A quick guide to identifying defective or ‘lemon’ cars
Quality and performance is the name of the game when trying to determine if a car needs to be classified as a “Lemon” car. The Federal “Lemon Law” was passed by Congress in 1975 as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act .
This U.S. federal law sets out certain guarantees for consumer products warranties. Each state also has individual versions of lemon laws. Protection is extended to vehicles, but also to boats, motorcycles, wheelchairs and RVs.
What Do Lemon Laws Cover?
The scope of this legislation is that it covers anything mechanical that is considered to fall under a manufacturer’s breach of contract. It covers both express (written) and implied warranties. If a lawsuit follows a warranty default, the loser may be required to pay attorney’s fees in addition to other penalties. In certain cases, even defects or unreported damages that are not under warranty, or that are included in an “as is” agreement, are still covered under Lemon Law protection.
The Federal Lemon Law was enacted due to merchant misuse of express warranties or disclaimers. The purpose of the legislation was to make warranties more understandable for consumers, and to add enforcement methods. It was designed to assist the Federal Trade Commission in its duties to protect consumers. It is applicable to any consumer product that has a warranty.
What Defects Does My Car Need to Have in Order to be considered a Lemon?
There is the Federal Lemon Law as well as a Lemon Law in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Better Business Bureau has published links to each state’s lemon laws on their website: http://www.bbb.org/us/auto-line/state-lemon-laws/
In brief, here are the basic requirements for a car to be classified a Lemon:
1. Continual defect repairs, which means repairs are needed 4 or more times for the same defect within the warranty period. If that defect cannot be fixed, that car would qualify as a lemon under the Federal law and under most state laws. You must also check your state Lemon Law requirements.
2. You must give the manufacturer an opportunity to repair any problem or defect in the warranty period. This means if your brakes are not working or the car does not seem to accelerate properly or whatever the issue is, you may have a lemon if the manufacturer cannot repair the problem.
3. It is important that you give the manufacturer the opportunity to fix the problem. However, keep detailed records with dates of the occurrence of the problem(s) and attempted repairs by the manufacturer. Record any results. Details like this can make or break your Lemon Law case.
4. If a defect presents a serious problem that could cause severe injury, this may qualify as a Lemon Law defect that would apply even with just one occurrence if the manufacturer cannot do the repair properly. Again, check out the state laws and consult with your attorney for legal standing on Lemon Law protection if your vehicle is having warranty/defect issues.
It is your obligation to follow, record, and attempt to obtain repairs from the manufacturer if you are seeking relief under Lemon Laws. If you fail to act and try to protect yourself, you may jeopardize your rights under Lemon Laws and forfeit any redemption possibilities. If you have a serious product defect, contact your personal attorney to receive guidance in legal and warranty compensation problems.
And check out our article – What Do I Do If My Car is a Lemon?– to get an idea of how you can obtain a replacement vehicle and/or compensation for your defective car if you’ve been one of the unfortunate few to buy a new car that’s a lemon.
If you own a lemon car and need to learn more about documentation and helping your attorney easily obtain a replacement vehicle for you, check out the Lawteryx consumer protection blog and knowledge center to learn more.
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