Lemon laws protect car buyers who have repeatedly tried to fix cars, to no avail. While laws vary by state, one of the strongest is the Texas lemon law, on which other state laws are modeled. There are also federal laws that further protect consumers. Consumers can use these lemon laws to get a refund or replacement for cars that require excessive repairs to fix warranty-covered problems.
Texas Lemon Law: The law applies to new automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, RVs, and towable recreational vehicles. These vehicles must have problems covered by a written factory warranty; claims must be filed within 6 months of the expiration of the warranty, 24 months, or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. The law requires 2 repair attempts in the first 12 months or 12,000 miles and another 2 attempts in the second 12 months or 12,000 miles. If the problem is a serious safety hazard, it only requires 1 repair attempt in the first 12 months or 12,000 miles and at least one more in the second 12 months or 12,000 miles. The law also covers vehicles that are out of service for 30 days.
California Lemon Law: This law applies only to vehicles used for home or personal use. It requires 4 repair attempts or 30 days out of service within 18 months or 18,000 miles. If the problem could cause death or serious injury, it only requires 2 repair attempts.
Florida Lemon Law: This law applies only to vehicles used for home or personal use, but doesn’t cover off-road vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds, or trucks that weigh over 10,000 pounds. Claims must be filed within 24,000 miles of the vehicle’s delivery, with at least 3 repair attempts or 30 days out of service.
Idaho Lemon Law: It covers all new vehicles, whether for personal or business use, but doesn’t cover motorcycles, farm equipment, trailers, or vehicles over 12,000 pounds. It requires 4 repair attempts or 30 business days out of use within 2 years, 24,000 miles, or the expiration of the warranty.
Uniform Commercial Code, Article Two: This is a federal statute that affirms the consumer’s right to a replacement vehicle if they have complied with all procedures to replace a vehicle.
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act: This federal statute protects consumers from companies that won’t fulfill the warranty terms. Significantly, it applies to used cars with a warranty, requires companies to redress problems within a reasonable amount of time, and allows consumers to recover attorney’s fees. The latter puts pressure on companies to resolve issues before they reach court.
Naturally, the ideal situation would be not to purchase a lemon in the first place. To avoid buying a lemon, buyers should research both the cars and car dealerships to find out about common problems and others’ experiences. A third-party mechanic’s review may also be helpful before purchase. But if a buyer does end up with a lemon, he or she can take some meager comfort in the fact that lemon laws allow them some recourse.
The following guest post was written by Christine Howell who frequently writes about Online Law Degree and college related topics for Online College Guru, an online college directory and comparison website.