If you just bought a used car, and you think you might have a “lemon,” you’re not alone. Some estimates put the number of lemon cars in the US at about 5%, but it could be far higher. It’s not always easy to know that the car is a lemon, and it can be even harder to prove it.
That’s why it’s so important to seek out the assistance of an experienced lawyer, who helps you understand what a lemon car is, how to avoid buying one, and if you’ve already bought one what you can do about it.
What is a Lemon Car?
You probably have a sense of what a lemon car is. It’s a defective used car. You may have heard about one before, but hopefully, this is the first time you’ve dealt with the realities of a lemon car in your personal life.
While lemon laws can vary from state to state, the general legal definition of a lemon car involves a defect that is not only present within a certain time frame after purchase, but it is also covered by warranty, and it is present even after multiple (at least four times) attempts at repair. The car must also have been out of service for 30 days or more due to warranty/repair issues.
How to Avoid Buying a Lemon Car
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to prove that you’ve bought a lemon car, let’s go through some quick tips that should help you avoid buying a lemon car in the first place. These tips should start you off on the right track toward buying a reliable and safe car.
- Inspect the car and take the car for a test drive.
- Check the Carfax to find out the car’s history of accidents.
- Take the car to the mechanic to have it fully inspected by a professional.
- Beware of the bells and whistles. While lots of extra features may sound great, they could be a recipe for trouble if they are not under warranty.
- Ask for information regarding the prior owners of the vehicle.
It’s important to find out as much as you can about the used car that you’re purchasing. By carefully testing the vehicle and taking it to a professional who will take an even closer look at the car, you are better able to determine whether the car is a lemon.
There’s one more quick trick that could save you time and money. There are some cars that have a reputation for being “lemons,” so it’s best to avoid them. Some of the most common vehicles that fall under that distinction are the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Escape, Jeep Wrangler, GMC Arcadia, Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Challenger, Ford Focus, and Jeep Cherokee.
While the bad reputation of some cars does not necessarily guarantee that the car will be a lemon, you should be aware if a car has poor reviews. Particularly when you’re buying a used car, you must be sure that it is as safe and reliable as possible, without the negative hype or reputation.
How to Prove You Bought a Lemon Car
While some dealers and manufacturers are eager to work with you to address the warranty and repair issue(s), that won’t always be the case. Even if you don’t immediately suspect that you might have bought a lemon car, you must keep all records and paperwork, with notes of the attempts you’ve made to fix the defective vehicle.
While it may not seem immediately obvious as an important measure, you should also keep records of the time you’ve spent making phone calls, taking your vehicle in, and paying for rental vehicles (if applicable). While it’s difficult to know where the case will end up, you may receive partial or full reimbursement for all costs incurred related to the lemon car.
Next Step: Consult with a Lemon Law Lawyer
When you’re dealing with a lemon car, you need a Lemon law lawyer, who can help you understand your rights and what you can do about the situation. With our years of experience and our background in working directly with consumers who have dealt with lemon law fiascos, our team is the right solution for your needs both now and in the future.
While each case is different, relevant state law means that you may have the right to a refund or replacement car from the dealer or the manufacturer if you’re able to prove that you bought a lemon car. The process usually starts with a certified letter, then moves to arbitration, and the case can continue on from there. We work with you every step of the way to get you the resolution you need. Make sure to explore your legal options if you think your car is a lemon.