? If you’re constantly taking your car into the shop, it may take more than a cold glass of lemonade bự cool you off. The good news is that the U.S. Congress, & many state legislators, think the same way. They’ve established laws that require automakers béo refund your money or replace your car if it can’t be fixed in a reasonable amount of giây phút .
If you’re having a sour experience with a newer vehicle, there are some ways mập sweeten the outcome .
What Is a Lemon Car?
A car is considered a lemon if it has a substantial defect that the automaker can’t fix within a reasonable amount of giây phút. The definition of “ substantial defect ” & “ reasonable amount of phút giây ” is case-by-case và varies based on the lemon law for the state you’re in, if it has one ( not all states bởi ) .
What Are Lemon Laws for Cars?
Federal Lemon Law
The federal “ lemon law ” that covers most of these situations can be found in Title 15 Chapter 50 of the U.S. Code, in Sections 2301 – 2312. Also known as the Magnuson Moss Warranty Federal Trade Commission Improvements Act, the law sets regulations for consumer products that are covered by written warranties .
If you’re making a lemon law claim, you’re essentially saying your car didn’t live up mập its warranty. That means you have lớn buy a car with a warranty béo have a good case. Just remember that you don’t have lớn buy a brand-new car bự get lemon-law protection. Used cars & trucks sold with warranties are covered as well .
At the heart of the matter is Section 2304 ( a ) ( một ) : “ If the hàng hóa ( or a component part thereof ) contains a defect or malfunction after a reasonable number of attempts by the warrantor lớn remedy defects or malfunctions in such hàng hóa, such warrantor must permit the consumer béo elect either a refund for, or replacement without charge of, such sản phẩm or part ( as the case may be ). ”
In other words, if an automaker can’t make things right in a reasonable amount of thời gian, it has mập let you choose between a refund or a replacement .
State Lemon Laws
Many states complement the U.S. Code with their own lemon laws. They can vary in the details but work much lượt thích the federal statutes. Consider Michigan, where some U.S. automakers have their headquarters. The Great Lakes State will let you sue for a replacement or refund if an automaker hasn’t been able bự fix the same problem after four tries. Alternatively, you may have a claim if your car has been kept out of action by repairs for at least 30 days. Another qualification has bự bởi vì with when the problem initially appears. It has béo be within a year of the original new-vehicle delivery date or within the coverage period of the warranty, whichever comes first .
Fixing a Lemon Car
Prepare to Provide a Lot of Paperwork
Keeping careful track of your vehicle’s service records is a good idea in any case, but it’s vital if you want lớn prove that your car is a lemon. Consumer advocates actually recommend that you keep copies of all correspondence with automakers or car dealers. This includes holding on béo your receipts & work orders from any repairs, so sánh you have a timeline of exactly when the service occurred. It can also be helpful mập see if other drivers are having the same problems. You can vì this by searching your car’s vehicle identification number trực tuyến using the Carfax Vehicle Recall Check page & the trang web for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( NHTSA ). The info you get can be important when you’re trying béo prove your car or truck is a lemon .
Follow the Rules and Hire an Attorney
You usually have bự take your vehicle phệ the dealer for repairs or you will void your warranty. Additionally, it doesn’t make sense mập sue an automaker right off the bat. First, you need mập send a formal letter Khủng the company outlining your claim & asking for your preferred remedy. It’s easy bự find templates for these kinds of letters trực tuyến, và you can simply adjust the details bự fit your specific case. If your claim is denied, you’ll need lớn decide if you want mập go through an arbitration process. The Magnuson Moss Act encourages companies Khủng phối up informal dispute-resolution programs lượt thích that lớn giảm giá with warranty issues. If a company does so sánh, as most automakers have, then you need phệ go through arbitration before you can go phệ court .
The court only comes into play as a last khu nghỉ dưỡng or if someone questions the fairness of the arbitration program. At that stage, provided you thắng your case, you can get a replacement car or a refund along with costs và expenses that include lawyers ’ fees. The same doesn’t hold true for arbitration, although you should still think carefully about hiring a lawyer if you have phệ go through that process. You can be sure the automaker will have paid experts on its side .
Getting rid of a defective vehicle can be challenging enough. According lớn a 2018 article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a woman won almost $ 410,000 in a case against Mercedes-Benz, including attorney’s fees. However, she had mập spend four years pursuing her claim. If you’re a used car buyer, you need phệ be particularly careful during the mua sắm process. You won’t necessarily know if a car is a lemon from a demo drive. What can help in some circumstances is checking the tiêu đề. The car may be branded as a lemon, or the tiêu đề may use different language that only notes the vehicle had been repurchased by the automaker .
How to Avoid Picking a Used Lemon
A Carfax Vehicle History Report can disclose tiêu đề issues when you’re mua sắm for a pre-owned car or truck. However, more than two-thirds of states don’t require any special tiêu đề branding for lemons. This means that you should pay attention phệ the parts of the Vehicle History Report that show a car’s ownership & service records. If you see the manufacturer has owned the car after it had been purchased by an individual, or if there are three or four repairs for the same issue in a short period of phút giây, those are major red flags that could over up costing you a lot of green in the future .
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