While there is no federal version of the Lemon Law, all 51 states have some version of these consumer protections on the books. The problem is that each state’s requirements for filing claim and the compensation you can seek vary from one to the next.
Understanding how these Lemon Laws vary state by state is vital when filing a claim. While it is important for you to talk with a legal expert like this California Lemon Law attorney about your state’s rules, here are some basics that you should know first.
While states do vary in when a vehicle can qualify as a lemon, most have a set of five requirements. Within these requirements is where things get tricky, but this is the overall standard for the vast majority of states:
· The vehicle’s defect has not been fixed after a set amount of time or has been in a repair shop for a certain number of hours because of the defect
· The defect cannot be repaired within the timeframe or mileage the state has set
· The defect isn’t the fault of the owner’s mishandling, abuse, or lack of maintenance
· The issue is covered under the manufacturer’s warranty
· The car’s safety or value is impacted
New vs. Used
While most states include both new and used vehicles, so long as they are covered under a warranty, there are those that will only consider new cars under their Lemon Law. The rules for used cars are similar to new ones, with the same proof required by consumers. Those that exclude used vehicles are:
· New York
· New Jersey
· Rhode Island
Type of Vehicle
In some states, anything considered a vehicle is covered under Lemon Law. That extends to motorcycles, boats, RVs, and more. Others, however, exclude various types of vehicles. There are 24 states that do not offer the protection to motorcycle owners, for instance.
Maine, as an example, excludes commercial vehicles that weigh over 8,000 pounds. Since each state’s Lemon Law coverage changes, you will have to check the laws to see if you can even file a claim. In some cases, the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act can provide coverage where Lemon Laws fall through.
While you have the right to a replacement or refund after winning your claim, there are other areas of compensation to consider. In some states, the manufacturer is responsible for paying the legal fees required to make the claim.
Some states also allow you to seek any damages caused by the defect or claim, such as accidents or time you may have missed from work. Others, unfortunately, offer no such protection to their consumers. There are states that have punishments on the books for willful Lemon Law violations while others couldn’t seem to care less, as well.
Learning the Law
It’s a difficult and daunting task to understand the intricacies of your state’s Lemon Laws. Even if you’re familiar with court proceedings and legal documents, you can count on the manufacturer hiring the best lawyers possible to avoid paying out.
So, it’s in your best interest to hire a lawyer or attorney skilled in this area of the law. They can help you make the best case possible in court while handling everything needed behind the scenes, allowing you to focus on living your life after you hand them the necessary documentation. Don’t settle for your lemon, despite your state’s laws. Seek the compensation you deserve.