norm. It is a rare exception.

        Moreover, consider that it is much easier and cheaper to reduce emissions, and pollution of all kinds, from large point sources than from many small mobile sources. Over time our electricity has been getting, and will continue to get, cleaner. A gas-powered vehicle has the same emissions profile its whole life, while an electric one gets better automatically as the grid gets cleaner.

      • Apeweek says:

        @ktetch:

        Easy on the silly oil company talking points.

        Nothing is 100% green. However, whatever pollution is caused by battery production (hardly any, by the way) pales in comparison to the pollution caused by mining, refining, and burning petroleum.

        And the efficiency of transmitting power via the electric grid is about 95%. This efficiency compares quite favorably to the equivalent step for gasoline – TRUCKING it to thousands of service stations.

        There’s a good reason electricity for EVs costs just a penny or two per mile. It’s efficiency.

        • ktetch says:

          @Apeweek: I’m no oil company schill (hell, I helped coordinate the merseyside part of the UK protests in 2000, where the refineries were blockaded over fuel prices)

          I have just worked in EV design, both large and small, human-carrying and not (one reason I was a technical inspector on the show BattleBots, because I knew my way around electronic speed controls for electric vehicles – some were 17-20hp, in a 350lb vehicle. Thats a better power/weight ratio than my (20yo) civic.

  2. Trai_Dep says:

    It sounds like false advertising and would be an excellent candidate for class action status, since their business models seems predicated on suckering customers interested in a faster electric scooter into overspending for what is, basically, a volume control that goes to “11”. Then figuring individual buyers won’t go through the pain and expense of suing individually.

    Here’s hoping they sue Consumerist for this posting, so their #1 Google hit will be this story, or Cash4Golding, as I prefer to call it.

    • Difdi says:

      @Trai_Dep: Given the OP wants his money back OR what he paid for, a class action suit would be the LAST thing he’d ever want to do. It’s pretty typical for a class action lawsuit to pay millions to the lawyers, and give each member of the class a small coupon or a few bucks.

      If you’re trying to get a $2800 refund, you probably can’t get it via a class action lawsuit.

      • silver-bolt says:

        @Difdi: You need to realize that a Class Action lawsuit for a class of 100~500 would net different results compared to a class action of a million people.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @Difdi: Actually, no.
        Although, that’s what corporate lawyers would love you to believe. Evil class-action lawyers!!
        In many cases, the offenses they sue for are ones that are immensely profitable for a company to commit fraud – or outright theft – from consumers, knowing the few individuals that sue for the individual pittance of several hundred dollars will be low.
        The perfect crime, really. Except for class action suits, which stop them dead in their tracks, plus penalties, all overseen by courts to insure that plaintiff lawyers’ fees are reasonable.

        …Or you’re of the mind that corporations should be able to commit these kinds of frauds with no fear?

  3. fantomesq says:

    I believe he can file for a judgment lien and get the Miami Sheriff to levy upon (seize) EVT America’s property – locate any land or inventory that they own and the sheriff can seize it to settle the judgment… I suspect a check might be cut right quick after a sheriff’s visit.

  4. meltingcube says:

    Possibly the scooter will go up to 45 MPH depending on the weight of the rider. However, I don’t think I’ve ever come across an electric scooter that can do more than around 30 MPH. Based on the information provided, small claims court should be able to get his money back.

    • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

      @meltingcube: That’s not the issue. If the scooter was designed to reach top speed with a max load of 150 pounds, the OP exceeds that weight, thus only moves 32 MPH *AND* the speedometer reflects this; then OP either needs to lose weight or he needs to buy a more powerful scooter.

      However, if the speedometer says the OP is going 45 MPH, he damned well ought to be going 45 MPH.

    • ivanthemute says:

      @meltingcube: “that its top speed is actually only 32mph, while at the same time the speedometer reads 45mph.” It’s not a matter of the weight of the rider. It’s the fact that the speedometer is saying he’s doing 45, when he’s actually doing 32.

    • chrylis says:

      @meltingcube: IANAL, but I don’t believe that small-claims court will help. He already has a legal judgment against the company, and they’re just refusing to pay up.

