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Home Lemons Into Lemonade - How Lemon Laws Protect You What the automobile lemon law means for you

What the automobile lemon law means for you

The choice to buy a new car is a major decision. Hopefully, it will serve as an investment for years to come, but if a new car turns out to be a lemon, what rights does a customer have? His rights are protected by the automobile lemon law. This requires that the manufacturer repay or replace the lemon car purchased within a specified amount of time. How the consumer can be certain that his rights are upheld is partly due to his actions and record keeping.

The automobile lemon law is specific to each state. Information about the state's statutes is accessible through the state Attorney General's office. Most states agree that lemon cars must be identified within a finite amount of time or distance driven. Should a defect be found, the consumer has the responsibility to attempt to have it repaired. Problems which persist after at least three or four repair attempts, depending on the state, qualify as lemon vehicles. It is critical that copies of all of the work orders be kept for every repair made on the new vehicle. Some problems, such as those affecting the safety of the car or those which keep the car in the repair shop for more than 30 days could also qualify as lemon vehicles.

The automobile lemon law also requires that the vehicle was purchased with a warranty. While most states only cover new car purchases, some states allow for used cars or other motor vehicles. TheĀ American Bar Association recommends reading the state's statute will ensure that the consumer's car purchase is covered by the automobile lemon law.

After the required repair attempts are made, the warranty for the car will inform the consumer of his next step. The consumer might have to notify the manufacturer in writing of the lemon car and provide paper copies of the work order for the repair work. Some states will require that arbitration be sought before taking the case to court. This informal process will attempt to settle the matter with an independent third party mediator, but should this step not be needed or if it fails, the consumer will need to hire a lawyer who specializes in the state's automobile lemon law.

If bringing his case to court, the consumer will need to have an attorney to represent his side since the manufacturer will have his own. A court ruling in favor of the consumer will require that the manufacturer repay or replace the cost of the lemon vehicle and pay for any attorney's fees incurred in the process.

Careful planning and attention to the details of the state automobile lemon law will ensure that the consumer has his rights upheld through the process of seeking his claim.


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