Purchasing a defective vehicle is far more common than you think. In fact, approximately 3.5 million defective vehicles are sold in any given year.
This is especially true for used-car dealerships. They frequently list vehicles that are due for a safety recall. More than 10 percent of available vehicles online have an open recall.
The good news is that both federal and state government has laws on the books to protect consumers. These vehicles are referred to as lemons. Read on to learn what to do if you purchase a lemon.
What Are Lemon Laws?
Lemon laws provide consumers with a refund or replacement vehicle. These laws protect consumers who lease or finance a new vehicle. There are also protections for people who acquire a used vehicle.
There are a number of criteria to meet in order to qualify for lemon laws. For starters, the defect needs to affect the vehicle’s safe use or value.
In addition, the vehicle manufacturer has unsuccessfully attempted to repair the defect. Also, the vehicle has been out of commission for more than 30 days for repair. It is important that the vehicle was not subjected to abuse to qualify for lemon laws.
What Are the Timelines?
Consumers are not protected by lemon laws forever. In fact, there are time limitations for both new and used vehicles.
If you own a lemon, it is important to make the manufacturer aware immediately. For a new vehicle, you have 18 months to notify the manufacturer. In addition, you cannot have more than 18,000 miles on the odometer.
The time and mileage restriction is a little longer for used cars. A used car still qualifies if it falls under the manufacturer’s original warranty. The typical warranty is for 3 years and 36,000 miles.
What Is Your First Step?
The first step is to reach out to the car dealership. A reputable car dealership is going to point you in the right direction and rectify the situation.
They may provide you a replacement vehicle and work with the manufacturer directly. Another option is to provide you with a loaner car while the defect is repaired.
What If the Dealership Is Unhelpful?
If the dealership is unhelpful, you should contact the vehicle manufacturer directly. In the case of a lemon, a dealership is basically a middle man anyway. The manufacturer is legally responsible for refunding or replacing the car.
What Happens When All Options Are Exhausted?
When the dealership and manufacturer are unresponsive, professional help is warranted. At this point, you should reach out to a law firm with experience in lemon laws.
Make sure that you document all important information pertaining to your case. This includes any costs you incurred or service appointments.
A Recap of What to do with a Defective Vehicle
Purchasing a new car is supposed to be a joyful experience. Sometimes, it takes a turn for the worse and becomes a nightmare.
Reach out to the dealership immediately if you suspect your car is a lemon. If you enjoyed this article about what to do with a defective vehicle, check out our website for more great content.