At my lemon law office in Dallas, it is frustrating to learn about the pre-owned auction car market, where a defective lemon vehicle is transported from one state to another and then resold back to uninformed consumers who are not aware of the faulty vehicle’s history. I get calls from potential clients about this issue on a daily basis and it is often referred to as lemon laundering.
Typically, lemon cars get transported into states with weak lemon law disclosure requirements. Why?…because car manufacturers know that they can do so and because it is legal.
For example, prior to August 1, many car manufacturers may have potentially targeted Minnesota as a state where it can dump many of its lemon inventory because Minnesota Lemon Law, in the past, did not require a lemon “stamp” on the vehicle’s title. An unsuspecting car buyer in Minnesota, prior to August 1st, may never know that his or her used vehicle that was purchased at a local car lot has been subject to repeated repair attempts or may have serious safety defects….until the vehicle manifests a defect several days or weeks after owning the vehicle.
Now, similar to the Texas Lemon Law disclosure requirement, all vehicles that has been repurchased or replaced via Minnesota’s lemon law will now have a “Lemon Law Vehicle” stamp on its title, similar to a flood damaged, prior salvage, or rebuilt stamps. This new provision of the law is aimed at providing consumer awareness and disclosure. However, just because a pre-owned vehicle doesn’t have this lemon law stamp does not mean that it is lemon-free. For example, if a vehicle was repurchased or replaced prior to an official adjudication of the lemon law program, then it may still be a lemon and will not have any stamps attached to its title.
Please keep in mind that although my office handles lemon law related claims in Texas, we DO NOT handle pre-own are cases. For more information about Minnesota’s lemon law stamp requirements, go here.