Lemon Law FAQ

Getting a new car is a dream come true for most people.

Even if it's not "new" it's still new to them. But what happens when that dream becomes a nightmare.

You have the car a few days and suddenly something major happens to the engine and it is no longer able to be driven without expensive repair bills.

What do you do then? 

Thankfully the United States government has lemon laws to protect you if something like this were to happen. And do not think that a lemon law covers only used cars. It can cover that brand new, off the lot vehicle as well. It is good to know that you are protected. In this article we will cover the basics of lemon laws and where you stand should something like this ever happen to you. It is good to know that you are covered and can make buying a new or used vehicle a bit easier on the mind.

What is a lemon law?

Lemon laws are state and federal laws that are covered under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. The laws are put into place to help the consumer against fraudulent warranties or products that do not meet a certain standard. Most often you will hear the lemon law used in conjunction with automobiles.

The case may be that you have purchased a car with either an existing warranty or no warranty at all. The seller must disclose all information about the vehicle as possible. This way you know before you make the purchase whether or not something mechanical is wrong or if the vehicle has been repossessed wrecked or water damaged. If you find out later that the seller was fraudulent, the law may be on your side.

But you should know that lemon laws vary according to state to state so it is important for you to check your state's laws and guidelines where this occurs.

How did the term "lemon law" become used?

The term "lemon law" actually comes to us from 1909 when American English speakers started using the word lemon to describe something that was worthless. It was a slang word taken from the 1900's when people would use the word lemon as a descriptive word that referred to someone being sour or unfriendly.

As time progressed the usage of "lemon" was put towards mechanical devices that were busted or clearly defective from the get go. More often than not you hear about lemon laws when dealing with automobiles.

Is the lemon law just for vehicles?

A lemon law is not just for vehicles. It also covers computers, wheelchairs and practically anything electronic. Even your television set may be covered under lemon laws. The one thing that bears repeating is that you absolutely must know what the consumer protection laws in your state cover. Some items may be covered and some might not be. The age of the device or vehicle plays a large portion in whether or not you are covered.

If a listing for a vehicle is posted "as is" does that negate the lemon law coverage?

Many sellers will try to tell you that an "as is" selling takes away your right to lemon law coverage. That is simply not true. Granted that states will vary in their legal terms, you still have consumer protection coverage should something fall out of the "as is" scope. One of the key factors will be the age of the vehicle.

The older the vehicle is, the less lenient the laws are but there are still laws against a seller knowingly defrauding you. He or she cannot tell you that the engine is new when it is not. If the vehicle has been wrecked and given a salvaged title, he or she cannot claim that it is not. There are stiff penalties for willfully deceiving a person into buying something that is not as it is claimed to be.

We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have, please place your comments below.

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