Lemon Laws – What Can I Do After the Car I Bought is a Lemon? Today’s guest blog is by the Law Firm of Timothy Abeel and Associates. The opinions expressed by the author in this and all guest blogs are not necessarily those of Marc J. Victor, P.C.
What Can I Do After the Car I Bought is a Lemon?
Buying a new car is an exciting experience as well as a significant investment; auto consumers have a right to expect that their vehicles will perform reliably. Although most vehicles will eventually need repairs, new cars should rarely be out of service for an extended period of time. If your new automobile has been in for repeated repairs that have not been resolved, you may have a lemon on your hands.
How do I know if my vehicle is a lemon?
At times, a vehicle may not run reliably after it has been to the shop for repeated repair attempts. Similarly, a car can continue to break down because of the same problem, even though repairs have apparently been made. In either case, the vehicle is probably a lemon, and it is important to know your rights under state and federal lemon laws.
In order to protect consumers, the federal lemon law was put in place in 1975. This law is designed to provide remedies to individuals who purchase defective vehicles. Basically, automobile manufacturers are required to either replace a faulty vehicle that cannot be repaired or provide a refund to the consumer.
On the other hand, state lemon laws govern many aspects of vehicle manufacturer’s warranties. These laws vary state to state, however, particularly regarding what constitutes a lemon and the legal remedies available. Generally, in order to be covered by state lemon laws, your vehicle must still be under the manufacturer’s warranty. If your vehicle is experiencing problems, therefore, you should start by reviewing the warranty.
Depending on the type of warranty, you may have coverage for a number of issues. Some vehicles are covered by a bumper-to-bumper warranty, a powertrain warranty, or both. While new vehicles are typically covered by major systems such as the engine and transmission, the warranty on used cars is far more restrictive.
It is important to remember that warranties for new vehicles typically expire after a set amount of time or mileage — typically three years or 36,000 miles — and warranties can also be extended. Although there should be should be no cost for covered repairs, you will obviously be inconvenienced by not having your vehicle on the road and waiting for the repairs to be completed. Once the warranty expires, however, you will have to foot the bill for any repairs.
When it comes to lemon laws, some states limit protection to vehicles that have been owned for no more than two years or that have less than 24,000 miles. In other states, the limits may be one year and 12,000 miles, respectively. Moreover, under such laws a vehicle may be considered a lemon if any of the following conditions apply:
- The vehicle has been in for repairs at least three times for the same problem without being resolved
- The vehicle has been out of service for a certain number of days (15 to 20)
- The unresolved defect could cause serious injuries or fatalities
Lemon Law Remedies
If you’ve had ongoing problems with a vehicle that is under a manufacturer’s warranty, and the problem has not been resolved you may be entitled to compensation. Depending on the nature of the defect and the laws of your state; you can recover damages in the form of a vehicle repair, a refund, or even a replacement vehicle. Nonetheless, enforcing your rights can be complicated which makes having the assistance of an experienced Lemon Law attorney essential.
About the Author
Mr. Abeel started his own consumer law firm with the basic principle – to treat and approach each case in the same way he would want his own case treated.
With that principle in mind, Mr. Abeel has been able to achieve great results for consumers who need an advocate in their corner. Tim Abeel is capable of handling all types of consumer law cases including, lemon law, dealer fraud, and breach of warranty claims. Mr. Abeel will work to get your case resolved as soon as possible and has the experience to take your case as far as needed to get you a great result.