Lemon Series: Do You Know About Lemon Law?
Did you buy a lemon? Do you know what the Lemon Law is in your state? Do you know what a lemon is? A lemon, as it refers to vehicles, is a model you buy that has something that doesn’t seem to be right at all. Every state has its own Lemon Law to protect consumers from a valid defect, but you have to follow certain processes to take any action, especially if you’re dealing with a used vehicle.
What is a Lemon?
In most states, the Lemon Law describes a lemon as being a car that has a substantial defect covered by a warranty that occurs multiple times after the purchase. This defect must continue to show itself and, for whatever reason, is unable to be repaired, even after several attempts have taken place. The full definition is different from state to state.
What is a Substantial Defect?
Most of the time, a substantial defect is simply a problem that’s not caused by the owner after the purchase which impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle. Most of the time, the defect must be covered under warranty and seriously detract from the function of the vehicle. This means most new and CPO models will fall under the Lemon Law, but very few used vehicles.
Repairs Must be Allowed
Before a car can be declared a lemon, a reasonable number of repair attempts must be exceeded. This determination changes from state to state. It can be as low as one attempt or it could take a certain number of days during ownership. The dealer must have the opportunity to have the defect fixed before a vehicle can be declared a lemon.
Can a Lemon Law Cover a Used Car?
Most of the time, the Lemon Law is made to cover vehicles that have some form of warranty associated with them. This typically leaves out used cars, but most used cars are under a small warranty from the dealer from the time of purchase. This means a car that shows issues during that time could be deemed a lemon. If you buy a used car and want Lemon Law protection, you need to take quick and decisive action.
Remedies for Lemon Law Cars
If your vehicle has been deemed to be a lemon under the current Lemon Law guidelines of your state, you have a course of action. You can receive either a refund or a replacement vehicle for the model that is the lemon. If you aren’t offered a settlement that satisfies what you need, you can take your case to court by hiring an attorney to represent you.
Take Your Case to Court
The arbitration process in a Lemon Law case isn’t free, but you might be protected by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. This act allows you to recover attorney’s fees incurred during a lawsuit. If the arbitration panel rules in your favor, you could get out of the contract for your lemon of a car with no monetary loss.
Make sure you understand the Lemon Law of your state when you buy a vehicle, follow the guidelines set by this law, and advocate for yourself if you feel you’ve found a vehicle that isn’t working right while under warranty.