State Lemon Laws
State Lemon Laws exist to protect the consumer in
the event that an automobile or motorcycle purchase is defective.
While state lemon laws vary based on jurisdiction, they do share
many things in common.
First, state lemon law outlines the definition of a lemon. It lays
out the circumstances in which a car or truck can be declared a
lemon. For example, state lemon laws dictate the number of times a
car must be repaired before a car can be called a lemon. Usually, if
a defect has been repaired several times to no avail, and the defect
affects an automobileˇ¦s value, safety, or use, a car is called a
lemon. State lemon laws also require that the manufacturer, and not
the dealer, must remedy the defect.
Second, state lemon laws outline a period of warranty rights,
usually between one or two years and 12,000 to 24,000 miles. In
other words, the defect has to occur during this time. However, some
state lemon laws will allow a period to file as well. That is, you
can file for up to 4 years after you discover the defect.
Third, a state lemon law will offer guidelines regarding the number
of repair attempts, and if these attempts entitle the owner to a
replacement or refund. These guidelines include:
1. Serious safety defects that affect steering or brakes will give a
manufacturer one repair attempt.
2. Safety defects not classified as ˇ§seriousˇ¨ allow the manufacturer
two repair attempts.
3. Most other defects will give the manufacturer 3 or 4 repair
attempts on the same defect.
4. If a car visits the dealer for 30 calendar days within a year,
state lemon laws take effect.
If one or all of these guidelines are met, state lemon laws give car
owners the right to have the vehicle replaced or repurchased.
Most state lemon laws allow manufacturers to have the ownerˇ¦s use of
the vehicle reduced from the refund. For example, one state lemon
law multiplies the miles at the time of the refund and the purchase
price. This figure is then divided by 100,000 to yield the refund
amount. There is some controversy as to whether the mileage should
end at the time of refund or the time of first repair. Consult your
areaˇ¦s state lemon law for clarification.
About half of state lemon laws will allow recovery of lawyer fees
related to the pursuit of state lemon law litigation. States that do
allow for attorney fee recovery offer a higher probability of