  5. lockdog says:

    I was passed by one of these the other day. I say passed because, while we were traveling in the same direction, I was stopped behind traffic at a light. Undeterred, he crossed into the left hand lane and continued on. Not just traveling on the yellow line like I’ve come to expect from` motorcyclists, but all the way across three lanes of oncoming traffic, where he continued traveling into the middle of the intersection. About halfway through the intersection, he changed his mind, did a u-turn and decided to start driving on the sidewalk.

    • msquier says:

      @lockdog: Real bikers don’t pull garbage like that lockdog. Only squids and idiots who think that being green on their little scooter makes them above the law do that.

      BTW: A “squid” is a sportbiker term for a young, inexperienced rider often on a bike with too much power for their experience level (above 600cc on an ultra light sport bike) doing stupid things to show off. Most sportbikes get wrecked pretty quickly when a newb gets a hold of one. My husband rides a 250cc Kawasaki Ninja and he says, from an experienced rider’s standpoint, that it has plenty of power for highway travel.

      • lockdog says:

        @msquier:Apologies. I didn’t mean to trash all bikers. I know the number of polite, safe riders is vastly greater than the weirdos on the scooters and college kids on crotch rockets. Same thing goes for people traveling under pedal power. At my old job I loved my 4 season bicycle commute. Luckily, my current job is moving offices, and soon my commute will be a five minute walk. I just hope my boss doesn’t use this fact as a way to avoid giving me a raise!

    • Laura Northrup says:

      @lockdog: Sounds like the cyclists in my city.

  6. The_Red_Monkey says:

    Well it seems like NY would not want them selling these vehicles in their state. How did they pass their DOT or do they have to do so there?

  7. CompyPaq says:

    According to the NYS lemon laws, the company owes him $25/day for every day they refuse to comply up to $500. Courts are also permitted to force the company to pay him for fees he incurred in getting them to comply.

    [lemonlaw.org]

  8. nakkypoo says:

    1. It is all electric which would allow me to save energy and be more “green.”

    Out of sight, out of mind, right? Where does he think electricity comes from? In all likelihood, something is being burned.

  9. cecilsaxon says:

    Who wants to go 45 MPH on that thing? I think the guy that bought it was disillusion or at least very gullible.

    • synimatik says:

      @cecilsaxon: Right. Because blaming the OP for getting royally screwed makes total sense in this situation. You’re comment lends nothing. Who cares if he wanted to go 200mph? This scooter doesn’t deliver what it promised. End of story. How is he at fault?

      Well done, idiot.

  10. The Cheat says:

    All Chinese import scooters suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck and I doubt these are an exception. They always use the cheapest parts and materials. Also, it’s pretty much up to the importer to provide warranty support on their own dime since the smaller manufacturers have extremely unreliable repair part supplies.

    Your $900 150cc scooter will likely be a $900 lesson learned when the frame welds break and the engine parts start wearing out from poor assembly. The company I used to work for would have to spend an extra couple hours fixing various manufacturing flaws when they uncrated a new scooter.

  11. Snarkysnake says:

    I’m blaming the OP here for being an ignorant ,lazy dumbass.

    A cursory examination of the EVT “America” website would have told this guy that the scooter is made in China.

    CHINA , DUMBASS !!

    Anyone who has ever owned a scooter or small motorcycle could have told him that his little two wheeled Goremobile probably wouldn’t make it out of the 90 day warranty period without problems.( Not reaching a safe 40-45 MPH to keep up with traffic is a BIG problem).
    I have owned probably 10 scooters over the years and its pretty common knowledge that Chinese products are unsafe ,unreliable and unsupported from the manufacturer. They are mostly (poor) knockoffs of successful Japanese designs that are built down to a price to be sold to impulse price shoppers. He deserves what he got and I hope the NY AG has better things to do than try to nail the postal drop box “sales office ” to the wall on this.

    It’s the damn OP’s fault.

  12. frodolives35 says:

    Why does China have favored trade status. The high % of crap they export to us has got to end. Its a shame the have us by the short hairs by owning so much US debt. I guess I just answered my own question.

    • econobiker says:

      @frodolives35: We need the cheap Chinese goods because no one can afford expensive 1st world items since corporations sent well paying US jobs somewhere else, like China…

  13. sonneillon says:

    He has a judgment, sounds like it’s time for levys and writs of execution.

  14. MumblesFumbles says:

    I’ll put this as delicately as I possibly can but there’s no easy way to ask this. How much does the aggrieved person weigh?

