All states have their version of the lemon law. Although there are some differences there are also many common themes. Basically, in all states, if your new car turns out to be a lemon, if you follow the specified procedures, chances are very good that you can get a refund of the purchase price or a new car substantially the same as the one that turned out to be a lemon.
What are the qualifications to be classified as a lemon?
Under most state laws, to qualify as a lemon the following must be present:
- The defect must be substantial, it must be a defect covered by warranty and it must have occurred in a specific number of months or miles from the date it was purchased.
- The defect must be such that it cannot be fixed after a certain number of tries.
Although there are a couple of exceptions, lemon laws for cars are applicable to new vehicles only.
What constitutes a “substantial defect?”
Basically, a substantial defect is one that impairs the use of the car, the value of the car or the safety of the car. An issue like faulty brakes definitely qualifies; a loose door handle would not meet the accepted definition of “substantial defect.”
The big problem with the lemon law for cars is the so-called “middle ground.” What is a minor and what is a substantial defect? The definition is not always clear and often leaves room for debate. There are cases where a defective paint job has met the criteria and cases where it has not.
If your car meets the lemon law requirements as laid down by the laws of your state you have the right to request either a refund or a replacement from the manufacturer of the car. The process for doing this differs but in all states the manufacturer must be involved.
If you think you may have a lemon you can find out details on the lemon laws for cars in your state by visiting the web site of Lemon Law America.
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