For many, buying a car is a major investment. Unfortunately, not everything planned goes well. There are many hidden lemons, waiting for the unaware buyer. And by “lemon” we refer to cars which have serious malfunctions. If you suspect that you have bought a lemon, you should immediately take action. Find out more about what to do after realizing that the vehicle has serious problems.
Every state has laws to protect consumers from products that have serious defects. Lemon laws protect consumers from automobiles that are plagued with serious defects. If an item cannot be satisfactorily repaired within a certain time-frame or after a specified number of repair attempts. In California, if within the first 18 months, or 18,000 miles, a car will be considered a lemon if one of the following three conditions is met:
• There were at least 2 unsuccessful repair attempts and the defect causes the vehicle to be unsafe to drive
• The manufacturer or dealer has attempted to fix the same defect four or more times without success
• The vehicle has been out of service for over 30 days because of warranty repairs
The defect must be severe, functionality-related and it must impair the use of vehicle or it must pose significant safety issue to any of the drivers or passengers. For example, anything related to brakes or the ability to take corners. An aesthetic problem, like damaged paints, will not cause safety or functionality problems and will not determine the car to be labeled as lemon.
If you are stuck with such vehicle, then under consumer laws, you may be entitled to a manufacturer replacement or refund of the money you spent buying and fixing the vehicle.
• Manufacturer’s buyback: In this option, the manufacturer of your car replaces your lemon vehicle with a similar vehicle from its own stock.
• Refund: For this option, you need to return the lemon car to receive compensation. In this scenario, you may receive compensation for the number of monthly payments you’ve made, your down payment, any fees and taxes paid, as well as any money spent on repairs and rentals you purchased while your lemon was being serviced.