    • Laura Northrup says:

      @MumblesFumbles: I see your point, but even if it were carrying more weight than it were designed to, wouldn’t the speedometer still reflect the actual speed that the vehicle is going?

  15. Jack T Ripper says:

    A couple points…

    1. In my state you have to have a vehicle in for service multiple times for the same problem within a certain period of time to qualify as a lemon. This scooter was merely not as advertised. There is probably a limiter on it somewhere that keeps it from exceeding 32 mph.

    2. You paid $2800 for that??? You must have stupid written all over your face. $2800 will get you a 250cc scooter that will go 50 or 60 mph AND get over 70 mpg. And you will actually be able to get out of the way faster if necessary. You are a sucker to pay $2800 for some Chinese built piece of crap scooter when you could have bought a perfectly good used Honda for practically the same price.

    3. The point about your weight is legitimate. If you are too heavy then it will impair the weak sauce electric motor from going the top speed. Maybe you are just too big to ride that little toy around and should explore getting a real scooter. You could have gotten a Metropolitan that goes faster than that and probably is just as green. Considering that electricity doesn’t grow on trees and the manufacturing of the power for your scooter probably is equally harmful to the environment than what a little scooter actually produces, you really are looking at apples and apples. Use the excuse of going green when you buy an electric H2 or something, but not when you buy a scooter. Lame.

    • Hawkins says:

      @Jack T Ripper: Mr. Ripper is correct. My 250cc Piaggio maxi-scooter keeps up with traffic on the highway, has full-size motorcycle wheels (for stability), a huge wind-reducing fairing, and usually gets over 75 mpg.

      Plus it looks Italian, which I think is cool.

      Cost: you could probably find a year-old one for $2,800.

  16. MrPenny says:

    Ordered a scooter over the Internet? From a company based in Miami through another company in California?

    “Caveat Emptor”

  17. zacox says:

    If he bought the scooter using a credit card, he may be able to persuade his card issuer into charging back the amount, even though the purchase was definitely outside the usual 60-day window. The card issuer has the discretion, and the technical limit for a chargeback from issuer to merchant is three years.

  18. duncanblackthorne says:

    I’ve been a motorcycle rider for over 25 years.

    1. Looking at that thing, there’s no WAY I’d want to go that fast on it (NOT safe!).
    2. Looking at that thing, there’s no WAY I’d’ve paid $2800 for it (it looks like it’s worth less than a quarter of that).
    3. Even ignoring the above, I would NOT purchase any vehicle, new or otherwise, unless I can SEE it in person BEFORE buying it.

    I have sympathy for you on some levels, OP, but on many others I have to say you’re the one who screwed up.

  19. P_Smith says:

    Here are the email addresses on the website if any other purchasers feel mistreated and cheated:

    [www.evtausa.com]

    On the page is says:

    —————————————————

    For information contact us at: info@evtamerica.com

    For purchases contact us at: sales@evtamerica.com

    For technical questions contact us at: support@evtamerica.com

    For corporate financial issues contact us at: cfo@evtamerica.com

    For our office in China contact us at: daisy@evtamerica.com

    For our office in Brazil contact us at: bboldt@evtamerica.com

    For our office in Europe contact us at: europe@evtamerica.com

  20. ggggarret says:

    it goes like this… they advertise a reliable electric scooter that can hit 45mph with a range of 35 miles… they take your money and deliver an inferior product. when you try to contact them about a refund they delay by offering to repair the scooter… and delay… and delay until the window of opportunity has passed to actually get a refund. now they require you pay to ship it back and for a restocking fee of hundreds of dollars.

    at least that’s the situation i experienced with them. the scooter was delivered with quirks that made it unsafe to drive on the street. the motor would cut out if you accelerated “too fast.” it took them nearly a year to repair it and by that time my batteries only had a 20 mile range. i asked them to replace the batteries and they refused. i told them i wanted a refund and they refused any reasonable conclusion.

    i went to the courts in texas, files the proper paperwork which was sent to the miami dade sheriff for delivery to the accused. do you know what happened? they REFUSED to answer the door so the paperwork was never delivered and they successfully avoided litigation. isn’t that super cool?

    evt america is run by crooks, plain and simple.

    anyone want to buy a barely used evt z-20a that only gets about 15 miles on a charge? at this point i’d let it go for $1,500 and you can put a new set of batteries in it for $500 and have a decent machine.

