A car buyer is protected from purchasing a defective product by “Lemon laws.” Sometimes, car dealers will sell, or try to sell, a vehicle that has serious defects. The buyer may wind up paying more in repairs than they did for the car. They may not be able to drive it at all. They are the proverbial “sucker,” which is why the laws designed to aid them refer to “lemons.”
These laws seek to help consumers in cases where the car dealer failed to disclose pertinent information about the vehicle. When things such as maintenance history, miles driven and number of owners gets withheld, the lemon laws allow the purchaser to recover costs. New AZ car laws for 2017 and beyond aim to help all drivers on the road.
When someone buys a car, there is always a warranty. First, is the express warranty. This written guarantee that the dealer will cover the costs of certain needed repairs is standard. These contracts always have a set time frame, usually chosen to benefit the dealership.
Second, is the implied warranty, which differs depending on the jurisdiction. Buyers and sellers both expect that there are certain rational implications in their transactions, even if nobody ever explicitly states them.
For example, the dealer may never say that they have inspected the car for problems; however according to various traffic schools, everyone, including the courts, would assume that this safety inspection has occurred. Likewise, a buyer may never state that they will contact the dealer as soon as possible after noticing a defect; yet, everyone would assume they would.
The implied warranty arrangement in the above scenario is that the dealer will fix any problem that arose from normal items checked during the safety inspection as long as the buyer informs them of the situation in reasonable time.
As mentioned above, car dealer chooses the warranty schedules that benefit them. Buyers often joke that when something on their car breaks that is an indication the warranty has just expired. Car owners have a tough time getting things fixed, as a result.
Also, dealers may just refuse to acknowledge that something mentioned in the warranty is the source of the problem. It is not unusual for an owner to claim a problem with the breaks. The dealer inspects and says it has to be something else.
Another trick is for the dealer to claim the owner caused the problem. Yes, the issue could be with the breaks, which are coverable, but the driver has a heavy foot that has done the damage.
Lemon laws try to provide buyers the protection needed against unscrupulous sellers.
Think about it, without these laws a buyer would have a near impossible time proving that the item in question was broken beforehand and not as a result of their own actions.
Who has lemon laws?
All 50 states are covered via the federal lemon law, known officially as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, which covers mechanical failures.
Various states have their own variation, as well.
How do lemon laws work?
In general, owners are entitled to relief from the seller if the car is derivable for a set number of days, often 30, during a year. The owner may also recover damages if the vehicle required the same repair at a high frequency in a short time frame. Last, if there are so-called catastrophic defects, then the owner can sue and recover.
What about used cars?
Used car buyers are not fully covered by the federal lemon laws. Thus, various states have written a form of protection for these buyers. In some cases, the law is a bit weak. For example, owners may have to report a defect within 15 days. Many believe this time insufficient for a novice to notice things intentionally hidden by the dealer.
It is also possible for consumers to file an unfair and deceptive practice lawsuit in many instances.
Lemon Laws Protect Car Buyers
Without the lemon laws, both on the federal and state levels, consumers would have to live by the rule of caveat emptor and “buyer beware.” Of course, this would be unfair which is why the government has stepped in to keep dealers from taking advantage.