Lemon Law - How Do I Know If My Car Is a Lemon?

06 Jan

Lemon Laws is all over the country. There are fifty states in the United States, plus the District of Columbia, and they protect consumers who purchase new, used, or refurbished products to the fullest extent possible. The lemon law in California is the most extensive in the country. It was created to help people get what they need from automobile manufacturers, but it has evolved into something much more. Lemon Laws provided all sorts of warranties, extended warranties, repairs, etc., when a product fails to perform as advertised or meets standard expectations of quality and durability. This protects the consumer.  Here is some info if you want to know about your car.

One way to find out if your state has a lemon law is to contact an attorney who practices in that area. Most attorneys practice "no win no fee" law programs, which require no legal fees for the initial consultation. The national Better Business Bureau can also provide you with lists of qualified attorneys. An interesting fact is that over half of all states have some type of law program; it just may not be in the form of a Lemon Law.  Visit: lemonlaw.com for details about the lemon law.

Once you have determined that a law program is available in your state, if you would like to pursue a claim under it, you will have to decide whether to go to court, to use the services of an attorney, or to attempt to resolve the issue through arbitration. If you choose arbitration, your state's lemon law may also require that you use an independent party to arbitrate the dispute. For instance, in California, if a vehicle is damaged or destroyed within a specific time frame, the vehicle owner must obtain an arbitration program from the manufacturer prior to recovering any money. Similarly, in some states, the automobile manufacturer or distributor must also seek an arbitration program before recovering any money from a consumer.

If you choose to go to court or to use the services of an attorney, there are two different methods to achieve a refund or replacement car. The first method, and probably the best one, is for the customer to first document the exact make and model of the car that was involved in the accident. Then, the customer can file a claim with the appropriate DMV, which is where Lemon Law firms come into play. They will gather all of the relevant information, and if they find that the car constitutes a Lemon, then they will file a lawsuit on behalf of the customer, along with a request for a refund or replacement car.

If the vehicle has a manufacturing defect that must be repaired or the buyer is unable to get a refund, then the manufacturer or dealer must replace the vehicle at no cost to the consumer. If neither of these options exists, then the law firm will ask the court to determine what price would constitute a fair settlement. If the court rules that the Lemon Law allows for a refund or replacement car, the firm must then make good on the warranty by delivering the new or used vehicle to the customer. The court will either require the dealership to sell the vehicle at retail price or issue an amount of money to be paid directly to the consumer, whichever comes first.

In the case where a car may have significant mechanical problems that were not discovered during the Lemon Law process, then the owner may be able to sue under the warranty period in order to be compensated for the expenses related to the repairs. For example, if the car develops a series of mechanical faults within a certain time frame, but was diagnosed as a Lemon, then it may be eligible for additional compensation. If it turns out that the car had defects that were not discovered during the Lemon Law process, then the vehicle manufacturer can be sued for those damages. It should be noted, however, that most states require that the warranty period is open annually, whereas some states allow the warranties to be suspended during the testing or manufacturing process. If a dealer does not honor the warranty period, then it is wise to purchase the Car Owner's Bill of Rights to protect the rights of the car owner.  
Check out this post for more details related to this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemon_(automobile)

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