No one wants to purchase a defective automobile. A government’s duty is to protect its citizens from purchasing fraudulent products. Purchasing a new car will be important to your livelihood, employment, family, business, and social life, and it’s just as important to have a reliable mode of transportation.
Sometimes manufacturers aren’t able to diagnose what may be the problem with your vehicle and are unable to fix it, or they may not feel it’s worth it, for a multitude of reasons. If your vehicle immediately requires service after you’ve purchased it, that doesn’t automatically mean that it is a lemon. It could have been damaged in transit or by another potential buyer. It’s common that a new car has issues that require your manufacturer to take a look at it. Upon doing so, they should be able to diagnose the issue and send you on your way. Your vehicle is determined to be a lemon after multiple repair attempts are made.
What is the Lemon Law for Used Cars?
If you’ve recently purchased a used vehicle and suspect that it may be a lemon, you may want to consult your particular state’s lemon law statutes for used cars. Some states have laws that particularly address used vehicles, and some states only protect vehicles under warranty.
However, according to the National Consumer Law Center, there are more ways that the government could protect your vehicle purchase even if your vehicle was sold “as-is,” such as:
- Your odometer was misrepresentative or altered
- The sale was deceptive or unfair, therefore making it in violation of the state’s law
- Fraudulent claims
- Your title wasn’t clean
- The manufacturers’ warranty overrides the warranty provided by the dealership
- Express warranties apply, such as the vehicle’s advertising or dealerships verbal declarations
- Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act limitations on sales of pre-owned vehicles
- Your state’s jurisdictions prohibit “as-is” sales
- Your state’s special laws on “as-is” sales
- The disclaimers were improperly worded or not effectively disclosed
- The disclaimers were made in bad faith or unconscionable circumstances
States with Lemon Laws
Every state in the United States has its own lemon laws, and they can differ based on the answers to the following questions:
- How long after a purchase does the consumer have lemon law rights?
- Do my state’s lemon laws cover used cars?
- How many times does the manufacturer get to attempt to repair the vehicle?
- Do individuals leasing vehicles have different rights than those who purchased?
- Do my state’s lemon laws cover other vehicles like motorcycles, recreational vehicles, commercial vehicles, and other products?
- How does my state determine the mileage offset costs?
Some manufacturers will want you to believe that your state doesn’t cover your vehicle purchase in its lemon laws when they actually do. It’s important to speak with an experienced attorney specializing in lemon law in your state to ensure that you get a refund or a vehicle that isn’t defective.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lemon Law Complaint?
Refer to your state’s laws about the warranty terms, the time allowed after purchase, and how many miles your vehicle is covered after delivery.
In order for your purchase to qualify under the statute of your state’s lemon laws, you must:
- Bring your purchase to the manufacturer to be serviced when it has an issue.
- Keep records of your manufacturer attempting to service the same issue multiple times.
- Persist that the manufacturer attempts to fix the vehicle even if it seems pointless.
- Notify the manufacturer in writing about your vehicles’ defects and keep records.
If you want to ensure that you qualify under your state’s lemon laws, then you should avoid:
- Taking your car to any mechanic that is not your manufacturer, because this may void your warranty
- Losing your vehicle because it was repossessed
- Not returning your car to the manufacturer for repairs. It may seem redundant, but you need to be able to prove you made every attempt at fixing your vehicle before they will refund or replace your vehicle.