How do I Know if I have Purchased a Lemon Car?
At last, you saved enough money and bought the car of your dreams. But after several days you face a problem and have to go to the repair shop hoping not to return. Unfortunately, after for a while, the same problems, again and again, bother you… so what, is your daydream purchase turning into a nightmare? Actually, it is not a nightmare but a lemon car which you bought from the manufacturer or dealer, but it will turn into a nightmare if you don’t ask the manufacturer to replace it with a new one.
In fact, the car is treated as a lemon when the same problem was impossible to fix after several attempts. In this case, you have some rights under the lemon law of your state. First, you may have the car replaced by the manufacturer. Second, you may force the manufacturer or the dealer to repurchase the vehicle for the same price.
It may happen, that the manufacturer or the dealer refuses to make any repurchase. In that case, you may file a claim against under the regulations of your state. In the majority of cases, the dealers avoid court procedures and try to act in your favor.
Thus, the car is a lemon when:
- The car has a substantial defect which is defined as “problem covered by the warranty that impairs the car’s use, value, or safety, such as faulty brakes or steering. Minor defects such as loose radio knobs and door handles do not meet the legal definition of “substantial defect.”
- It is not fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts.
State law protection
Though lemon law differs from state to state and there are even states when only new cars may be a lemon, nevertheless, in general, your car should meet the following standards to have lemon law protection and be called a lemon car:
- The car has serious safety defects referring brakes or steering and so on. This problem must remain unfixed after one attempt to repair
- When facing not serious safety defect, it must remain unfixed after 3-4 attempts to repair (actual numbers vary by states)
- If your car is under repair in the shop for days (30 days in one year) in order to fix warranty defects
Lemon law arbitration
If you want to resolve your lemon case easily and without court procedures, arbitration is the best choice for you. In the arbitration process, the consumer and the manufacturer present the conditions of the vehicle to the impartial arbitrator. Moreover, manufacturers themselves use different arbitration programs. The program is either selected for you or you select it. If you have a chance to do it on your own, it is better to choose a state consumer protection agency program. Try to avoid manufacturer’s in-house program or a private arbitration program.
Dealer fraud and Lemon law
Very often these two legal concepts are misunderstood as the core object of claim in both cases is the vehicle. The lemon law deals with lawsuits against the manufacturer, new and sometimes used vehicles, vehicles under the original warranty of the manufacturer etc. While dealer fraud deals with a lawsuit against the auto dealer, mostly used vehicles, the vehicle which may have no defects or problems, intentional fraud etc.
In short, the focus of dealer fraud is the improper and decisive behavior of the dealer while selling the vehicle. But lemon cases arise because of the car defects.
Your victory over the manufacturer or dealer is not only in your hands. The factor of a skillful attorney matter a great deal. Even if you have all the evidence that you purchased a lemon car, there are a set of legal procedures you can’t handle without a proper attorney. Hiring an experienced lemon law attorney increases your chances to get the compensation you seek for.
Lemon laws are not an easy task to deal with. They need thorough and precise approach. Be attentive while choosing your attorney. Before submitting a claim make sure that your car meets the requirements to be considered a lemon.