Tips for tracking a lemon

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Vehicles are a significant part of the household budget. At the start of 2017, the average new car cost $31,400. In addition, insurance, maintenance and fuel increase the expense. Most consumers take out loans to buy cars—and they expect consistent, satisfactory results in return.

A lemon is a car that does not work as advertised. The problem is so widespread that Congress passed a federal law in 1975. California has its own legislation, known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. When a new requires an unreasonable amount of repairs, there may be a serious issue with the car itself. Lemon laws protect consumers, allowing a replacement vehicle or monetary reimbursement.

Documenting the problem

While it is frustrating to have a new vehicle continually serviced, many buyers are reluctant to pursue action against a dealership or manufacturer. The automotive industry is huge, with powerful resources that frighten some consumers from taking action. By state and federal law, it is your right to a fair purchase.

In a story about a high school student’s successful challenge, ABC News offers a few tips to help prepare your lemon lawsuit:

  • Note deadlines and act quickly
  • Save all receipts and invoices
  • Contact the manufacturer, not the dealer
  • Keep detailed records of mechanical issues
  • Keep detailed records of repair appointments
  • Keep detailed records of vehicle repair time

Reasonable repairs and consumer rights

As defined in The Lemon Law, if a car is not functioning correctly after a “reasonable” amount of repairs, it may be a lemon. This terminology is open to interpretation, but the law specifically states that if a problem is not resolved after four or more repairs, or if it has been in service for a combined 30 days, it may qualify. These are not absolute numbers, however. An experienced attorney can review your case to see if you qualify.

Your dollars are valuable. It can be intimidating to stand up against a large institution, but you deserve honest service and quality products in exchange for your contractual purchases. Lemon laws have been in the books for nearly 50 years, establishing protections for the consumer on one of your most expensive and one of your most important purchases.

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