Do you have a lemon? Each state has its lemon laws and how they handle them. Some states are stricter than others. There are a couple of issues with vehicles that define a lemon and steps to take if you have one. The main thing is protecting the buyer’s rights. Let’s face it, cars and trucks are not cheap, and it is a price that can put the buyer in a financial burden they may never get out if they are responsible for the repairs. It should always be the dealership to fall back on if mechanical problems arise immediately after the buyer leaves the car lot. Sometimes there will be signs that say “For Sale, As-Is.” We will discuss these types of sales under the lemon laws as well.
Defining a Lemon in a New or Used Car
When people buy a vehicle, they expect to get what they pay for in the market. Vehicles run thousands of dollars, and for most people, it is something they can only afford to purchase every so often. There is nothing more heartbreaking when buying a vehicle to find out it is a lemon. Lemon is a term to describe a faulty vehicle, whether new or used. It is a slang term that dates back to the 20th century from Americans and the British. The value, safety, or utility is affected when the repairs may cost more than what the vehicle is worth. Sometimes it may be too many things wrong with the vehicle to where the buyer cannot trust it even for local runs.
New cars may have recalls, which is expected, but they are considered a lemon if the flaws override the vehicle’s expected performance, safety, and durability. If the car is out of service due to extensive repairs, that is also considered a lemon. The repairs would have the same issues three times or more in a row.
Used vehicles would fall in a category where they may have been wrecked and reconstructed poorly. High mileage would play a factor in mechanical flaws causing it to be deemed unsafe. History reports are the best way to find out if the used vehicle is a lemon.
Finding Out You Have A Lemon
Getting a vehicle is an exciting thing for a person to feel. Finding out the vehicle is a lemon can make the owner sick, leaving most people wondering what to do. The good news is the buyer has rights that are covered by federal law. In 1975, Senator Warren G. Magnuson, Senator Frank Moss, and Representative John E. Moss put Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act in place. It allowed the warranties of the vehicles to be understood and enforced. Under the Act, the Federal Trade Commission had the authority to protect customers when purchasing a lemon. All warranties must be in writing and understood by all parties when purchasing a vehicle. However, there is no enforcement for a manufacturer to warranty their products, but it must comply with the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Getting legal assistance would be the first step in finding out if there is a case. Some attorneys deal specifically with these types of cases and can review the facts.
Purchasing As-is Vehicles
One of the questions that arise when dealing with lemons is the customer responsible for the repairs when buying an As-Is vehicle. To simplify the answer, it is a gamble. The seller must disclose the lemon law buyback purchase for the car. When they put on the vehicle “As-Is,” they mean the consumer is buying the car as it is. The gamble comes as it may run for a while, or it may last forever. Once the papers are signed and the vehicle leaves the lot, the buyer is responsible for the car as long as the disclosure is understood. It does not necessarily mean the car is trash. Many people get lucky with these vehicles, and they last for decades if they are treated with TLC.
These vehicles are the only exception to the lemon laws. If there is no sign or disclosure to the car, then the lemon laws apply. These are the vehicles that are most likely traded in for other cars off the lot. They are sold at the most a dealer can get for the vehicle but still are cheaper than the vehicles purchased at auctions off the lot.
Only an Attorney Can Tell for Sure
Different scenarios occur when purchasing a lemon. The only way to tell if the vehicle is a lemon is to bring all the documents and receipts of repairs to a lawyer and have them look it over. Keeping perfect records of dates, times, a list of breakdowns and problems, phone calls, and what happens when contacting the dealership can be in your benefit to winning a case. The attorney knows the laws and what to look for, and they know the tricks of the trade. Some dealerships will try to get every penny from the buyer, hoping they will not get legal help.