Buying a vehicle can be a highly stressful time. Next to purchasing a home, American families struggle with the next major financial investment in car shopping. For some, shopping for a vehicle can be so overwhelming that we avoid it at any cost. However, once the financing process is complete, many will find the vehicle purchase will provide for a sense of accomplishment and excitement when traveling in the new car. Unfortunately, in rare cases, some individuals suffer from defective vehicles resulting in a complaint or claim filed under what is known as the Lemon Law.
Lemon Law, as it pertains to vehicle purchases, is a federal and state regulatory measure to ensure the vehicle consumer is protected against defective vehicle parts and accessories. By definition a vehicle which does not provide service, value or safety to the consumer is a vehicle which may fall under the Lemon Law. Depending on the state in which you reside, the vehicle Lemon Law may vary slightly. However, the overall goal of the Lemon Law is to protect consumers with proper financial compensation when the vehicle purchased does not hold up to the expectations of the market demand.
For many consumers, when purchasing a new vehicle, we do not anticipate the vehicle is a “lemon”. As a result, we fail to properly document the initial repairs made to the vehicle while covered under warranty. However, documenting not only the type of repair but also the name and numbers of those you speak with at the dealership, manufacturer as well as the timing involved with repair will only serve to proof up a case for compensation under the Lemon Law.
To file a complaint under Lemon Law, most states provide assistance in completing the appropriate complaint forms. In Texas, for example, the Texas Department of Transportation, also known as the DOT, will provide a complaint form to be filed when there is sufficient documentation to warrant a review of a vehicle under the Lemon Law provisions. The important key factor to remember, however, is to provide enough documentation to proof a consistent pattern of failure with the vehicle in question.
If confirmed as a “lemon”, there are a variety of suggested options for the vehicle owner. Most commonly, the vehicle manufacturer will provide you with a replacement vehicle, at no cost. In some cases, however, the manufacturer may opt to provide cash settlement or provide a full refund of the purchase process. The decision with regard to resolution of the Lemon Law compliant is, generally, made final by the state in which you reside.
For more information regarding Lemon Law, visit the National Lemon Law Center online.