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What You Need To Know About The Lemon Law

No. Lemon law is not something that you should be aware of when buying lemons.

Car consumers' rights

Despite its name, Lemon Law actually refers to state laws that govern faulty vehicles. It offers consumers protection against defects in the car and gives them the right to demand for replacement or refund. A lemon, in fact, refers to a vehicle that has defects, diminishing its value, impairing its use and causing problems in safety. The Lemon Law recognizes the right of the consumers to rely on the dependability and safety of the vehicle that they have purchased.

Generally, if a car has been repaired several times for the same defect within the warranty period stated in the lemon law and it has not been fixed, it may be considered as a "lemon." You should however go to an authorized dealer to have the repairs fixed.

The Lemon Law requires the manufacturer and not the dealer to deal with the problem. Consumers who plan to ask for refunds must report the case to the manufacturer in writing especially if it is written in the warranty materials or user's manual. Remember also to keep all documentations involving repairs in case they are needed when you file your complaint.

Consumers are also given the right under the Lemon Law to choose a refund instead of a replacement. In addition, you can also get a refund for the expenses that you have incurred for repair, towing services and the use of a rental vehicle while your car is still in the service center.

Differing state laws

States have different provisions in their lemon law. Some states offer protection for both used and brand new vehicles while others only protect brand new car buyers. Lemon state laws also differ in the vehicles that it covers as well as the number of times that the vehicle should be repaired before being considered a "lemon.

California Lemon Law, for instance, stipulates that a vehicle is a "lemon" if it was repaired four times already; has been out of service for 30 days or has been repaired twice for a defect that can cause serious injury or death while the state of Arkansas requires only three repair attempts and one repair attempt if the defect can cause injury or death.

Most states provide a warranty period of 12 to 24 months or 12,000 to 24,000 miles, whichever comes first in their Lemon Law provisions. The defect must occur within this warranty period.

If the defect is serious, involving the steering wheel or the brakes, consumers are granted one attempt to repair. For safety defects that are not as serious, Lemon Law allows for two attempts at repair. For other defects, consumers can have the car repaired three to four times. If the vehicle has been in the repair shop for a total of 30 days within a year with at least one of those days occurring the first 12,000 miles, then it is considered a lemon.

Most Lemon Law allow for an offset in the refund given to the consumer in relation to the car's mileage at the time of the refund. Still, there are no specific guidelines over this and consumers can negotiate.

Though it is relatively easy to deal with some manufacturers, who would voluntarily buy back your "lemon" car, there are some who refuse to. In case this happens, services of lawyers are needed. Recognizing these situations, some State Lemon Law allows consumers to refund their attorney's fees.
About the Author

Terry Dunn is webmaster of http://www.Lemon-Law-Explained.com - an informational resource that explains what Lemon Laws are and how they can help you.

Terry Dunn