Steps To Take If You Think You Have a Lemon Car


If you buy or lease a new vehicle with significant problems, you may have a lemon car. Lemon laws vary by state, but almost all have two requirements based on the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act: The problem must be covered under your warranty, and you must give the manufacturer reasonable attempts to fix it.

Talk to an Attorney

Purchasing a new or used vehicle is a substantial investment. When that car starts to have problems, consumers deserve the right to get a refund or replacement. Federal and state lemon laws protect those who buy cars with serious defects. However, it is often difficult for consumers to prove they have a lemon car. One of the most important things a consumer can do is keep records of all dealer and manufacturer repairs and communication. It is also a good idea to do online research to see if other consumers have similar issues with the same model vehicle. This information indicates that the problem is widespread and that the dealer or manufacturer needs to respond properly. Checking the odometer for any suspicious changes is also a good idea. In some cases, dealerships and private sellers have tampered with the odometer to make it look like a vehicle has fewer miles than it does. This is a form of fraud that can often be prevented by checking the odometer against service records.

File a Complaint

Gabrielle Henderson |

If the problem with your car is so serious that it prevents you from using your vehicle as intended, it may qualify for a refund or replacement under the lemon law in Tennessee and other states. Remember that these laws vary by state, so research your state’s law. The law generally states that the manufacturer must allow a “reasonable amount of repairs.” How many repair attempts are considered reasonable will depend on the issue. The car may be considered a lemon if the problem recurs after several repairs (usually three or four) within a set period. When you take your car back for repairs, make sure that you keep track of everything that happens. Documenting each repair and the steps taken to resolve the problem will help your case if you need to file a complaint. Also, determine if the manufacturer has an informal dispute settlement program. If so, you should always go through this process before filing a complaint in court. If you are concerned that you bought a lemon, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help guide you through the next steps and obtain all necessary documentation to support your claim. Our consultations are free, so don’t wait to call.

Document the Issues

The first step is to keep a detailed log of the issues you are having with your vehicle. Also, take the time to review the paperwork that your dealer provides after each service visit. Any discrepancies between your documentation and that provided by the dealer can significantly impact the amount of money you could receive in a refund. Take note of any repairs done to the vehicle and keep copies of all receipts. You should also document any communications you have had with the manufacturer or dealership. These include phone calls, conversations, and any letters or emails you have sent. It is important to keep all of these documents and receipts in a file that you can use to build your lemon law claim. You may also want to research your vehicle’s year, make, and model. This is because some problems associated with a particular year, make, and model of cars may be widespread.

Having a new car constantly in the repair shop can be incredibly frustrating. Still, it can also put you and your passengers at risk if the defects present serious safety hazards. Suppose the manufacturer cannot resolve a defect after 30 days or 24,000 miles of repeated attempts (including using a comparable loaner vehicle during those repairs). In that case, the car or truck may qualify as a lemon. You can receive a replacement or a full refund for the original purchase price.

Get a Refund or Replacement

If you believe you have purchased a lemon, the first step is to contact the dealer or manufacturer directly. Send a certified letter detailing the problems with your car, when they began, and any steps you’ve taken to resolve them. Explain that you have given the manufacturer reasonable time and repair attempts and are now pursuing a refund or replacement under your state’s lemon laws.

State lemon laws vary, but most are based on the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and provide consumers with a right to a refund or replacement if they can prove a substantial defect in their vehicle that isn’t easily fixable by the manufacturer. These defects must be serious enough to affect the safety of the driver and passengers, including issues like faulty brakes or an engine that won’t start. Affected features may include luxury or comfort items like stereo or air conditioning. A successful claim under Lemon law can allow you to get a newer, better-functioning car without the hassle of paying for the one that doesn’t work. 

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