What Is The Lemon Law And How Does It Work?

Recognizing that a car is a major consumer purchase and that a defective car creates a burden for the consumer, the Legislature, through this Act, has provided procedures where a consumer may receive either a replacement car or a full refund for a NEW car which cannot be brought into conformity with the express warranty issued by the manufacturer.

These laws apply to demonstrators or lease­purchase vehicles as long as a manufacturer`s warranty was issued as a condition of the sale. However, this Act does not apply to motorcycles or mopeds.

If a NEW vehicle does not conform to the express warranty, the consumer must report the defect(s) to the manufacturer or dealer within the warranty period or within 1 year from the time the consumer received the car—whichever period ends first. The manufacturer or dealer must then make whatever repairs are necessary to conform the vehicle to the warranty—even if these repairs are made after the expiration of the warranty period or one­year period. (The warranty period or the one­year period may be extended if the defect has been reported but not repaired by the end of these periods.)

The consumer must IN WRITING notify the manufacturer about the defect. The manufacturer will then recommend a reasonably accessible repair facility. After the car has been delivered to the repair facility, the manufacturer will have 10 working days to repair the vehicle. If, after a reasonable number of attempts, a car cannot be repaired to conform to the warranty AND the car`s defects impair the use, market value, or safety of the car, the manufacturer (based on the consumer`s preference) shall EITHER:

  1. replace the car with a comparable motor vehicle acceptable to the consumer LESS a charge for the consumer`s use of the car [20 cents per mile]; OR
  2. take the car`s title from the consumer and refund the full purchase price (including all reasonably related outside costs) LESS a charge for the consumer`s use of the car [20 cents per mile].

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.

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