  21. AnthonyC says:

    @cowboyesfan:

    No, in fact, it is quite different.

    The numbers on those amps or speakers, 1-10 or 1-11, are dimensionless- they arbitrarily cover a number of decibels from some unnamed minimum to some unnamed maximum.

    The numbers on this spedometer have units, mph. An inaccurate spedometer is not just inconvenient; can be dangerous. Consider, too, that many highways have a minimum speed limit higher than 32mph, but less than 45 mph. Even if he didn’t care that it takes him longer to get places at 30mph than it would at 45, it certainly will matter when he is in a rush, or, in an emergency, needs to speed up and finds out he can’t.

  22. FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

    @acvicari: An inaccurate speedometer is also illegal in many states.

  23. bigroblee says:

    @acvicari: @cowboyesfan: You know… it crossed my mind that although it may say MPH due to an error in translation or some such that may have been meant to be KPH.

  24. fantomesq says:

    @cowboyesfan: With all due respect, I’ve got my degree.

  25. Esquire99 says:

    @cowboyesfan:
    He’s actually correct, and he’s not really giving legal advice; he’s merely explaining a court procedure. Many states allow you to file a “foreign judgment” (may be called something else, depending on the state). However, some states allow for these judgments to be challenged in the “new” state (Especially if the judgment was by default) and they can be expensive to file.

  26. Shappie says:

    @Chinchillazilla:

    Isn’t it against the law to have an inaccurate spedometer?

  27. CompyPaq says:

    @FooSchnickens – Forklift Dirver Extraordinaire: It could also cause his odometer to be inaccurate also, which can cause further issues down the road.

  28. Harry Manback says:

    @FooSchnickens – Forklift Dirver Extraordinaire: Quite a few motorcycles come from the factory with an 8-10% speedometer error, with <1% odometer error. Don’t believe me? Do some searching about the SV650 and let me know what you find (I have confirmed this with my SV using both GPS and radar guns).

  29. Trai_Dep says:

    @fantomesq: But if this is a “feature” of EVT’s products, what of the customers who haven’t filed, have a Plantation mentality or aren’t even aware they’ve been ripped off?

  30. feckingmorons says:

    @Esquire99: It is not a foreign judgment it (may be I don’t see OP mentioning the arbitration or $250 filing fee for the NY AGO Lemon Law Arbitration) as the dealer was in Miami and thus no nexus, so not subject to the NY AGO’s arbitration.

    If fantomesq is giving legal advice he is simply wrong.

    This is not legal nor tax advice. If you need legal or tax advice seek a competent professional in your locale.

  31. TouchMyMonkey says:

    @msquier: But electricity can be made by a number of methods, many of which do not involve handing over billions of dollars to people who hate our guts.

  32. Rachacha says:

    @msquier: Solar, but yeah, unlikely that the OP will be installing a solar panel simply o charge his scooter.

  33. Karita says:

    @feckingmorons: Fantomesq sounds fairly correct, considering I’m doing the same thing for a few of my clients right now. Your response, on the other hand, doesn’t actually make any sense to me.

    But it’s true – never take legal advice over the internet. Too many differences between the states.

  34. Crim Law Geek says:

    @feckingmorons:
    There is Nexus to NY. In fact, one of the basis for jurisdiction under the NY CPLR 302(1), personal jurisdiction attaches to anyone who “transacts any business within the state or contracts anywhere to supply goods or services in the state” or ” expects or should reasonably expect the act to have consequences in the state and derives substantial revenue from interstate or international commerce” (CPLR 302(1)(ii).

    Selling a bike to someone who lives in NY is a contract to “supply goods or services” in New York, thus giving NY Courts jurisdiction.

    This is also not legal advice.

  35. DeeJayQueue says:

    @Trai_Dep:

    Yup, because every energy source on the planet has the same efficiency and carbon footprint.

    No, that’s true it doesn’t. And not every fuel source comes from turrists.

    However, overwhelmingly electricity comes from very dirty sources, both morally and environmentally. If it’s not petroleum it’s coal. In the US there aren’t many Nuclear, Hydroelectric, solar or wind farms. Not nearly as many as in other countries, and almost none measured by landmass.

