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Used Car Lemon Laws, Find out the Lemon Law before You Buy a Car

California Used Car Lemon Laws

As long as a secondhand car is sold with a written and specific warranty, it qualifies under the California Lemon Law. The car should not have been purchased for commercial purposes. As with all other applications for vehicles, the California Used Car Lemon Law only covers a secondhand car that was purchased for personal, family or household use.

Care should be taken to have the defects and inherent problems of the car established by a certified mechanic at the time of purchase. If the vehicle was bought without a warranty that covers these defects, the buyer will have a very difficult time making a case under the California Used Car Lemon Law. Unscrupulous sellers will not shy away from trying to sell a buyer a ‘lemon’ previously returned for these very defects.

California Used Car Lemon Law also applies to leased vehicles, as long as they have been leased under warranty. With all vehicles, such a warranty is not invalid once 18,000 miles of road use or 18 months since purchase have expired, if the warranty specifies a higher mileage or period.

As long as the first repair attempt took place within the specified warranty period, a leased or purchased vehicle can qualify under the California Used Car Lemon Law even after that period.

Basically, one can get a refund or complete, satisfactory repair for a secondhand purchased or leased vehicle as easily as one can for a brand-new car, as long as the used car was purchased for private, non-commercial use. Secondhand cars are not the only vehicles covered by the California Used Car Lemon Law. It applies equally to recreational vehicles (RVs), motor homes of all kinds, motorcycles, boats and other vehicles.

California Lemon Law provides detailed information on California Lemon Law, California Computer Lemon Law, California Boat Lemon Law, California Lemon Law Attorneys and more. California Lemon Law is affiliated with Boat Lemon Laws.

Lemon Laws: New and Used Cars Are Treated Differently

In general, a "lemon" is a term used for a bad car, or a car that gives a bad feeling. To the government, a lemon is a bad new car. This distinction in lemon law causes a lot of confusion.

Each state's lemon law is a little different. Generally, you must have bought or leased a new car. In some instances you can make a claim if the previous owner bought the car for a short time and then quickly sold it to you.

Some state lemon laws only cover cars that are used primarily for personal use. Others excludes motocycles, while including trucks and boats. California, for instance, extends its lemon laws to soldiers in the military who are serving in Irag and Afganistan.

Each state sets different time and mileage limit. For example, California requires to make a lemon law car claim within 18 months or 18,000 miles of buying the vehicle. Review the lemon law in your state carefully.

Each state also defines what car is designated as a lemon. For example, in one state if the dealer can't correct critical brake or steering problems in one try, the car is considered a lemon. In another, a car is defined as a lemon if the dealer has tried and failed three times to repair a repeat flaw. In a third state, the lemon law covers new cars that have been in the shop for a cumulative total of more than 30 days.

In the event that your car is a lemon, it is your responsibility to inform the dealer and manaufacturer (preferably in writing) by certified mail

Once all the dealer's repair attempts have been exhausted, the manufacturer is required to repair or replace your car. Of course, many manufacturers fight this, and you may have to get help. Your state consumer protection office can give you guidance. Many manufacturers participate in arbitration, like the Better Business Bureau's Autoline program.

If all else fails, you'll have to sue in court. Lemon law procedures should be outlined in your vehicle's warranty manual.

Back to you used-car buyers. Some states now require vehicles that were returned as lemons to carry a permanent "brand" on the title. This lemon alert lets subsequent buyers know that they may be purchasing a problem car.

Do Your Homework
Learn the lemon law in your state.

If you believe your car may qualify, immediately send the dealer and manufacturer a certified letter putting them on notice that you may act under the lemon law. Don't wait - you don't want to miss the deadline.

Mark your calendar for each day your new car spends in the shop.

Keep detailed records of every repair and write down the names and numbers of everybody you speak with in connection with your claim.

You can check to see whether cars of your make and model are the subjects of any recalls or service bulletins. To obtain a list, contact the Center for Auto Safety at (202) 328-7700 and/or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at (800) 424-9393. Also try going online and typing your make and model into a search engine.

Used Car New York Lemon Law

Regardless of what precautions a buyer takes, every once in a while, somebody is going to end up buying a busted auto. Such things happen to be among the unavoidable, unpleasant little details of life. However, such things are also the reason several states, New York among them, have lemon laws. Protecting consumers is the core purpose of the used car New York lemon laws and a smart consumer would do well to know those laws before making a purchase. While the used car New York lemon laws can be complicated and confusing for those who aren't trained attorneys, there are some aspects of the law that are easy to understand and should be known by all consumers.

