A Comprehensive Guide to Lemon Laws for Used Cars

Estimated read time 5 min read

State law protects you if you buy a new vehicle and it is a lemon. You can get the vehicle replaced or refunded the purchase price less than a reasonable allowance for use.

However, navigating the informal dispute resolution process and keeping detailed records can be challenging for many consumers. That’s why consulting with a lemon law attorney is a good idea.

What is a Lemon?

The term “lemon” refers to a new motor vehicle with one or more problems covered by the manufacturer’s warranty that substantially impairs the vehicle’s use, value, and safety. Many states enforce lemon laws that mandate manufacturers to repurchase or replace leased or owned automobiles with considerable faults. Some states only cover new cars, while others include used and new ones. Used car lemon laws typically require that dealers disclose any pre-existing damage or defect that would cost 6% or more of the original sale price to repair.

The state and federal lemon laws (also known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the Consumer Product Warranty Disclosure Act) allow consumers to obtain compensation from the manufacturer of a defective product, such as a vehicle, after a reasonable number of unsuccessful attempts at repairs by the dealer. These laws also provide an extended window for consumers to file a claim, which can extend up to four years from the date of the breach of warranty.

How Does the Lemon Law Work?

The Lemon Law provides vital consumer protection to residents who purchase a new motor vehicle that turns out to be unreliable and defective. The law covers new cars, trucks, and motorcycles with significant problems despite several attempts to repair them within the statutory period. Companies must repurchase or replace vehicles that fail to meet standards under this vital state law and refund any costs associated with the faulty product. This is in addition to other consumer protection rights granted by state and federal law, such as the Uniform Commercial Code.

To qualify as a lemon under the law, the problem must be present during the statutory period of 12 months or 18,000 miles, and it must significantly impair the use or value of the car. In addition, the manufacturer must be given a reasonable number of opportunities to fix the problem. If a manufacturer does not repurchase or replace the vehicle, they must provide monetary compensation, typically up to three times the actual damages.

While the Ohio lemon law for used cars is an effective tool, many consumers need to be made aware of additional warranty rights that they may be entitled to under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and other state laws. When facing such circumstances, it is advisable to consult a skilled lawyer who guarantees you the utmost protection.

What Happens if I Bought a Lemon?

Lemon laws and federal warranty statutes allow consumers with a defective automobile to receive compensation such as a refund, a replacement, or cash. To qualify for Lemon Law protection, consumers must have owned a car or truck, motorcycle, engine, and chassis motorhomes (this does not include towable or towed motorhomes) or a light truck under one ton not used for business for the first year or 18,000 miles, have reported problems that substantially impair the use and value of the vehicle and have given the manufacturer a reasonable number of attempts to resolve the issues.

Consumers have a right to an oral hearing before an arbitrator. If the manufacturer and dealer disagree on a resolution, the arbitration process allows for the recovery of attorney’s fees.

In some cases, a manufacturer will agree to replace a lemon. When this occurs, they must reimburse consumers for the contract price of the vehicle, including transportation charges, dealer services and delivery costs, finance and service contract charges, and sales taxes and registration fees.

In addition to Lemon law and the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, some states have relatively comprehensive laws covering the advertising and selling new and used cars. These laws require dealers to disclose any pre-existing damage that would cost 6% or more of the original purchase price to repair. They must also adequately fill out the buyer’s guide and clearly state whether the car is sold “as is” or has a warranty.

How Can I File a Lemon Law Claim?

To qualify for lemon law protection, your car must experience one or more problems that substantially impair the use and value of your vehicle. Your warranty must also cover the problem, and the manufacturer must have had a “reasonable number” of attempts to repair it.

Hiring a lemon law attorney is the most effective way to ensure that your claim meets all of the requirements of the lemon law and federal warranties statutes. Lemon lawyers know these laws and can take on your auto manufacturer to win you the compensation you deserve. Plus, many lemon lawyers work on a fee-shifting basis, meaning you pay nothing upfront.

If you’ve bought a new or used car that has been in the shop multiple times for the same problem, immediately contact an experienced lemon law lawyer.


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