    So, saying electric vehicles are greener simply because they don’t directly burn gasoline pretty ridiculous on its face, and when you compare the costs of generation and transportation and time to re”fuel” an electric vehicle to, say, a comparable motorcycle or motorscooter which gets well over 100mpg, it makes you look just as silly as you’re trying to make the previous commenter look.

  36. Pixel says:

    @Shappie: Yup, needs to read within 5mph of actual speed.

    There was a car company (can’t recall which) that sometime in the last decade got in big legal trouble for the fact their speedometers were off and as such they showed more miles on the odometer than had actually been traveled. They were sued for bilking customers out of their full warranty coverage (if you’ve only gone 33K but the odometer says you’ve gone 36K and your warranty was for 36K you see the problem). Ended up having to extend the warranty and repay out of warranty repairs if I recall correctly.

  37. fantomesq says:

    @Trai_Dep: Right. The Attorney General may well decide to take his own action on behalf of his state based upon this letter because they feel it is a particularly egregious case but usually they only take action after they get several complaints about a company… While the OP’s circumstantial evidence that HIS scooter could not get the specified MPH, that certainly doesn’t mean that other scooters even of the same make couldn’t. Kudos to the OP on getting his judgment… he’s 90% of the way to reaching his goal.

  38. mythago says:

    @Crim Law Geek: Rendering an opinion (“there is nexus”) and then claiming it’s not legal advice is a dangerous road to go down, as you will find out when you pass the bar somewhere.

    fantomesq is nominally correct in that you can get a judgment in one state enforced in another in many cases, but it ain’t easy. The OP should talk to a collections attorney.

  39. cristiana says:

    @Dondegroovily: I didn’t say sleazy, i said interesting, however, if you look at their dealings with Fisker, various vaporware announcements, and other financial issues, you can classify their dealings as interesting.

  40. Shadowman615 says:

    @bigroblee: 32km/h =~ 20 miles/h. So probably not.

  41. Joey_Brill says:

    @Shadowman615: or 45km/h – 27.9 mph.

    Like my Mini cooper, this baby just stops recording when you floor past 25mph.

  42. wvFrugan says:

    @Trai_Dep:
    Usually what you see from them looks like they are DJs, particularly with regard to actual (dare I say practical) application of law to any specific situation. Usually all I see is a C game, at best, brought to the field here (and thus completes my comment with an obligatory football analogy!).

  43. drjayphd says:

    @Trai_Dep: Eh, anyone following the Cowboys might be able to pass the bar. Then again, you might as well hand out JDs to every Bengals fan ever…

  44. bwcbwc says:

    @Rachacha: Not to mention geothermal, hydroelectric, nuclear, wind and (for all I know) squirrel power.

  45. Apeweek says:

    @acvicari:

    You’re on the right track, but a couple of your numbers need help – transmission loss of 25% is not common – the average efficiency of the grid is in the 90s. from Wikipedia:

    [en.wikipedia.org]

    “…Transmission and distribution losses in the USA were estimated at 7.2% in 1995″

    And the 20-25% efficiency of gas engines is a laboratory bench number. In real traffic, you’re lucky to get even 15%. Contrast this with electric motors, which have real-world efficiency numbers in the 90s.

  46. Trai_Dep says:

    @acvicari: Wow. You’re awesome. Thanks!

  47. LeChiffre says:

    @H3ion: Ohhh that’s good. Now mail fraud? heh heh heh,,,the bucket is getting deeper.

  48. Laura Northrup says:

    @Rachacha: FWIW, the OP lives in the Rochester area. This didn’t end up in the article because it wasn’t relevant.

  49. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    @Harry Manback: “one model” is not the same as “quite a few”

  50. Seokso says:

    @Englishee Teacher: @Englishee Teacher:
    I was just about to say the same thing, especially with the part about driving on the sidewalk. Drivers in Korea are downright homocidal. After driving in Korea for a few years, I’m afraid of what kind of driver I have become. I’ll have to retrain when I move back home.

  51. Harry Manback says:

    @gStein_has joined the star bandwagon: *sigh* A lot of my friends ride motorcycles and most (if not all) have the same issue. I know this one model has had this discussed repeatedly on the internet so I used it as an example. Just because I only provided one example doesn’t mean that only one exists.