First off, the used car New York lemon law requires that a seller, be it a dealership or website, provide the buyer with a basic warranty, on paper, for the auto. While the mandated coverage periods of the warranties vary with the mileage (the first 18,000 miles or two years from the date of original delivery ) on the vehicle being sold, most consumers do feel some degree of security knowing that there is, at least, some sort of protection for their purchase. The law also requires dealers to cover repair costs for a vehicle if it is still falls within the coverage period stipulated by the law. The lemon law also forces dealers to repair parts outside the coverage period, provided the buyer informed the seller of the defect before the warranty runs out.

In relation to the repair-related clauses of the law, the used car New York lemon law also states that once an automobile has been repaired or parts of the machine replaced, three times, the dealership is obliged to accept the machine, should the buyer decide to send the auto back for a refund. Such a return, however, is disqualified if the vehicle was damaged by the buyer or through regular use and not by flaw or damage present before the machine was sold. Thus, the law forces dealers to take responsibility and make sure that every car that their lot has sold is in good condition and is not likely to break down within a span of a few days.

The used car New York lemon law also makes it impossible to deny the warranty. Dealers are mandated by the law to uphold their end of the bargain, regardless of whether or not the buyer has been made explicitly aware of the limited guarantee. On a side note, dealers are also required to divulge the existence of the limited guarantee to the buyer once the purchase is complete. According to the clauses in the law, any attempt made by a buyer to waive the warranty will not be recognized. Such clauses were put into place for the specific purpose of protecting unwary consumers from the dealership's tactic of convincing buyers to waive the right to have the dealer repair any damage that was caused or ignored while the vehicle was not with the buyer.

As with similar laws in other areas, the used car New York lemon law was designed to protect consumers from being ripped off by unscrupulous resellers. While NYC has a reputation for having a large population of people more than willing to unlawfully take another person's money, used car New York lemon laws provide at least some level of comfort to used car buyers.

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Lemon Law 101

Lemon laws are made to protect buyers of defective commodity. A car sold with a hidden flaw that causes the car to be in need of frequent repairs make it a Lemon. The lemon law covers both new and used cars but the faults in a used car needs to larger than the one in a new car for a used car to be seen as a lemon. The fault in the car most be of such nature that they reduces the usability of the car for the buyer or renders the car completely useless. In a new car it is enough that the faults is "spoiling the new car experience" for the car to be considered a “lemon”. Lemon laws vary from state to state and so does the guidelines for arbitration. Lemon laws usually come into play when a vehicle undergoes a specific number of repairs due to defects, when it has been a certain number of days at the shop or if it has certain safety defect that increases the risk in using that vehicle.

The laws are formed to preventing car dealers to take advantage of unknowing car buyers and tricking them into buying defect cars. It is also created to make sure that car manufacturers have to take responsibility for the products they produce and sell. Prior to the lemon law manufacturers and dealers sometimes refused to take their responsibility and referring to that the problem was common in that type of care or tried to intimidate the “lemon” buyers.

The history of the lemon law starts in 1979 with a lady named Rosemary Shahan from lemon Grove. She had bought a lemon that still wasn’t working after waiting 3 months to get it repaired. She then picketed the mechanics for 5 months which created a public outcry against the treatment customers received from mechanics and car dealers. This public outcry became the basis for a citizen movement for lemon laws which formed Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) an organization that made Rosemary Shahan their head. The first states to introduce Lemon laws were Connecticut and California. They introduced lemons laws 1982.

The Center for Auto Safety then started to collect data about how many “lemons” that was sold and the statistics was staggering. They found that over 1.2 million consumers had been “tricked” into buying defective cars. Surveys today suggest that up to 1 000 000 million “lemons” are sold each year.

Connecticut and California was soon to be followed and all US states had introduced lemon laws by the end of 1983. All states created their own rules that suited that state which is the reason why the Lemon laws today look different in different states. The Lemon laws can be said to have been a success as they have improved the consumers position towards car dealers and car manufacturers something that becomes ever more important as the car prices increases.

The best thing to do if you think you have bought a “lemon” is to contact a lemon law attorney that is specialized in your states lemon law. The attorney will be able to tell you if you have a lemon law case and will be able to help you get the compensation that you legally have a right to. It is important that you keep all bills and records of your cars repairs and give them to your attorney to help him determine if you car is a “lemon” and to be able to prove your claims. You should also always remember to read the manual of the car and perform the maintenance that is required for you to maintain your vehicle warranty. Not doing so may prevent you from making any claims based on the lemon laws.

