How Do Typical Lemon Laws Work?

by | Apr 6, 2016 | Attorneys

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All fifty states have lemon laws, laws that are designed to protect consumers who purchase new cars. These laws vary somewhat between states but there are certain common denominators. There are some states for example that have lemon laws that only cover cars and passenger vehicles while there are other states where the lemon laws cover recreation vehicles and motorcycles. There are even a few states that cover used cars but this is uncommon.

The typical lemon law:

The typical lemon law, bear in mind there are variables, stipulates that the purchaser has legal recourse should certain circumstances occur:

  * The car is unavailable for use for a specified number of days
  * The car is in for repair a certain number of times (normally three or four) for the same defect and it cannot be fixed
  * The car is in for repair for a serious defect that affects safety (normally one or two) and the defect cannot be fixed.

What qualifies as a defect?

Once again, the definition of a defect varies. The lemon laws in the greatest majority of states say that a defect is one that must substantially impair the use of the vehicle, its value as well as its safety. There are some defects that are obvious; brake failure for example or failure to start. Other defects are not as easy to quantify; water leaks for example.

If you have had your vehicle in for repair numerous times or it has been in for repair for a certain number of days most states require that you advise the manufacturer direct that you believe you have a lemon and you are going to take action. This gives the manufacture one last chance to repair the defect, you can almost guarantee that this will not work, if the car could have been fixed it would have been fixed during earlier attempts.

 What is the recourse?

Once it reaches the point where there is no doubt that the vehicle meets all the criteria that the state has laid down the owner has two choices; he or she can take a replacement of equal value or have the car repurchased. When the owner opts for a cash refund this includes taxes, licensing fees etc less an offset for the number of miles the car has been driven. If the vehicle was fin aced and the loan has yet to be paid off, lemon laws require the financier to cooperate with the transaction.

Lemon laws exist to protect the consumer that purchases a vehicle that fails to perform as specified by the manufacturer. For details on the lemon laws of your state you are invited to visit

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