Lemon Law

Did You Buy a Lemon?

A car, truck, SUV, or other motor vehicle is a major purchase for most of us. When that purchase goes badly wrong, it can cause a wide range of problems, from unanticipated costs to loss of transportation.

Fortunately, laws in many states protect motor vehicle purchasers who “get a lemon.”

What is a Lemon?

Different state laws define “lemon” differently. In general terms, a new vehicle may be considered a lemon if it has substantial defects or serious mechanical problems. Generally, these issues must be serious enough to interfere with use of the vehicle or make it unsafe to operate. In some states, lemon law also covers defects that don’t impact the operation of the vehicle, but do significantly affect its value.

Lemon Laws in the United States

Lemon law differs from state to state. So, the best source of information about your rights when you’ve bought a problem vehicle is an attorney experienced with lemon law issues in your state. The sooner you make contact with a lemon law attorney, the better. That’s because your deadline for pursuing a claim differs from state to state. And, depending on the state, you may be required to give the seller a certain amount of time or number of opportunities to repair the vehicle before pursuing a claim.

In general:

● Most state lemon laws cover only personal vehicles, not those purchased for a corporate fleet or to be used as a taxi cab
● Most state lemon laws cover only new vehicles, though there are a few exceptions
● Most state lemon laws cover only passenger vehicles like cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs

The relief available under these state statutes also varies, but the seller is generally required to make the situation right, whether that means repairing the vehicle, replacing the vehicle, or refunding the purchaser’s money. Many state lemon law statutes provide for attorney’s fees, meaning that if the purchaser’s claim succeeds, the dealer can be ordered to pay the buyer’s attorney fees.

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