Articles Posted in General Lemon Laws

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California’s already strong lemon law, the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, has been amended on January 1, 2008, to include military personnel stationed in California.

In the past, California’s lemon law, similar to other lemon laws throughout the country (including Texas lemon law), is only applicable inside the state where the consumer purchased the subject vehicle. In other words, proper jurisdiction is directly related to the state where the purchase transaction took place.

With this new amendment, military service personnel who is stationed in California at the time the vehicle was purchased or the time the lemon law action is filed, can lean on California’s lemon law to get a repurchase or replacement on a defective vehicle. This is strategically a benefit and convenience for our men and women in the military, especially if they purchased the vehicle or reside in a state where the lemon law is not as strong as California.

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Jim Donovan from CBS 3 of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania recently wrote an online story regarding alternative recourses that consumers have, especially in situations where state lemon laws are inapplicable.

Specifically, Mr. Donovan properly pointed out that the federal Magnuson Moss Act may help consumers who suffer damages from being sold defective vehicles, even pre-owned or used cars with warranty.

Here, the Texas lemon law is very restrictive in terms of rebuttable presumptions and the deadline to file a claim. When a potential client comes to my office and the deadline to file a claim under the Texas Lemon Law has passed, I usually explore with the consumer on whether the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices (DTPA) or the federal Magnuson Moss Act would help them.

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Action Express, a consumer advocacy group in New Jersey, recently posted a response to a consumer’s questions as to whether their used lemon car qualifies for New Jersey’s lemon law.

Although New Jersey has a provision to protect car buyers of pre-owned lemon cars, the provisions are limited. For example, the law requires that the subject vehicle must be: 7 model years or less, cost at least $3,000, and have less than 100,000 miles at the time of purchase.

The key to protecting yourself and making sure you qualify for NJ’s provision for used lemon cars?….make sure you meet the 3 requirements above and make sure the vehicle is not sold “as is.”

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I often joke about how the Texas Lemon Law should be better known as the car manufacturer’s lemon law because of its bias in favor of the manufacturers and its dealers, rather than favoring or protecting automobile consumers. Today, I am happy to report that at least the Texas Lemon Law is better than Missouri’s newly proposed lemon law against fraudulent, deceptive, and misrepresentation cases.

The newly proposed Missouri Lemon Law will increase its restrictions by disallowing consumers to go after car wholesalers in court. With the new law, consumers can only pursue car dealerships and possibly the car manufacturers. The law is intended to reverse the recent Missouri Supreme Court decision that found in favor of consumers by allowing victims who are sold lemon cars to go after both the car dealer and its wholesalers. The law has not passed yet and will go to the governor of Missouri for signage.

For more information, go here.

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Dave, a consumer internet blogger, recently wrote about his experience with his Ford lemon vehicle (click here for his post). Like most other consumers, Dave provided Ford with ample opportunity to do the right thing. Ford not only failed to do the right thing, but it seems that Ford has lost another loyal customer.

I wrote to Dave offering assistance and here is his response, “I appreciate your concern, but I have conceded defeat in this matter. As the ‘little guy’, I cannot compete with Ford Motor Company under the law. My belief that I was ‘doing the right thing’ by giving them the chance to repair the vehicle, ‘bit’ me, as FMC is unconcerned with ‘doing the right thing.”

If you have a Texas lemon vehicle, please make sure that you document everything. Regardless of whether you go with my law firm or my competitor, it is important that you do something to make sure that Ford or other manufacturers such as Chrysler or Mazda does not win for selling you a lemon.

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In Missouri, the House recently approved a lemon law bill that limits consumer’s right to only sue the car dealer and no one else. That’s right, no one else, including the car manufacturer or others who were involved in selling the consumer the lemon vehicle.

The bill was sponsored by Republican Jay Wasson and harshly opposed by Kansas City representative John Burnett, who is a Democrat. The lemon law bill is called HB1970 and has been sent to the Senate. There is currently no calendar date for it and the proposed effective date for it is 08/28/2008.

I personally would oppose this bill because it is written too narrow. There are many situations where it is important for the consumer to have the right to sue other parties besides the car dealers in lemon law related claims, especially in resale situations.

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Ever wonder what happens to life after death? Of course, I will not be analyzing such a complex issue, but in a similar line of thought,… have you ever wondered what happens to lemon cars that have been repurchased or bought back from car manufacturers? Or, ever wonder what happens to wrecked or salvaged cars?

Last week, fellow Lemon Law attorney and blogger, Jonathan Rudnick, wrote a short article that might have partially answered this hypothetical question. His article focuses on how there exists an entire market for buying and selling damaged cars.

This makes sense, because it is impractical and unprofitable for car manufacturers to simply dismantle and take lemon cars out of commission when it is so much easier to possibly sell it to another uninformed buyer who is in the market of buying a preown car. The Texas Lemon Law covers used car cases in very LIMITED situations. As a general rule, the law is intended to protect new car buyers.

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Dave, a fellow internet blogger, recently wrote about his experience of how a consumer can be put in a disadvantaged position for being a nice person. I must say, I do agree and hear about these situations more often then not.

In a nutshell, Dave experienced defects on his Ford truck early on during his ownership of the vehicle. He brought the vehicle in at least 7 times to the Ford service center. Each time, they repaired something, but the problems keep coming back. Now that Dave’s warranty is about to expire, he finds himself with limited options.

The reason why his options are limited is because the Texas Lemon Law hates nice guys. Well, maybe it does not really hate nice guys, but it is certainly unfriendly to consumers who have a legitimate reasons for not pursing their claim early.

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Renee Walsh, a fellow blogger and attorney, recently wrote a very informative blog article regarding the Michigan Lemon Law and the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.

Ms. Walsh’s article mentions the lack of coverage that current Michigan Lemon Law has on used or preowned cars. Thereafter, she explores alternative remedies that a consumer may have against sellers of used and defective cars. The article also outlines the the exact language of the Michigan consumer protection statute.

Similar to Michigan, Texas has a Texas Lemon Law that aims to protect buyers of new cars. Further, Texas also has a consumer protection law, entitled Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA). The DTPA has been successfully used to sue car car dealers for deceptive and dishonest practices.

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In the United States, a car that has been labeled a “lemon” has significant problems. Often times, the car manufacturer has been unable to fix the vehicle after numerous repair attempts. Usually, each state has its own lemon laws (such as the Texas Lemon Law). In Canada, however there is currently no similar law that protects the selling of “lemons.”

Since there is not a law in Canada that prohibits the selling of “lemons,” Canadian consumers may be unaware that they are purchasing a defective car. It has been reported that more than 130 lemons have been sold to Canadian consumers. The act of exporting lemon cars from one geographic location to another is also better known as lemon laundering. Here, manufacturers are exporting lemons from the United States and reselling it to Canadian residents without properly disclosing the lemons status of the vehicle.

The Manitoba government (Manitoba is a province in Canada) previously had no plans on adding, changing, or amending any legislation that would address this issue. Now, it has reconsidered the issue and an amendment may be tabled as early as next spring.

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