A car found by a recent purchaser to be of poor quality is popularly known as a “lemon.” A “lemon law” is a State law that compensates purchasers if it appears that the car in question was represented as being more roadworthy that it actually was. A lemon law attorney should understand the law in question and the way automobile dealerships operate.
WHAT IS A LEMON LAW Attorney?
A lemon law lawyer handles legal cases that help prevent consumers from falling victim to defects in an automobile. Lemon law lawyers also know which vehicles are eligible and ineligible. Lemon law attorneys should be consulted if your vehicle is showing signs of being a lemon. Lemon law lawyers handle all aspects of automobiles which are still under manufacturers warranty when they are defective and for which you should be compensated for.
FACTS ABOUT LEMON LAW
Lemon law lawyers deal with the legal bureaucracy of lemon law regulations. Lemon law attorneys are needed for consumers who have purchased a defect or a “lemon” from an owner or dealership. A lemon law lawyer should be contacted as soon as you feel you are a victim of a so-called lemon. Though it might seem costly to hire a lemon law lawyer, for professional legal advice, it is a good idea to do so.
Choosing a Lemon Attorney
A new vehicle is a major expenditure in most people’s budgets. After the planning, saving, and shopping; you placed your hard earned cash at risk after listening to the manufacturer’s assurances that you are acquiring a quality product. Now, when you count on that vehicle to perform as expected, you have been severely disappointed. Worse yet, the dealer and manufacturer combination are giving you the run-a-round when it comes to honoring their commitment – guaranteeing your satisfaction once you purchase their product. What do you do now?
This is not the time to be a self-starter. It is the time to hire the legal firm that makes lemon car resolution the centerpiece of their practice. This gives you the best chance of receiving the settlement that compensates you properly for the hardships that you had endured.
When seeking the best lemon law lawyer to represent you, there are 3 points that you need to consider: Experience, Service, and Fee Arrangement. Here is what you should be considering:
You must hire a lemon attorney, located in the state where you are filing your lemon law claim. They must be licensed to offer their services in that state. If an attorney is not located in the same state, then they will face difficulties in representing you. They cannot effectively work if they has to travel long distances to appear in the court.
As the saying goes you should not hide anything from your doctor and lawyer. So your lawyer should be a person you can trust completely. Meet your lemon attorney personally before you hire him or her. Don’t hurry into choosing a lemon lawyer you are not comfortable dealing with. Be wary of the lemon law firms that do not allow their clients to meet their lemon attorneys who are going to represent them in the court.
Number of Attorneys
Another thing which you should take into account is the number of attorneys working with that company and their strengths. Don’t be too impressed by a huge team. Instead, ask how many of them can handle lemon law cases? If you think your case will have lengthy proceedings, you must make sure that there is another lemon attorney who can take over the proceedings in case the first one leaves the job or gets sick.
Some larger firms may stretch out a case to rack up billable hours. A lack of experience in dealing with the lemon laws may also result in a long process or unfavorable result.
After the experience, the reputation of that lemon lawyer is the other most important thing which you should take in account before you hire him or her. You should ask around about the reputation of that lemon attorney. A lawyer’s track record will help you in determining the reputation and work quality of that lawyer. Another potent way of checking the reputation of the lemon attorney, you are going to hire, is by asking someone who had availed the services of that lawyer.
To sum it all up: we never get paid more than recovered amount from the manufacturer of the lemon that you were having issues with. This concept was designed to protect you and instill the confidence of pursuing a large company for damages, shifting the risk to us to perform.
It makes little sense to be compensated for your loss but to incur even more financial burden in paying your lawyer. With this burden lifted off your shoulders, you are free to pursue compensation without worry. This is an important point to keep in mind when seeking legal assistance.
Dos and Don’ts of Filing a Lemon Law Claim
Buying a car is a painstaking process which involves huge investments and hard slog. More botheration add up if you end up buying a lemon car. Visualize that you have applied all the precautionary measures so as to avoid buying a lemon but you still feel that you are chiseled. What you can do to get out of this unpleasant situation is to file a lemon law claim. Listed below are some dos and don’ts that you should take into account before filing a complaint.
Lemon Law Claim – Dos
- Write a letter to the manufacturer or dealer and ask for a refund or replacement of the vehicle. In case of a claim for a refund, you must write complete amount at which you have bought the car including sales tax, finance charge, repair costs, minus a reasonable amount for mileage. If you ask for a replacement, you have the right to ask for repair costs without paying anything for mileage.
- Try to describe your problem as briefly as you can, so that the reader directly looks at your issue.
- In case of ignorance at manufacturer’s side, use manufacturer’s complaint arbitration program in which the panel decides how to settle down your lemon issue. You can also consult a lemon attorney if you want. Some states do not bind the arbitrator’s decision and give the consumer a right to sue. If you win, then you could get double the vehicle’s price and repair costs plus other costs and attorney fees.
