Lemon laws protect consumers who purchase used vehicles. However, these laws have some limitations.
Lemon laws are consumer protection laws designed to provide remedies for individuals who purchase defective vehicles, often called “lemons.” These laws typically apply to new vehicles, but the applicability of lemon laws to used cars varies by state and country. The specifics of lemon laws can differ significantly depending on your location.
How Do I Make a Lemon Law Claim?
Your first step should be to bring your vehicle to the dealership for repair. In some states, you may have to give the manufacturer three chances to fix a substantial problem before calling it a lemon. However, you should always keep records of your repairs and any attempts to contact the dealer for help. This will be substantial evidence at your lemon law arbitration hearing.
You must also ensure that you report all problems to the dealership, even if you think they are minor. All repair orders must be documented with dates, mileage, and a clear problem description. If you believe your vehicle is a lemon, contact an experienced attorney to discuss the matter.
During your lemon law arbitration, you will present evidence to an impartial person (an arbitrator) about the problems that you have experienced with your car. During this process, you may also discuss settlement with the automobile manufacturer’s representative.
If you’ve had to return your defective, used car to the dealership for repeated repairs or have been out of service for a significant number of days, you may be entitled to compensation under the state’s lemon law. To learn more about your rights, consult a lemon law attorney at Timothy Abeel & Associates.
How Do I Know If My Car is a Lemon?
If you bought a used car from a dealer or manufacturer and it turns out to be a lemon, you’ll have to file a claim by your state’s lemon laws. These laws can vary in detail, but they usually require a refund or replacement for vehicles with substantial defects that the automaker can’t fix in a reasonable amount of time.
To qualify for a used car lemon law, the vehicle must have a problem within the first year or 12,000 miles that you can’t get the manufacturer to fix. You also must be able to document the failure of the dealership’s attempts to repair the car within a reasonable number of times.
In addition, your used car must have a warranty or extended manufacturer’s warranty. This includes certified pre-owned warranties. The dealer must disclose the warranty information in writing on the window sticker.
Additionally, to protect yourself against purchasing a used car that turns out to be a lemon, check an online vehicle history report. This will disclose if the vehicle has been involved in a major accident or has had its mileage changed. These are major red flags that could lead to a poor driving experience. You can also look up a vehicle’s reliability record by reviewing Consumer Reports lists of reliable cars.
Some states have lemon laws that cover used cars, while others do not. The coverage, criteria, and remedies can vary from state to state. In some states, used car lemon laws only apply to vehicles still under their original manufacturer’s warranty or certified pre-owned programs.
How Do I Get a Lemon Law Remedy?
If you have a lemon, the law can provide several different remedies. These include refunds, replacement cars, or a buyback. You must claim within a specific time frame or lose your rights. You also must show that the problem is severe and significantly affects your car use. A lawyer can help you determine if your problems meet the requirements.
The lemon law and federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act let you recover your attorney’s fees if you win your case. However, you must hire an attorney to get and enforce your award.
You must participate in the manufacturer’s arbitration program if it is established under state law and complies with federal regulations before you can sue the manufacturer directly. Most manufacturers have such programs, but you should not assume they can fix your vehicle.
In addition, you must give the dealer a reasonable number of attempts to repair your car. If the dealer fails to fix the problem after three or more attempts, or if it has been out of service for 15 days or more, you may have a valid lemon law claim. Remember, the manufacturer can offset your damages with the costs of the repairs made or with the cost of the vehicle.
You must consult your state’s specific lemon laws and regulations to understand how they apply to used cars in your area. Remember that these laws can be complex, and consulting with an attorney experienced in consumer protection and lemon law matters may be advisable if you believe you have a valid claim.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that some used car dealerships offer warranties or guarantees on used vehicles, which may protect in case of defects or problems. Always read and understand the terms of any warranty or guarantee the dealer provides before purchasing a used car.