How lemon laws protect consumers

The federal lemon law, formally known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, was enacted in 1975 and its purpose was to protect consumers in all 50 states from fraudulent sales practices. While it primarily protects those who purchase new and used vehicles, it can be applied to other consumer goods as well, including small electrical appliances and machinery.  The lemon laws can vary from state to state, so it’s important to know what your rights are in the state you live in, and/or the state you’ve purchased your car in.

Generally, the law protects consumers who have purchased a vehicle under warranty, either original or extended. If your vehicle is under some type of warranty and there is a mechanical problem that can’t be resolved, you may be entitled to compensation under the lemon law. While the criteria differ across the country, here are the general guidelines:

   * If there have been three unsuccessful attempts at repairing the vehicle, or it has been in the repair shop for 30 days or more (those 30 days do not have to be consecutive), it is considered a candidate for the lemon law.

   * The defect/condition must be present within 12 months of purchasing the vehicle

If you have recently bought a vehicle that is under warranty and you are having mechanical issues, contact your local lemon law lawyer for more information about your rights and your course of action. The first step is typically to notify the manufacturer of the defect and give them an opportunity to repair the vehicle.

If your lawyer thinks you have a case, he/she will guide you through the process and will work to get you the compensation you deserve. In many instances, the lawyers will not charge you unless they win the case for you. Before you purchase a car, make sure you understand what is under warranty and what isn’t. Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center can help if you believe you have purchased a lemon.

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