“A new car is second only to a home as the most expensive purchase many consumers make” (Federal Trade Commission). After spending the time to carefully select the right vehicle for you and your family, it’s not only frustrating to find it doesn’t run correctly, it can feel as though you were violated. In all states there is recourse through Lemon Laws, though those laws vary from state to state.

Lemon Laws

American state laws that “provide a remedy for purchasers of cars and other consumer goods in order to compensate for products that repeatedly fail to meet standards of quality and performance” are referred to as Lemon Laws. All sorts of defective products, from vehicles to small appliances and even puppies can be covered under these laws. Each state has its own laws and these laws vary. Lemon Laws give consumers the ability to rely on the vehicle purchased; its safety and dependability.

The Federal Lemon Law, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, protects citizens of all states since 1975. The Federal law covers anything mechanical and offers that the warranter may be responsible to pay the damaged party’s attorney in a successful suit.

If You Have a Lemon

If you notice problems with your new car, contact the dealer right away. Even if the dealership can’t repair your vehicle until after your warranty has expired, requesting the repair before the expiration of warranty means the dealer has to repair your ride.

Check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration‘s database of service bulletins. These service bulletins are sent to dealers to explain a problem as well as directions on how to repair it. Visit SafeCar to file or search for complaints about safety issues with your vehicle. There you can also search for recalls and investigations related to your vehicle.

Keep Records

Keep careful records. Note each time you speak with someone in regards to your car – name, date, time, what was discussed or promised. Keep copies of all of the repair bills, work orders and any correspondence related to your vehicle. Make sure to track all time that your car was out of use due to service or repairs being performed. Some Lemon Laws require the defect to be attempted to be repaired up to four times before a refund or replacement can be demanded.

Try to work with your dealer first. If the dealership isn’t providing the relief you need, you can contact the manufacturer that is, under Lemon Laws, responsible for the safety and dependability of your car.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that Lemon Laws protect you in the event you purchase an unsafe or dysfunctional vehicle. Most of these laws apply only to new vehicles purchased from a dealership. Only six states – Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York – have used car lemon laws. Six other states have required used car warranties or have set standards for used car sales; Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Some other states may have unfair or deceptive practice laws that would apply to used car purchases. Only true used car lemon laws will require the dealer to replace or refund the vehicle.

Staff (63 Posts)