So, you’re all excited about your new car, and why should you not be? It’s slick, red, shiny, and you look fabulous driving it. The only problem is… it won’t run.
Fortunately, there’s such a thing as Lemon Laws. No, we don’t mean a law calling for the organic production of that sour, flavorful fruit. Lemon Laws protect you against buying what’s called a “lemon”—a faulty, not-worth-the-price, or otherwise defective car. They call it a lemon because it looks bright, juicy, and taste-tempting from the outside, but get on the inside, and it’s a sour surprise.
Protecting Yourself Against a Lemon from a Dealership
Although each state differs, every state has a Lemon Law. This generally applies to new cars sold by dealership employees. (Fortunately, some of these laws are changing to cover used cars if they’re still under warranty. Oh, yeah!)
Your defective car may be covered by your state’s Lemon Law if it meets these types of criteria: (Note that this list is exemplary and not exhaustive!)
- Your car has been into the shop for the same repair multiple times without fixing the problem. Be sure to keep a record of your repair trips, as most states require three trips for the same repair before lemon laws will kick in.
- Your car has been in the shop for an extended period (usually for 30 days or longer).
- Your car has issued, and you have reported the issue before your state’s designated number of months or miles, as the case may be.
- Of course, needed repairs must not be from neglect, accident, or conscious damage you or another driver inflict.
If Your Vehicle Meets Criteria to Be Considered a Lemon…
If your car meets all the above criteria, you may have legal right to pursue compensation under the lemon laws. You may, depending on your state laws, be entitled to:
- Have the manufacturer replace your car with a similar car
- Have the car dealership or manufacturer repurchase your car at the sale price, including all fees and taxes paid for the vehicle
You also have the option of taking the dealership or manufacturer to court if they refuse to replace or refund your lemon. Again, this is subject to state laws. If you do have to go to court, make this a last resort, and hire an attorney that specializes in Lemon Laws, as this can be a tricky situation litigate. Still, if you are entitled to compensation, do pursue your legal rights!