- Do include facts about the problem chronically.
- Attach copies of the repair receipts mentioning the problem, the date and the time it took.
- If the dealer fixed your problem the way you desired, be civil and give him a warm note of thanks. This will help you in the future and you’ll be remembered by him the next time.
Lemon Law Claim – Don’ts
- Don’t threaten the manufacturer or dealer of a lawsuit. This will result in less cooperation from the manufacturer’s side.
- If you think something is going wrong or your problem is not being handled properly, do not give ultimatums. Instead, ask the dealer, he’ll pass the information along on your behalf.
- Don’t compare your car with foreign cars because every country has its own laws. So this argument won’t work.
- Don’t always think that the dealer is trying to cheat you. If the dealer is telling you the same things about a variety of cars, don’t think that he is portraying a false picture. Because most of the cars have the same characteristics.
- In case the dealer is unable to understand the problem you are facing. Do not get harsh and impolite. Be patient and explain the problems and its exact circumstances in which it occurred.
- Never go to private mechanics or sellers because they don’t feel comfortable taking on other dealers’ problems.
Lemon Law – Buyer’s Responsibilities
Under lemon law, if you are the owner of a brand new or used but under warranty vehicle and facing a malfunctioning of one or many parts of the vehicle; which is impairing the value or functioning of the vehicle, you are entitled to claim repair, replacement or refund from your dealer or manufacturer of the vehicle.
But as a buyer or owner of the vehicle, where you are entitled to many rights, you also have some responsibilities. You must claim the defect within the warranty period while also notifying the manufacturer if the dealer is unable to fix the problem. Settle your problem with the help of informal dispute program of your manufacturer that is if he is offering one. You as a buyer also have some responsibilities so as to avoid buying a lemon in the first place, those are:
- The very first thing you should do to avoid purchasing a lemon is, execute a thorough research on the vehicles, their prices, mileage and speed.
- Dealers always try to hide the defects and never accept their mistakes, always keep your eyes open and be smart enough to look beyond the rosy picture your dealer or manufacturer is painting.
- You must read and understand the terms and conditions clearly. In case of any confusion, discuss it with the dealer before buying a car.
- It’s a buyer’s responsibility to inspect the car thoroughly. If while observing you find something fishy about the car, refuse to accept the car then and there. Be cautious of dialogues like “We’ll resolve these problems at the first service.”
- Read the manuals and service terms and also clarify the warranty terms.
- Give a dated written note clearly describing all the problems to your dealer or manufacturer.
- When going for a repair, be prepared for a delay in time and work. So be patient.
- If you have a lemon car and you want to claim it under the lemon law, you must send a notice within sixty days after the express warranty ends, or within sixty days after the one-year period ends whichever occurs first.
- The notice must contain your name, date, problem or defect, its description, number of attempts of fixing that problem, VIN, serial number, manufacturer’s name, dealer’s name, and your address and phone number.
- It is highly recommended to hire a lemon law attorney because these dealers create numerous obstacles which will be difficult for you to figure out and face on your own.
- Don’t delay filing your complaint with the dealer or manufacturer. Do it right away as soon as the problem occurs the very first time and take your car to the workshop.
- If you are claiming a replacement or refund, do attach the receipts of purchase, leasing, insurance and other expenses.
Lemon Law – Manufacturer’s Responsibilities
The lemon law in each state of the US is there to stop the dealers and manufactures from providing scrap cars and ignoring complaints of the affected buyer. Where lemon law defines the rights of a buyer, it also sets standards and responsibilities for a manufacturer.
Lemon law requires the manufacturers to repair or replace a vehicle if its defects are adversely affecting the use and market of the vehicle. The manufacturer or dealer will be held responsible only if the vehicle is under warranty or if the claim is filed within one year of the purchase.
In case the defect persists to bug the owner even after a number of repair attempts by the manufacturer or dealer, the owner is entitled to replacement or refund plus attorney’s fees and other collateral costs.
The manufacturer has following responsibilities under Lemon law:
- The manufacturer must fix any and every malfunctioning or defect in the vehicle.
- If the dealer fails to repair the defect, the manufacturer must give the buyer a new car or pay the money back.
- It’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to pay back the whole cost of a car along with other charges.
- If a dealer is out of stock, the manufacturer is liable to ship that specific part for its dealer or repairing agent by the fastest means available (generally air freight) with no additional charge.
- The dealer has the right to attempt the repairs four times before he will be required to provide replacement or refund.
- Manufacturer or dealer is not liable to hold the car in his or her workshop for more than 30 days for repairs. In such a case the buyer can claim a new car under lemon laws.
- If the problem has occurred by abuse, neglect, or unauthorized alterations of the vehicle, the manufacturer or dealer won’t be responsible for its rectification.
- The manufacturer is not liable to refund if the defect is not significantly impairing the value and use of the car.