What Are Lemon Laws?

by | May 18, 2015 | Law

The Magnuson-Moss Act makes a breach of warranty a crime under federal law, almost every state lemon law is similar to and modeled after this federal statute. Every state have their own version of a warranty act, many states have specific statutes that apply to automobile warranties. If your car has what seem to be unfixable defects it may be covered under your states lemon laws.

What is a lemon?

Before a discussion about lemon laws it is important to determine exactly what a lemon is. Generally speaking, if the car is new and still under warranty and it has been in for repair of the same defect three or four times and the defect has not been fixed then the car meets the definition of a lemon. This is a general statement, there are other qualifications based on state law.

How do you know that you have a lemon?

For a car to qualify as a lemon it must have a sizeable defect and the defect must have a detrimental impact on the vehicles safety, the use as well as the resale value. The defect must be the same, the car will not be seen as a lemon if there are a dozen minor problems but it most certainly will be seen as a defect if the brakes fail and continue to do so.

What is a substantial defect?

Herein lays many of the problems that crop up when trying to understand what are lemon laws? It is understood that a substantial defect is certainly a problem and that the problem was not the fault of the purchaser. The problem must also negatively impact the use, value or safety of the car. Remember that there are differences in the way states have written their lemon laws but in most, but not all states, the defect must be covered by a warranty. A problem with the steering mechanism can readily be seen as a significant defect because it has an impact on the cars safety; the same is true for brakes.

The problems occur when the defect is somewhere between bad brakes and a loose dash knob. The line between substantial and minor is hard to define, it is never clear cut and it varies from one jurisdiction to another. A poor paint job may not be seen as a substantial defect in one state but it does qualify in another. What is common in every state is that the defect must occur within a certain number of miles or days.

What are lemon laws in your state? This is a question best answered by an attorney as the laws are different from one state to another. For information on what the laws are in your state you are invited to go to the site yourlemonlawrights.com.

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