It is important to know how and when the lemon law are enforced in your state to be able to correctly judge whether your care is a "lemon". An example of a state lemon law is the Nevada lemon law

What are Lemon Laws

Most people either don't know their rights when it comes to buying a vehicle or they're not sure if the problems they are experiencing with their newly purchased vehicle is an actual problem or not.

Many State's lemon laws have strict guidelines that will allow consumers to be able to differentiate between a real and present problem with their vehicle and some mechanical problem that is totally normal for the automobile in question.

Some consumers may not know this, but there is a Federal Lemon Law also that usually extends the deadline considerably later than individual State's deadlines, which help consumers in some cases. But what exactly are Lemon Laws and which vehicles are covered under the Lemon Law guidelines?

Although most of the State's Lemon Laws are fixated on the purchase of new automobiles, there are some States that have laws and statutes related to the purchasing of used vehicles and those vehicles are covered under the Lemon Laws of those States. However, new cars are the most commonly referred to automobiles when speaking about a Lemon Law.

Some new automobile buyers might not know their rights under their States' and the federal Lemon Law, but the basic principle behind the automobile Lemon Law is to ensure that consumers are getting a fair deal. If there is some problem with the vehicle that seriously affects the vehicle's safety, value, or use, then the particular consumer is protected with the Lemon Law.

One question that a consumer might have that involves the Lemon Law is how long he or she has protection under the automobile Lemon Laws. The general rule of thumb for most States is between 18 months or the first 18,000 miles of the vehicle's use.

If a problem arises before those time periods are up and the problem is not able to be fixed within 3 to 4 attempts by the manufacturer then the consumer who purchased the vehicle is obliged to a buy-back of the vehicle by the manufacturer or a refund of the purchase price. However, there may be exceptions to that rule which allow the consumer to be able to be protected even farther down the road when it comes to a problem with their vehicle.

The New Vehicle Limited Warranty period that's provided by the manufacturer usually extends far beyond the normal 18 month or 18,000 mile period, which means that consumers may be protected against a defect in the vehicle if it seems as though it cannot be fixed.

If a consumer has worries that he or she has purchased a "Lemon," he or she should proceed to speak to a Lemon Law attorney to know the best course of action to take. But doing nothing about the car or "lemon" that you have just purchased will do nothing; standing up for your rights under the automotive lemon laws is the best one can to do protect themselves from such cases!

Leading Lemon Laws Firm Looks to Help More Car Owners in Need

(PRLEAP.COM) Anyone who has ever been stuck with a defective car now has a way to fight back. Attorneys Kimmel and Silverman who’s lemon laws firm has helped more than 40,000 drivers recoup losses from faulty vehicles are looking to expand their reach to help even more people.

By utilizing the power of the Internet through Philadelphia online marketing company Dinkum Interactive, the lemon laws firm hopes to let more drivers know that help is out there.

"So many people are affected by lemons," says Rick Simmons, President of Dinkum Interactive. "We are proud to be a part of this project, and our goal is to make sure more people realize law firms like Kimmel and Silverman are out there and are able to help."

Dinkum will work with the lemon laws firm to determine the best course of action for the site’s overall online strategy.

Says Simmons, "Now that more than 150 million Americans use the Internet to find information, helpful resources like need to be more visible."

The site offers detailed information on lemon laws in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington DC and Delaware, and promises to answer any questions a person may have on the subject. The organization itself has succeeded in obtaining more new vehicles and refunds for their clients than any other lemon laws firm in the Northeast. has been using pay-per-click and search engine optimization since the beginning of Internet marketing. When they set out to look for a new marketing firm, they wanted one that could think outside of those common areas of Internet marketing .

Simmons says, "Our partnership with is natural because of the lemon laws firm s long experience with the Internet. They never want to be satisfied and that is a perfect client for us."

"The Internet is changing rapidly," he adds. "And the methods now being used for Internet marketing will be outdated in the next few years. We are implementing the changes necessary to be successful over the Internet now. With our own blogging expert on staff and our own video equipment, we are poised to take advantage where others have yet to set foot."

Based out of Philadelphia, Dinkum Interactive is a website marketing company specializing in online visibility. With the belief that "if you build it, they will come," is never the right strategy for a website, Dinkum works to make sure their clients’ brands are seen by potential consumers.

"Targeted websites are an extremely important business development channel for Kimmel and Silverman," says Stephen Tomasco, the Director of Information Technology for "It was clear from our first meeting that Dinkum Interactive is a true industry leader in Internet marketing. We view Dinkum Interactive s knowledge of the Web and their various advertising means to grow our business as a great competitive advantage."

"When our work can benefit thousands of local residents," adds Simmons, "that’s truly something special."

