Am I Stuck With My Used Car Lemon?

Buying a used vehicle only to find that it has a major defect or flaw is an incredibly frustrating experience. The cost of repairs, time spent in repair shops, and logistics of finding transportation during repairs are infuriating. Are you stuck with your used lemon, though? As it turns out, you have options.

Used Cars and Lemon Law

While some states only accept new vehicle purchases under their Lemon Laws, most include used cars as well. There were only six states with used car protections in 2013, but that number has grown as more and more adopt a statutory used car warranty period for dealerships.

If your car was no longer covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, then the dealer would now be tasked with the same obligations as the manufacturer under Lemon Law. This gives them a set number of times to fix the issue before they have to either refund or replace the car.

You will still need expert legal aid, like this Bay Area Lemon Law attorney, to make your claim and win the case. Usually, it’s a little more difficult to prove a lemon claim on a used car depending on the state you live in. So, lawyer up. It’s your best bet.

Other Statutes

If the state you live in does not include used cars in its Lemon Laws, there are other avenues you can pursue. Some states include an Unfair and Deceptive Practices statute, which allows you to show that the dealer knowingly sold you a lemon without disclosing the vehicle’s issues.

Other states also offer limited warranties for older or higher-mileage vehicles. California, for instance, provides a 30-day/1,000-mile warranty that allows time for potential defects to show. While these are all good protections for consumers, what do you do when your vehicle isn’t covered by any form of Lemon Law?

Relying on Older Laws

Consumer protections aren’t new, with the first being in enacted in 1906 to protect consumers from low quality food and drugs (better known as “snake oil” back then). In 1975, the federal government passed the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act as a way to offer a warranty for all products.

This act covers any product that costs over $15 with a limited warranty, as well as requiring manufacturers provide disclosures when necessary. Like the Lemon Law, consumers can seek compensation or replacements. The Magnuson Moss Warranty Act extends to vehicles, as well.

You could also look into the Federal Trade Commission’s used car rule, which requires dealers to include a Buyer’s Guide. This guide consists of covered repairs, the warranty, and a list of any major defects. If the dealer did not provide this, you may be able to seek compensation.

Finally, there’s the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). This provides used car sales with an automatic implied warranty, simply stating the car is fit for transportation. Unfortunately, many states offer dealers a loophole if they sell the car as-is. It’s worthwhile to hire skilled legal aid to better understand which law can help you with your lemon situation.

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