One of government’s roles is to protect the people from defective and fraudulent products. In order to do this, the states have enacted the lemon laws. Under the lemon laws, consumers have the right to a refund or a new car if they purchase a car that is alemon. This includes cars with mechanical issues and serious defects. At the same time, the manufacturer or the seller has the right to make a repair before the lemon law can be activated. This way, the manufacturer or seller has an opportunity to make the repair before the buyer’s rights come into play. It’s a good thing that the lemon laws have been enacted. This is because there are thousands of cars every year that are sold to consumers that are defective. Without the lemon laws, it would be an uphill battle for consumers.
So, what is the definition of a lemon? The definition of a lemon does vary from state to state. But, in general the states view a lemon as a car that has a serious defect or serious mechanical problems or one that cannot be fixed after several attempts. Most states do require that manufacturers have serious defects under their express warranty. The manufacturer of the vehicle must be given the opportunity to fix the car before the buyer’s rights come into play. Each state differs on how many repairs are required before the lemon laws are activated.
Your Legal Rights
If your vehicle meets the guidelines under the lemon law in your state, you have the legal right for either a refund or a replacement vehicle. Just be aware that the process for this does vary from state to state. First, you must notify the manufacturer of your car. If the manufacturer does not make a reasonable offer, you may have to go arbitration. Most manufacturers offer their own arbitration program. Also, you may be able to choose your own state consumer protection program instead of using the manufacturers arbitration program.
The Better Business Bureau also runs a resolution program for consumers who purchase a lemon car. This program will guide you through everything you need to follow through with this dispute, including documentation and any history of repairs. The Better Business Bureau program may also lead to arbitration. Those consumers who provide evidence and documentation always fair better in a lemon law dispute. Evidence and documentation typically include the manufacturer’s ads, brochures and records of repairs. It’s always important to be well prepared for any process when you pursue a lemon law claim.
Another option if you purchase a lemon is to contact a consumer attorney. A consumer attorney is well versed in lemon laws. They will be able to assist you throughout the whole process. Often, a consumer attorney will contact the manufacturer and try to negotiate a deal that is appropriate. Many, many lemon cases are settled through the use of a consumer attorney. And they are often settled without having to go to court.
Although manufacturers are supposed to replace lemon cars quickly, they really do. Sometimes a lemon law claim can be resolved in 30 days and that other times it can take up to 6 months. And if the car manufacturer is totally uncooperative, the case may have to go to trial. In some states, it is required that the manufacturer pay for the consumer’s attorney’s fees and other costs.
What to Do if You’ve Purchased a Lemon
If you do wind up purchasing a lemon, it might be wise to first try to deal with the manufacturer directly. Most manufacturers are receptive and do want to settle the dispute amicably. But you will still need proof in order to get them to cooperate with you.
Another option is to deal with your own state’s Better Business Bureau consumer plan. This agency will explain the process to you and also help you navigate the whole process from beginning to end. Many people have resolved their lemon issue through their own state’s Better Business Bureau consumer program. And hiring a consumer attorney is also a good option.
If you have purchased a lemon, it is a smart move to know the specific lemon laws in your particular state. Be sure to research your own state law. This way, you are well informed.
Under California lemon law, the manufacturer of the vehicle is responsible for the consumers attorney’sfees. There are many lemon law attorneys in California that would be more than happy to help you with your lemon law claim. If you’re unsuccessful in your attempt to make a settlement with the manufacturer directly or would rather not pursue a claim with your state’s consumer agency, call a California lemon law attorney today. A California lemon law attorney will fight for your rights. Just keep in mind that you will also have to provide documentation for your attorney.