When you have a family it is important to choose large purchases carefully. What if you purchase something that was defective? Does the lemon law apply? Lemon laws confuse many individuals. They purchase a vehicle and assume if something goes wrong in the first few days of ownership, these laws provide them with recourse. However, countless lemon law myths continue to surround the laws, leaving many to wonder if they should waste their time trying to rectify the matter. For example, many men and women don’t realize the laws also apply to products other than motor vehicles. Consumers must know the truth about these laws at both the state and federal level. The following information outlines some lemon law myths that persist today and the truth behind them.
Lemon law myths: consumers often hear that a lemon law only applies to motor vehicles. Consumers find they get protection from any defective product that comes with a warranty. This includes motor vehicles such as motorcycles, home appliances, computers, and more. A person needs to learn the lemon laws in their state and lemon laws put into place by the federal government.
Federal lemon laws state consumers may have grounds for a lawsuit when they purchased a defective product, and the manufacturer could not repair this item. The consumer must give the manufacturer multiple attempts to repair the item, provide a replacement, or get a full refund of the purchase price. In addition, these laws allow for reimbursement of attorney fees if a consumer must obtain legal representation to get the matter resolved.
The Magnuson Moss Warranty Act applies to products worth $25 or more that include a written warranty at the time of purchase. The Uniform Commercial Code applies to products sold in America and offers consumers a refund or replacement for a lemon. Consumers must know which portions of the laws pertain to their case and may wish to contact an attorney for help.
Men and women find they may file a claim or lawsuit when they purchase a used item with a warranty. The same holds true if they purchased this item, and repairs were promised but not carried out. The purchaser must review the warranty and determine its terms and conditions. Under the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, the manufacturer must clearly designate the warranty as either full or limited. If a person purchases a defective product and the manufacturer or seller refuses to remedy the defect as outlined in the warranty, they must refund the purchase price or replace the item. A failure to do so forms the grounds for legal action by the buyer.
Consumers worry that they may file a claim for a repair or replacement only to have the warranty run out before the manufacturer makes the repairs or provides the replacement. Can a manufacturer delay to avoid rectifying the situation? This depends on the facts of the case. For instance, the manufacturer may make repairs only to have the problem arise again after the warranty expires and state it no longer needs to take action. Consumers should speak to an attorney if this situation arises to learn what steps they need to take to get the problem fixed or the product replaced.
Another question car owners have regarding lemon laws involves modifications to the vehicle. Do modifications make lemon laws null and void? Modifications don’t void a warranty in most cases. This depends on the terms and conditions of the warranty. Sadly, many vehicle buyers don’t understand the legal terms used in these contracts and wonder if they can seek recourse. An attorney becomes of great help when determining if modifications made to the vehicle or other product purchased voided the warranty.
Required Number of Repairs
Many consumers have questions regarding lemon laws involving the number of repair attempts the manufacturer must carry out before they can take legal action. For example, lemon law myths: some individuals believe they require a minimum of three attempts at repairing the problem before they can take additional steps. Others say this number is four. Lemon laws state manufacturers must make a reasonable number of repair attempts before the lemon law applies. This number varies by the state where the consumer purchased the product, the product in need of repair, the warranty terms, and conditions, etc.
With so many factors playing a role in lemon laws, consumers often turn to an attorney to learn what steps they need to take and when. For instance, as it applies to cars, Colorado’s lemon law says manufacturers must make four or more attempts to fix the same problem, or the car must be out of service for 30 or more cumulative days. Virginia gives the manufacturer three attempts, and the thirty-day out-of-service provision applies here. However, Virginia also has a clause that says manufacturers only have one attempt to repair a serious safety defect before the consumer can take additional action. New Jersey created a Lemon Law Unit to help consumers navigate the legal process when they encounter a problem with their vehicle and need help. Consumers must know the unit only works with cases involving a new or used car, motorized wheelchair, or motorized scooter. Consumers must handle other lemon laws cases on their own or with an attorney they hire.
Repairs End the Claim
Lemon law myths: Consumers worry that once they fix the vehicle, the claim ends. Fortunately, governments recognized this could be an issue and allow buyers to take legal action after they have made repairs. A person takes this step when the problem reoccurs or when the vehicle develops additional issues that would be covered under the lemon law. Taking action promptly ensures the interests of the buyer remain protected throughout the process.
The buyer must prove that the vehicle has been repaired as required under state law or has spent the required number of days in the shop to apply for relief under the state’s lemon laws. If these conditions are met, the vehicle still falls under the lemon law, and this holds true for used vehicles that still have a manufacturer’s warranty in effect. Leased vehicles likewise qualify for lemon law relief, so buyers aren’t stuck with a vehicle that isn’t fulfilling its intended purpose.
Many consumers purchase a motor vehicle with the belief they may return the vehicle within three days of the purchase date. However, this rarely applies to the purchase of a motor vehicle. Dealerships retain the right to offer this option, but no law exists requiring them to do so. As a result, many dealers elect to make the purchase binding right away. As a result, consumers who have a problem with a vehicle they purchase find the protections put into place under state and federal lemon laws provide them with a means of recourse if they buy a vehicle with problems. Speak to an attorney to determine which path you should take in this situation, as nobody wants a car that doesn’t run right after they purchased it.
A person cannot trust the dealership to share negative information about a vehicle. Certain states don’t require the disclosure of an accident when selling a vehicle. The consumer must know which states these are. In fact, dealers often remain unaware of a vehicle’s full history and sell a car without knowing its accident history. Fortunately, consumers find they can get information about a vehicle, its service history, any vehicle accidents and more easily today. Vehicle reports provide this information. All the consumer must do is provide the VIN number and pay any fee charged by the provider. Benefit from the use of these services, as the report provides vital information about the vehicle. This information becomes of great help when negotiating the price of a used car.
Is an Attorney Needed?
Consumers often want to know if they must hire an attorney to represent them when filing a lemon law claim. While courts typically don’t require legal representation, consumers find hiring an attorney makes sense for several reasons. Many attorneys who handle lemon law claims don’t charge upfront for their services. They work with clients on a contingency basis, as they recognize the client has already lost money. They want the client to feel confident working with them as the attorney fights for the client’s rights. In addition, many states allow plaintiffs to sue the defendant for any legal costs incurred because of the lawsuit.
Knowledge is power when it comes to consumer products and lemon laws. An individual who walks into a dealership to discuss issues with a vehicle they purchased must know the facts. Dealers don’t want to lose a sale, but they also don’t want a lawsuit. When they encounter an informed customer, they become more willing to satisfy the customer and make the problem right.
However, if this doesn’t work, seek legal help. Cars cost a great deal of money. A buyer wants to get what they thought they were paying for at the time of purchase. Lemon laws remain in place to ensure consumers have a way to get compensation if this is not the case.
Featured Photo by Kaboompics.com from Pexels