Lemon law in every state of the country protects new vehicle buyers. But when it comes to buying a used vehicle a customer has more chances to get stuck with previous lemon car.
A car is called a lemon when the defects substantially impairing its use, safety and value cannot be fixed even after the car has been repaired 4 or more times. Under the Lemon law a «lemon» car is qualified for refund from the manufacturer. Although it`s not always the case, some of previous lemon vehicles are sold again by fraudulent auto dealers.
So what to do when you`ve purchased a used car which turns out to be a lemon?
First of all there are no reasons to feel hopeless. Though used car Lemon Law is not widespread in the U.S., Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Hawaii, New Jersey and New York legislature has passed it. Under this law a used car is covered by warranty based upon its mileage and age. If problems with the car occur during warranty period the dealer must have it repaired. If the defects cannot be fixed after several attempts, the dealer is entitled to replace the vehicle or give back the customer`s money. It must be mentioned that used car Lemon Laws cover only sales of used vehicles, while only in New York it involves leased vehicles too.
There are other types of legal coverage for consumers who don`t live in these states. Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, Illinois and Maine have laws that prescribe standards for selling used cars and require warranties.
To tell the truth the laws in these states are imperfect as they cover only a certain group of used car owners. For example, the law in Arizona covers only cases where major component has broken within 15 days or 500 miles of its purchase. Illinois law offers a sliding scale of repair costs depending on the car age: 10% for 3-4 years old cars, 25% – 2-3 years old cars, 50% for the vehicles that are less than 2 years old. Connecticut`s law covers used vehicles under seven years old and the price of which exceeds $3000.
What about U.S. consumers who have bought a previous lemon car in the state where used car lemon law is not adopted and the state law doesn`t cover his/her individual situation? There are federal laws that can be used in such situation: Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), according to which an implied warranty is automatically included in a used vehicle sale; the Federal Trade Commission`s (FTC) Used Car Rule prescribes dealers to provide customers with a Buyer`s Guide disclosing whether the car is sold with warranty or «as is», defects previously occurred on this vehicle etc.
In every state there are Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAP) laws. Under these laws the customer can sue a dealer if the latter haven`t told about any issues relating to the used car, including previous lemon. Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is also on the customer`s side in his/her fight for justice.