Sunday, June 21, 2015

State Lemon Laws

State lemon laws vary greatly in their interpretation of the federal laws.

The federal statutes say that "consumers" can be protected by law if they receive a "defective" product that cannot be repaired by a "reasonable number of attempts" by the manufacturer. Now, there are a number of ways to decipher what problems are covered.

For instance, if someone's window doesn't roll down or the radio doesn't work, should they be entitled to a replacement vehicle?

Also, there are different ideas about what a "reasonable" number of attempts to repair may be. For some states, it's as few as one attempt to fix a serious defect, and as much as four repairs done on the same part or eight repairs on various parts.

Ohio Seems To Have The Best 

When it comes to automobile lemon laws for the different states, the Ohio lemon law is one of the best. For example, instead of covering consumers for 1-2 years, Ohio law allows consumers up to five to file their complaint.

The law may apply to passenger vehicles carrying nine or fewer people, ride-sharing vehicles not carrying more than fifteen people, farm trucks that carry less than a ton and are used for personal reasons, noncommercial motor vehicles and any parts of motor homes that are not used for cold storage, cooking, eating or sleeping. Most states do not cover motor homes at all, so Ohio law is a little more liberal in its translation.

A "reasonable number of repair attempts" is defined as three or more times in a year or 30 days of downtime to fix the same problem, eight or more attempts to repair any nonconformity, or one attempt to repair a nonconformity that could cause serious injury or death if not repaired.

Florida Differs Again 

The Florida lemon law covers cars and trucks sold in Florida, including demonstrators, recreational vehicles and leased vehicles, but not including motorcycles or the living facilities of the motor homes (flooring, plumbing, fixtures, heating/cooling, generator, electrical systems).

Not all state lemon laws clearly define which "defects" or "nonconformities" are covered, but Florida local laws specifically mention "conditions," such as the vehicle failing to start or overheating as cause for a lemon law case.

The lemon law rights period extends for two years, rather than one, in which time a consumer must take the vehicle in for service. The "reasonable" attempts of repairs can be the same nonconformity repaired three times, plus a final attempt after receiving a "demand" letter or a vehicle that has been out of service for 30 days (passenger cars) or 60 days (motor homes) for maintenance.

Pennsylvania Covers 15 People Or Less In A New And Unused Self-Propelled Motorized Vehicle

The Pennsylvania lemon law defines a "new motor vehicle" as any "new and unused self-propelled motorized vehicle" that is driven upon public roads and highways, that transports 15 people or less, that was purchased or leased in the state of Pennsylvania, that is registered in Pennsylvania and that is used primarily for personal and/or household reasons.

Generally, motorcycles, motor homes and all-terrain vehicles are not covered by state lemon laws in this case. In Pennsylvania, the manufacturer has whichever comes first, such as one year, 12,000 miles or the expiration of their express warranty to fix serious defects. A "reasonable number of repair attempts" is defined by PA lemon law as three times or 30 days' worth of downtime.

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