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State by state lemon law

New car purchases are protected by every state in the United States, but the laws vary by state concerning the qualifications. One of the many unifying factors among these state statues is that vehicles are covered by the Federal Lemon Law. They also all require action by the consumer to ensure that the process for filing a claim is properly followed.

Federal and state lemon laws differ in what is covered. Generally, the state lemon law covers vehicles which have had numerous repair attempts for the same defect while the car is under warranty. The Federal Lemon Law is comprised of two parts in addition to the laws governing the states concerning lemon cars. These federal laws include the the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the Uniform Commercial Code. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act protects all consumer purchases greater than $25 if a warranty is included, and the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) allows courts to require manufacturers to offer a replacement or refund for the faulty item, but the definition under the UCC of a lemon product is based upon the discretion of the courts. These codes give the consumer the right to seek a replacement vehicle or a refund of the purchase price as well as compensation for the attorney's fees required to file. When coupled with the state lemon law, the consumer is thoroughly protected against fraudulent automobile purchases.

In order for a consumer to get the most from the state lemon law, he must follow the process set forth by the state for filing a complaint, seeking arbitration, and taking the case to court if necessary. Careful records of all repairs to the vehicle since purchase must be kept. These will provide evidence that the consumer sought the state required repairs but the defect was still not fixed. A lawyer can assist the consumer in filing a complaint with the state against the manufacturer. In most states, the dealer is not held liable if the car is under the manufacturer's factory warranty. After a complaint is filed, arbitration can be sought to arrange for an agreement between the consumer and the manufacturer, but if one cannot be reached via a mediator, the case can move into court where a judge will decide the case.

Owners of qualifying vehicles under a specific state lemon law need to contact an attorney specializing in consumer fraud and the state lemon law to begin the complaint  process before the time limit to file is reached. The attorney will direct the consumer in the proper timing for filing and seeking damages.

Learning the state lemon laws for a consumer's home region is the domain of an attorney, but the consumer can familiarize himself with the law to learn if his car qualifies and if an attorney should be hired.