What To Do If You Buy A Lemon

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First, Study Your State’s Lemon Laws

If you think you're the unwitting owner of a lemon, before taking action you'll need to learn your state's Lemon Law. Check with either your state's Attorney General or Department of Consumer Affairs.

Every Lemon Law in every state covers new cars, but only a few provide legal recourse for used cars. Before taking action you must first determine if your vehicle qualifies as a lemon. Each state law is different, of course, but there are usually three determining factors:

  1. The defect, which must alter the vehicle's value, use, or safety, has not been fixed after a specific number of auto repair attempts (usually three or four).
  2. The defect causes the vehicle to be out of service for a cumulative number of days. Usually this number ranges between 20 and 30 days.
  3. The problem occurs while the manufacturer's warranty is still valid.

Then, Learn How to File a Lemon Car Claim

If your vehicle meets your state's criteria, you'll then have to check with your state's governing body on how to file a claim. Some states require a review before a hearing can be granted; others don't.

Either way, be sure to keep meticulous copies of all correspondence, this includes work orders, repair receipts, and any other correspondence you’ve had with the dealership and mechanic.

Finally, Consider Hiring a Lemon Law Attorney

If your case goes to court or arbitration, it's in your best interest to hire a Lemon Law attorney; otherwise you'll find yourself going up against manufacture representatives who are skilled and experienced at defending against lemon car claims. They'll use your court inexperience to their advantage.

Having a Lemon Law lawyer representing your case will level the playing field, as it were. A Lemon Law attorney understands statutes that cover lemons and how to use the vehicle history of your lemon, regardless if it's short or long, to your advantage, thus increasing your chances of receiving fair compensation.

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