Lemon laws and warranties are two different legal concepts that relate to consumer protection regarding defective products, typically automobiles.
You may be entitled to lemon law protection if you have a defective new or used car. These laws cover recurring problems that dealers cannot repair within a specific time frame or number of repair attempts.
State and federal lemon laws are designed to supplement warranties by limiting inherent implied warranties. A lemon law attorney will fight for your rights and the best outcome.
When you buy a new car, it usually comes with a warranty. If you have a problem with your car, you can take it back to the dealer, who will try to fix it for you. Unfortunately, sometimes cars are unfixable. When this happens, you have a lemon car. If your vehicle is a lemon, you can get your money back under the state’s lemon law or the federal Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act.
To qualify for a refund under the lemon law, your new car must have multiple problems that cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts. Also, the problems must occur within a year or 18,000 miles, whichever is first. In addition, the car must be used primarily for personal transportation. You can use the lemon law to protect yourself when buying a new or certified pre-owned car, truck, motorcycle, or motor home.
In addition to state lemon laws, the federal Uniform Commercial Code and other state statutes contain rules governing what are known as implied warranties. Implied warranties are statements made by dealers about the quality of their products. Implied warranties are broader than express warranties and apply to new and used vehicles. State lemon laws build upon implied warranties to assure that the goods sold at dealerships meet a minimum quality standard.
The term “lemon law” refers to state laws protecting consumers who purchase new or used cars with serious problems. These laws expand a manufacturer’s warranty obligations by including provisions for mandatory arbitration and buy-back programs for defective vehicles. They also restrict certain implied warranties.
A car is considered a lemon under lemon law if the problem reduces its value or functionality, the vehicle has been in the shop for 30 days or more for repair (the time doesn’t have to be consecutive), and the manufacturer hasn’t settled the case. The law presumes a reasonable number of repair attempts have been made, but this isn’t always the case.
If you’re considering filing a lemon law claim, having experienced Arizona lemon law attorneys by your side is essential. They can help you gather evidence and submit it to the arbitrator. The attorney can also negotiate with the manufacturer and ensure you receive a fair settlement.
A lemon law attorney can also help you fight forced arbitration clauses, which many manufacturers include in their consumer contracts. These clauses can limit your ability to secure justice in court. They’re often voidable under state and federal law. If you win your case, the manufacturer may be obligated to pay your attorney’s fees.
Arbitration is when consumers and manufacturers present evidence to an arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators. The arbitrator then issues a decision which is binding on both parties. Manufacturers often offer an arbitration program through which they can settle lemon law disputes with consumers. In some states, this may be the only option for consumers to receive a replacement vehicle or a refund.
Consumers who use a manufacturer’s arbitration program should know that the manufacturer can impose specific terms and conditions on their agreement. For example, the manufacturer can require that consumers accept a low-ball estimate of their damages. Additionally, the manufacturer may refuse to cover any legal fees incurred by the consumer.
Most states’ lemon laws require consumers to arbitrate their claims before taking them to court. Most manufacturers want to avoid the expense and risk of a lawsuit over a defective vehicle. However, a seasoned, reputable lemon law attorney can negotiate with the manufacturer and obtain full compensation for the consumer.
Additionally, an attorney can ensure you have access to all of the state’s laws regarding the arbitration process. This includes laws regarding the discovery of evidence and how a hearing should be conducted.
If the manufacturer does not agree to replace or refund your car after a reasonable number of repair attempts, you can seek mediation. Mediation is meeting with a neutral third party to discuss and resolve a dispute. It is voluntary, and there are sometimes consequences if you do not submit to mediation.
You can file a lawsuit under lemon laws if mediation fails to resolve the issue. However, most states require you to attempt to resolve your case informally through arbitration before pursuing legal action. You can be guided through the procedure, have your rights upheld, and resolve your dispute favorably with a lawyer specializing in lemon law.