Sour Auto Power

Think you've bought a lemon? Here's where you can go for help.

New Jersey, Wisconsin, and California allow for recovery in excess of the purchase price of the car. This is done to discourage manufacturers from dragging their feet. Pennsylvania’s lemon law has an addendum that was cowritten by Kimmel. It states that if a consumer purchases a used car with a lemon history, the dealer must inform the consumer of the car’s history before he or she purchases it. Missouri and New Jersey are among the states that have lemon laws for used cars.

According to the Center for Auto Safety, California, New Jersey, and Ohio have the best lemon laws, while Illinois, Colorado, North Dakota, and Arizona have some of the worst. If you live in a state that doesn’t have strong lemon laws, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a federal law that applies to defective vehicles. “Consumers should contact their legislators and attorney general and tell them that they want a strong lemon law for their state,” says Ditlow. “Tour our Website, AutoSafety.org, and file a complaint. Consumers should talk to one another, complain at town hall meetings, and go in groups to talk to their congressman about lemon laws.”

Although some organizations weren’t helpful, and friends and family were skeptical, Kinsey didn’t stop until she found an attorney to take her case. She sued and won in May 2000. The manufacturer paid her $7,000, covered all of her lawyer fees, and let her keep the car. “If the manufacturer doesn’t handle your complaints to your satisfaction, seek legal help. Even when others said it was a waste of time, I moved forward and won,” says Kinsey.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A LEMON?
Each state has its own lemon laws but they all share certain basic principles. For example, it’s a general rule that a car manufacturer’s warranty must cover any defects occurring within a 12- to 24-month period, or within 12,000 to 24,000 miles. Furthermore, a car buyer is entitled to a refund or vehicle replacement if the following things occur:

  • The car manufacturer has made one unsuccessful repairattempt to rectify a serious safety defect, i.e. one involvingbrakes or steering.
  • The car manufacturer has made two unsuccessfulrepair attempts to rectify a non-serious safety defect.
  • The car manufacturer has made three or four unsuccessful repair attempts to rectify other defects.
  • The vehicle has been in the repair shop a cumulative total of 30 days in a one-year period, with at least one of those days occurring within the car’s first 12,000 miles.
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About half of the country has lemon laws that allow the consumer to recover attorney fees.
SOURCE: AUTOPEDIA.COM

TOP 10 WEBSITES ON LEMON LAWS

  • www.autopedia.com/lemon
    The oldest lemon law site on the Internet

  • www.autosafety.org
    The Center for Auto Safety

  • www.carfax.com
    Find out a vehicle’s history

  • www.lemonhelpers.com
    A lemon law Website by consumer protection law firm Macey & Chern

  • www.lemonlaw.com
    Lemon law attorneys Kimmel & Silverman

  • www.lemonlaw.BBB.org
    Better Business Bureau Auto Assistance

  • www.lemonlawamerica.com
    A premier lemon law resource for consumers

  • www.lemonlawsusa.com
    A national lemon law resource center

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