There is nothing worse than making a large purchase like a new car or truck and being utterly disappointed with the results. Having to pay for repairs over and over for something you expected (and were probably told) would be reliable and problem free is an all too common nightmare for consumers. Luckily, there is both a national precedent for manufacturer accountability, and concurrent laws in every state that certify the rights of consumers.
When it comes to automobiles, these laws are known specifically as “lemon laws.” If you’ve soured over a vehicle you’ve recently purchased, don’t despair. You may have to seek legal council to get the refund or replacement you deserve, but if you’re certain you’ve been duped or mislead, there is a legal mandate that the manufacturer or dealer make things right.Law Offices of Sotera L. Anderson
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 set the nation standard for warranties on all consumer products (not just cars). Each state deals with automotive lemon laws differently. The Magnuson-Moss Act was designed to make warranties more enforceable and easier to understand for purchasers. Every new car is covered by the national law. The act also applies to cars sold with a warranty.
When it comes to used cars, the law is different in every state, but in some cases they are covered even if they were sold without a specific warranty by the dealer. Typically, the vehicle would have to have some kind of checkered past to be eligible. This includes cars that were previously totaled and rebuilt, or car with undisclosed damage from a flood or other disaster.
Unsuccessful repairs. Usually, several attempts have to have been made to repair a specific, significant problem without success. What constitutes “several” is often up for debate. In states like California, repairs made to “life-threatening” defects like brakes or steering are held to a higher standard.
The car is under a manufacturer or dealer warranty. It’s possible that your vehicle is covered by a state law even if was sold “as is” or without a warranty, but less likely.
What to do if you suspect you have purchased a lemon:
Keep documentation of all issues. This means making copies of all repairs, warranty information, and keeping notes on conversations you’ve had with or mechanics or anyone at the dealership.
Create a timeline. Make a document that details every action you’ve taken with the car regarding maintenance, repairs, and inquiries. Start with the day you purchased the car. Even if it doesn’t seem completely relevant, make a note. An exhaustive list will only help you.
Check with the manufacturer. If possible, contact the manufacturer to see if there is a pattern with the particular vehicle you’ve purchase. Your repair shop or dealership may have this sort of documentation, too.
Contact an attorney. It is quite possible that a dealership will try to write-off your repairs as “routine” or trivial. If you meet resistance, contact an attorney that knows the lemon law of your state.