Volkswagen Among Most Complained About Cars

LINK: 2007 Car Complaint Index

(KDKA) PITTSBURGH When you buy a new car, you don't want problems, but how do you know which cars give drivers the most trouble?

Every year car owners complain to the Center for Auto Safety, often about the same problems over and over again.

That information is put together based on the number of complaints for every thousand vehicles sold. Cars with the most complaints top this year's most complained about car list.

Jim Bastone has been fixing cars for more than 40 years at Bastone Auto Service and if a certain make and model is having problems, he says he usually knows all about it.

Bastone says he's not surprised the Volkswagen Passat is No. 1 on the 2007 Car Complaint Index.

We see a lot of those with electrical problems, fuel injection problems, he said. I can't explain it. The Volkswagen used to be the foundation of what dependable cars were.

It's not a good year for Volkswagen on the Consumer Complaint Index. The Volkswagen Jetta holds the No. 3 spot.

But Lemon Law Attorney Craig Kimmel says it's not just the Volkswagen having electrical problems.

Six of the top 10 cars on the list here - air bag concerns, electrical problems and vehicles shutting off or surging conditions, he said.

Other cars topping this year's list are the Pontiac Solstice, Mercedes Benz M Class, and the Nissan Quest.

What does the Car Complaint Index mean to shoppers? It's a heads up on what kinds of problems other car owners are having.

It's not the Be-all end-all as far as deciding what kind of car to buy, Kimmel said. But you're stuck between a Passat and another vehicle in its category and you just can't decide, this information may be helpful for you.


Don't Be Stuck With a Lemon This Summer - Automobile Lemon Law Advice for Car Buyers

It's summer. The temperatures increase. The clothing diminishes. The checkbook comes out, itching to be used for a down payment on a new car.

Summer is one of the busiest car-buying seasons of the year, according to Consumer Advocate Craig Thor Kimmel, Managing Partner of the automobile lemon law firm of Kimmel & Silverman. Now is a terrific time to pick up some new wheels, but potential buyers should follow some important tips to avoid purchasing a faulty vehicle and having to hitchhike in the scorching heat.

"Although getting a new car can be exciting, it is something that should not be rushed," warns Kimmel. "There are certain automobile lemon law precautions consumers need to take to avoid buying the wrong car or paying more than they should."

First, to avoid needing to consult an automobile lemon law attorney like Kimmel, do your research. Make sure the type of car you are considering has a strong customer satisfaction rating, provides the features you need and want and is priced within your range. Consumer Reports is a terrific source of information, with detailed facts on almost every available vehicle, and Kelly Blue Book is great for pre-owned cars. Additionally, consult family, friends and neighbors, as well as Internet review sits like There is no better source of opinions than people who have actually owned the car.

Second, know the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). Unless a car is in high demand, dealers generally sell their vehicles lower than the MSRP, meaning there is almost always wiggle-room with the sticker price and the final price. Also, don't forget to shop around; call several authorized dealers to see if they can get a better offer for you. Identical cars are widely available from dealer to dealer: it's only the price that changes!

Third, it's very important to try it before you buy it. Automobile lemon laws are in place to protect buyers from cars that don't work, but make sure you put it through the works before you sign the papers and drive off. Test every feature, from the defroster to the stereo to the horn. Take the car for a quick test drive, and listen for unusual sounds and pay attention to how the car steers, accelerates, brakes and handles. If something doesn't seem right, make sure you ask about it, and don't accept promises to fix it after the sale. Tell the dealer you won't agree to anything until the vehicle is running at 100 percent. This is the one time you have total control over the dealer and salesperson. Keep that control and demand perfection before you sign, or you may be buying a metal headache down the road.

Fourth, never purchase a car without a manufacturer's warranty, whether the vehicle is new or used. Otherwise, getting your car fixed properly by qualified mechanics, with the maximum of expertise and the minimum of hassle, may be next to impossible. If the manufacturer of the car will issue a warranty, it must stand behind the work performed, which keeps you protected.

Finally, know your rights as a consumer. If you have purchased a new car or a car with an existing manufacturer's warranty and you have a reoccurring problem that they can't seem to fix, you do have legal rights. Automobile lemon laws exist to protect you, and best of all, legal help is completely free to consumers under State and Federal Laws, so don't be afraid to consult an attorney if needed.

