How Do Lemon Laws Work?

Lemon laws are state laws that protect consumers who purchase defective vehicles. These laws vary from state to state, but generally, they require manufacturers to either repair the defective vehicle or replace it with a new one. If the manufacturer is unable to do either of these things, the consumer may be entitled to a refund or compensation.

What Constitute a Lemon?

Most states have specific definitions of what counts as a lemon, but some general factors are usually considered which include:

  • The vehicle must have a defect that substantially impairs its use, value, or safety
  • The defect must occur during the warranty period
  • The vehicle must have been brought in for repair of the defect at least once (or multiple times, depending on the state)
  • The manufacturer must have been given a reasonable opportunity to repair the defect

If the vehicle meets these criteria, then it may be considered a lemon under state law. Usually, the burden of proof is on the consumer to show that the vehicle is a lemon, and this may call for the assistance of an experienced lemon law attorney.

What Are My Rights If I Have a Lemon?

If you have a lemon, you may be entitled to a refund, replacement vehicle, or compensation for your losses. The specific relief available to you will depend on the laws of your state, as well as the facts of your case. For example, in some states, you may only be entitled to a refund if the vehicle has been in the shop for a certain number of days. In other states, you may be entitled to a replacement vehicle or compensation regardless of how long the vehicle has been in the shop.

It is important to note that, even if your vehicle does not meet the legal definition of a lemon, you may still be entitled to relief under your warranty. Many manufacturers have programs in place to provide repairs or compensation to consumers who have purchased defective vehicles, even if those vehicles do not technically qualify as lemons.

If you think you may have a lemon, it is important to speak with an experienced lemon law attorney who can help you understand your rights and options. The Law Office of Jacob K. Kashani, LLC represents consumers with lemon law claims in California and across the country. Our website has more information on California lemon law and how it may be able to help you.