A “lemon law” is a law designed to protect car buyers from bogus deals. The lemon laws evolved during the 1960s as part of a broader push for more expansive consumer protection. That being said, many dealers–especially used car dealers and individual sellers–regularly violate the provisions of the lemon laws and swindle consumers out of millions of dollars.
Since lemon laws vary from state to state, it’s important to read the fine print of your leasing or buying agreement to make sure that your seller is above board. One way to do this is to write down the conversations you have with your dealer and technicians. Keep a log of the work done, the date and time of the work, and the specifics of the discussion. You can use this information in court if action needs to be taken down the line.
Protect Yourself with Knowledge of the Lemon Laws
If your car has been experiencing regular mechanical trouble, draw up a timeline of the technical repairs. In many cases, dealers and technicians will discourage you from applying for compensation under the lemon laws by trying to convince you that the mechanical problems you’re experiencing are minor. This is a common tactic, so don’t be duped. If you suspect a problem, get legal help.
One way to prevent wrangling over your car’s technical problems is to request what’s known as a Technical Service Bulletin early on. A TSB details specifics problems with car models. Dealers won’t necessarily automatically present you with this information, so it’s a smart move to ask, particularly if you are buying or leasing an unusual make or model.
Common questions to ask your dealer include: was the car/truck/van in an accident prior to customer delivery? What is the full mechanical history of the vehicle? Are there typical problems associated with your make/model? If you don’t get satisfactory answers to these, consider shopping elsewhere or talking to a lemon law lawyer.
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- California Lemon Laws
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