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Monday, April 4, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions about Lemon Law

Is your new car in the shop again? This lemon law FAQ will help you determine whether or not your vehicle may be a lemon and, if so, what you can do about it.


What is a lemon?
A “lemon” is a slang term for a car which is defective or often in need of repair. This is further defined by federal and state lemon laws but a car that continues to have problems or defects which interfere with its use, value, or safety could be considered a lemon.

What is a lemon law?
A lemon law defines whether or not a car qualifies as a lemon in a particular jurisdiction. State lemon laws are varied and may exclude some vehicles or require a certain number or repair attempts. The federal lemon law, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, applies to all states. The individual laws are too detailed to include in the lemon law fact, but can be found online, or explained by a knowledgeable attorney.

Is my car a lemon?
If your car won’t start, has brake problems, accelerates unexpectedly, won’t shift out of second gear, or the doors open by themselves, then you may have a lemon. If the problem affects the cars performance or makes it unsafe to drive, then it may be covered by the lemon law.

If the problems with your car are mostly annoyances or cosmetic issues that are not mechanical in nature or related to safety & performance, then it is probably not a lemon.

Are used or leased cars covered? What about motorcycles, RVs, or ATVs?
These all depend on the state lemon laws. Many, but not all states exclude used cars, motorcycles, and all but the chassis of RVs. Lemon laws concerning leases can be very complicated. Your best bet is to consult an attorney familiar with the lemon laws in your state.

What can I get from a lemon law case?
The best outcome is usually a “buy back” or “repurchase”, where you are given a full refund or a replacement vehicle. In many states, the manufacturer is also responsible for your attorney’s fees and court costs if you win.

Do I need a lawyer?
In some states, you may be able to file a Complaint on your own with proper documentation. In others, you will need to hire an attorney to file the claim and represent you in court.

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Thanks for explaining the meaning of lemon in reference to a defective cars. Most of us in the other states are not aware of such a term, but can we use it as a legal term?

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