Every state has laws known as Lemon Laws that cover all passenger vehicles, which includes cars, trucks and SUVs. Most State Lemon Laws apply to new cars, leased or purchased which suffer a nonconformity. A nonconformity is a defect or condition which substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle. These laws apply to an automobile which can not be fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts. Reasonable number of attempts depend on the on each state's Lemon Law statute. Most states laws says 3 - 4 repair attempts in the first year of ownership. Some states extend the coverage time to 2 years.
Also the Lemon Law usually applies to vehicles which are in the shop for extended periods of time within the first year, regardless of whether it's one constant problem or a series of problems. Majority of state statues covers cars in the shop 30 days in the first year.
A common questioned is “Is a Used Car protected by the Lemon Law?” Whether the lemon law applies to a used car depends upon which State the car was purchased in. Some states include used and leased cars in their Lemon Law statutes. Some states have separate laws for used vehicles. Some states provide protection only for new cars. If your vehicle falls outside the your State Lemon Law, there is a chance that you could still seek remedy under Federal Warranty Statutes. Also, most states have Unfair Trade Practice Laws, which protect consumers against automobile dealer fraud, odometer rollback, and used cars with lemon or salvage titles.
Redress under the auto lemon law are usually based upon the severity of the situation. The impacted consumer could be entitled to a new car, or full buyback, or perhaps a partial refund or extended warranty and continued ownership of the car. In most states, the attorney fees and court cost an under the Lemon Law is free, if the plaintiff.
If feel you have been sold a lemon here are some tips you should use.
KEEP A COPY of all documentation you have regarding your vehicle and its history. This includes all repair orders, purchase contracts, warranty book and owners manual that came with your car.
TAKE WRITTEN NOTES of all conversations you have with your dealership and repair technicians concerning your vehicle and its “lemon” potential. Include the date, time and what specifically was discussed. This includes phone calls and in-person contact.
ASK ABOUT TSB’s, or Technical Service Bulletins, instructions from the manufacturer that alert dealerships of specific defects or necessary repairs in certain models. If you don’t ask your dealer might not present you with this information, so speak up and ask your technician to write your request on the repair order.
PREPARE A TIMELINE if you have many repair orders in your possession, to organize each repair attempt by date, the number of times the vehicle has been in the shop, and how many days total your vehicle has been out of service.
DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED by your dealer, repair technicians, or others who might tell you the problems you are experiencing with your vehicle are minor and that you do not qualify under the lemon law for any sort of relief. ONLY AN ATTORNEY who is licensed to practice law in the state where you purchased your vehicle and has some familiarity with the lemon law, can make that determination!