As one of the country's oldest, largest and most recognized lemon law firms, we have provided free legal help to more than 40,000 consumers and have succeeded in obtaining more new vehicles and refunds for our clients than any other lemon law firm in the Northeast. For more information on the Automotive Lemon Law and free legal representation, call 1-800-LEMON-LAW (1-800-536-6652) or visit

U.S. 'lemons' on city streets Good vehicles at huge savings, local dealer says

By Geoff Kirbyson

THE arrival of American-made "lemon" vehicles on Winnipeg lots and showrooms has caused some industry players to warn consumers to ask questions, get inspections and search out a car or truck's history before taking the keys.

CBC-TV reported Tuesday evening that more than 100 vehicles officially deemed as lemons by U.S. authorities have made their way across the Manitoba border over the past 18 months.

One local dealer said it's not as bad as it sounds. Stephen Vickar, president of Vickar Mitsubishi, said lemons typically make up about one per cent of his dealership's inventory. He said these vehicles have been marked for a variety of repetitive issues, from a battery dying or a radio that won't work to transmission problems.

"These vehicles are good vehicles. They're fixed to manufacturers' specifications. That's why the manufacturer will sell them. They stand behind the vehicles," he said in an interview Tuesday.

"These manufacturers have very good names in the industry. If the vehicles didn't meet specifications, they would never let them go back on the market."

Vickar said if would-be buyers have their eye on a particular car, they're provided with its complete history before they make their final decision.

"I have no problem selling lemon vehicles. I save the consumers thousands of dollars. It's not like it's hidden. They get the option to pick that vehicle," he said.

Bruce Giesbrecht, president of the Manitoba Motor Dealers Association, said Tuesday was the first day concerns over U.S. lemons coming into the Manitoba market had been brought to his attention. He said the MMDA has been focused on protecting dealers and consumers from buying the tens of thousands of vehicles written off in New Orleans in the wake of hurricane Katrina more than two years ago.

He said part of the problem is vehicles move around so freely between dealers in the U.S. that by the time they make it to Canada, it's impossible to tell from the registration that they've been designated lemons.

"It's like laundering money only it's dirty cars that are being laundered," Giesbrecht said.

He said only vehicles that have been written off in a collision, and subsequently repaired and brought back to market, have any negative notation on their registration.

"We're trying to get any vehicle written off because of hail, flooding or any other reason to be recorded on the registration. We're working on that right now with MPI (Manitoba Public Insurance)," he said.

Trevor Neudorf, sales manager at West Perimeter Auto Centre, a Winnipeg-based registered importer of U.S. vehicles, said he ensures any vehicle he brings north of the border has gone through a litany of tests and inspections before he closes the deal. He said he makes sure to run a check on each vehicle's serial number to ensure it hasn't been branded with flood damage, a salvage title (a writeoff) or bought back by the manufacturer.

Unfortunately, he said some vehicle dealers are blocking information on the title of particular vehicles when they come across the border.

"It's the same as in any other business. If a guy wants to be a crook, he can be a crook," he said.

Stephen Moody, general manger of the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP), said people who purchase new or used vehicles in the U.S. or used vehicles in Canada that were first sold south of the border are ineligible for its dispute resolution program.

"It's very important that consumers who buy a vehicle in the U.S. do their due diligence and do all the checks that they should," he said in an interview.

The most crucial, he said, is getting a report from It can tell you if the vehicle you're considering has been in an accident, declared a lemon or had significant body repairs, he said.

"It's an excellent investment as part of your decision to buy a vehicle in the U.S.," he said.

U.S. has lemon laws

WE'VE all kicked our vehicle and called it a lemon when it hasn't started or a problem resulted in a huge bill from a mechanic, but vehicles that repeatedly fail to meet standards of quality and performance in the U.S. wear that moniker as a badge of shame.

Lemon laws in the U.S. vary from state to state. The federal lemon law covers anything mechanical and also provides that the warranty company may be obligated to pay your legal fees if you win a lemon lawsuit.

This is big business in the U.S. There's even an organization called Lemon Law America where affiliated lawyers have represented frustrated lemon owners over the past seven years and helped them receive thousands of dollars in refunds and new vehicles.

Make sure you don't get squeezed by a lemon

MORE than 100 vehicles that were designated as lemons in the U.S. were imported to Canada over the past 18 months. Here's how you can avoid driving a lemon off the lot or at least minimize the sour taste in your mouth if you do.

Spend about $30 to get a report on the vehicle you're looking to buy. It can tell you if it has been in an accident, had significant body work or been declared a lemon.

Keep detailed records of the number of days your vehicle is out of service.

Give your dealer a reasonable opportunity and amount of time to resolve the problem.

Follow the maintenance recommended for the vehicle closely. Make sure oil changes, for example, are done at the right mileage or time. When a problem appears, get it fixed quickly or it will only get worse.

-- Source: The Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan

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