Did You Buy a Lemon?
Federal and State Lemon Laws
All fifty states have what are termed “lemon laws.” While the details of the lemon laws vary from state to state, the premise is the same. Lemon laws provide consumers with protection when they buy a car that appeared to be in good working order (or sweet as a lemon appears) and the car is in fact in poor condition (or sour as a lemon).
Consumers are also protected by the federal Lemon Law, also known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
What is a Lemon?
Each state has its own definition of when a car becomes a lemon. You likely have a lemon if the car has a defect that substantially impacts its use. If the same problem has been attempted to be fixed a number of times by a qualified auto mechanic and the problem keeps reappearing then you likely have a lemon. If you buy a used care that has a rolled back odometer, a prior history of problems that were known to the seller and not disclosed to the buyer, a car that was previously flooded, or a car that was stolen, stripped and rebuilt then you likely have a lemon.
How To Make a Claim
The various state lemon laws require that you give the manufacturer or seller the chance to remedy the problem before you make a claim under the Lemon Law. In order to make a claim you should contact the seller of the used car and ask the seller to fix the problem. It is important to keep detailed and accurate documentation of all of your contacts with the seller and of all repairs made on the vehicle so that you have that information should you need to proceed with a lemon law claim.
Most state lemon laws and the federal lemon law allow for consumers to recover damages in a legal action if the defect cannot be fixed after a reasonable number of attempts. Pursuant to the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and approximately half the state lemon laws, you can recover attorney fees if you are successful in your claim.
A used car is a big investment even if you don’t spend a lot of money on the purchase. You count on it to perform safely and reliably. Therefore, the federal government and the governments of all 50 states have enacted lemon laws to protect the consumers from dangerously defective used cars.
For more information on lemon laws, contact a lemon law attorney today.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
Additional Lemon Law Articles
State Lemon Law Articles
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota