Do You Know How the Lemon Law Protects You?
The Lemon law was created in 1984 to provide additional protection to individuals and companies that buy new or previous used automobiles, motorcycles, trucks, RVs and boats too. The idea of the law is that it restricts how many times a manufacturer can attempt a repair unsuccessfully before having to accept that the vehicle isn’t repairable to an acceptable condition. Without the law, consumers couldn’t easily get manufacturers to accept responsibility for a faulty product that’s beyond reasonable repair and now they can.
A Federal Law Adjudicated at the State Level
While the Lemon law was created by central government, it isn’t managed there. Every state is responsible for managing their own Lemon law. As such, there are subtle differences that people should be aware of because if you buy a vehicle within a certain state, you’re then bound by the way of that state and its own Lemon laws.
For instance, automobile companies may have successfully managed to lobby to make the law less strict whereas other states may have decided to hold a strict line on the issue. It is up to the individual (or company) to confirm the specific rules of the law in their state.
California Lemon Law
The way the law works in the state of California is different to other states. Generally, it protects buyers more than it otherwise would. For instance, there is a very sensible inclusion stating that while a repair can be attempted up to 4 times, when the vehicle is a threat to safety and it’s clear after two attempted repairs that it’s “a lemon” then that’s sufficient to stop at that point.
An authorized dealer must be performing the repairs and the vehicle must still be under warranty at the time of the repair. The owner must be able to demonstrate that they’ve allowed the dealer on behalf of the manufacturer sufficient attempts to resolve the problem with the vehicle. Usually, a vehicle must have been off the road for 30 days in total, which doesn’t need to be sequential, so a 10-day repair here, a two-week repair there, all counts towards this time clock.
When unsuccessful in getting a manufacturer to accept that a refund or replacement is required under the Lemon law following sufficient repair time and attempts, then hiring a Lemon Law attorney is your next step to protect your rights as a consumer.
What You Should Do During Repair Periods
Make sure that you keep detailed dated notes about what has happened to the vehicle. When the vehicle goes in for repair, note the date and time, the number of attempts to fix the same problem and keep any records provided by the authorized dealer performing the repairs too. All of this documentation may prove crucial later to validate that the vehicle and repairs have satisfied the state requirements under the Lemon law.
The Lemon law is a good one that protects everyone from buying a faulty vehicle and getting stuck with it where the manufacturer wants to wash their hands of their responsibility. Being clear about how your state’s Lemon law works and documenting any repairs clearly will go a long way to protecting your rights and if necessary, getting a replacement or a refund of your purchase cost later.
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