How to Identify a Lemon?

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You may be thinking, “I know there is a lemon law in my state, but how do I know whether it applies to my vehicle?”  As is often the case with the law, there is no simple answer to that question because the laws in every state are different.  While we are always willing to review your situation to see if you might qualify for our legal representation, generally we are interested in vehicles which were purchased new (or used but still under the manufacturer’s warranty), and which have been repaired at least three times or have been out of service by reason of repair for 20 days or longer.

The simplest way to find out if your car is a “lemon” is to call us at (888) 493-0770 and speak to one of our lemon law attorneys, or fill out our form for a free lemon case review.  Even if you think your vehicle would not qualify, you have nothing to lose by calling us, except your lemon.  There are exceptions to these general rules and other laws under which you may be able to make a claim for your defective vehicle or consumer product.  Our review of your situation is always free, regardless of whether or not you become our client.

TYPES OF VEHICLES COVERED:

In most situations, the lemon law will only apply to a motor vehicle which is purchased new and comes with a warranty.  However, if you bought a used car which came with a warranty, you can still sometimes qualify under a state lemon law or the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.  This law covers all consumer products sold in the United States which cost more than $10 and which come with a warranty.  It is most commonly used for cases involving motor vehicles, but the lemon law lawyers at Luxenburg & Levin handle cases under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act involving campers, trailers, boats, personal watercraft (e.g. Jet-Ski’s), refrigerators, washer/dryer sets, televisions, computers and many other consumer products.  Some states include motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATV’s) under their lemon laws and some do not.  So again, even if you think your situation does not qualify under your state’s lemon law, you have nothing to lose by submitting our form for a free lemon case review.  If your vehicle or other consumer product has been repaired repeatedly (usually at least three repairs) under the terms of the manufacturer’s warranty, we would be glad to review your situation at any time.

Leased vehicles are usually covered the same as if you had purchased the vehicle.  In addition, the lemon laws are consumer law statutes, so most states provide that your vehicle must be used for personal, family or household purposes.  Business vehicles are often excluded from the lemon laws unless they are used as your personal vehicle as well.  However, the Luxenburg & Levin lemon law attorneys have handled many cases involving commercial and business vehicles in the past under other state laws.  Please call our lawyers with any commercial vehicle questions to see if we can help or fill out our form for a free lemon case review.  Just because you can’t meet your state’s lemon law qualifications does not always mean that we can’t help you.

LEMON LAW COVERAGE PERIODS:

Every state’s lemon law has a specific period after the delivery of the vehicle during which that vehicle would potentially qualify for lemon law relief.  The lemon law coverage periods range from one to two years after delivery of the vehicle.  There is also usually a mileage component to the state lemon law coverage periods.  These mileage limits range from 12,000 to 24,000 miles after delivery.  Most lemon laws limit vehicles which qualify for relief to those within these age or mileage limitations, whichever limit is passed first.  There are sometimes exceptions to the general rules.  In addition, as explained above, you might also qualify for compensation under the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act even if you don’t qualify under your state’s lemon law.  As always, the best way to find out if we can help you is to call us at (888) 493-0770 and speak to one of our lemon law attorneys, or fill out our form for a free lemon case review.  

LEMON LAW REPAIR ATTEMPT PRESUMPTIONS:

Most state lemon laws require that the manufacturer and/or its authorized dealers repair a defect in your vehicle within a “reasonable” number of repair attempts.  What does “reasonable” mean?  As we sometimes tell our lemon law clients, it means whatever a judge or a jury says it means.  Seriously though, the word “reasonable” is used every day throughout every legal field in many different contexts.  Therefore, most states have defined in their lemon law what exactly is considered a “reasonable” number of repairs to your lemon vehicle.  These standards are usually called “presumptions,” as in, it is presumed that the manufacturer and/or its authorized dealers have failed to repair your vehicle within a “reasonable” number of repair attempts.  

These presumptions usually involve a specific number of failed repair attempts or a certain number of days out of service during the lemon law coverage period.  Usually, the lemon laws require 3 or 4 failed repair attempts or 30 days out of service by reason of repair (which can be calendar days or business days, depending upon your state), but there are exceptions.  Many states do not require as many repair attempts if the defect in your vehicle could cause death or serious injury if the vehicle is driven.  Some states only allow one attempt for the manufacturer and/or its authorized dealer to repair your vehicle if the defect could cause death or serious injury.  Some states also allow a vehicle to qualify under the lemon law if there have been a certain number of repair attempts in total, regardless of whether the repairs are related.  Not every defect in your vehicle would always qualify for lemon law relief.  Many states have exceptions for “fit and finish” type items, and usually the defect must substantially impair the use, value and/or safety of your vehicle.


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