How to Lemon a Car

Hundreds of thousands of vehicles are found to be defective and labeled as “lemon” every year. 1% to 2% of all vehicles sold in the USA are treated as such every year. Without any legal remedies, consumers who own defective vehicles stand to lose millions of dollars and are placed in harms way. From individual lemon law cases to automotive defect class action cases, consumer law firms recover those millions lost by the car owners and place them and their families in safer vehicles.

A vehicle is a “lemon” if it has one or several technical problems which the dealership’s service department is not able to fix within a reasonable number of repair attempts. While the “qualifications” change and are often disputed by the manufacturers, there are several guidelines to consider. Although these general descriptions apply to most cases, there have been vehicles that have been “lemoned” months after the lease was expired and the owner no longer was in possession of the vehicle.

  • 2 to 4 Repair Attempts

The “reasonable number” of attempts usually ranges from 2 to 4 depending on what the problem is. If the problem is dangerous and is likely to cause serious injuries to individuals, the lower number of attempted repairs will be enough. If the defect is less apparent or less dangerous, 3 or 4 repair attempts may be required before pursuing a lemon law claim.

  • 30 Days of Attempted Service (cumulative)

Sometimes vehicles stay at the authorized service station for a prolonged period of time. In this case, it is not relevant how many time the vehicle was repaired. The mere fact that the vehicle remained at the shop for over 30 days combined is enough to satisfy the “reasonableness” of the repair attempts.

  • Within the first 18,000 miles or 18 months

The Lemon Law is a  remedy for problems that are due to either design defects or production defects. The longer you drive the vehicle before the first problem becomes obvious, the less likely it is that the problem can be linked to the manufacturer. Usually “lemon” problems or malfunctions happen within the 18,000 or 18 months of the ownership of a new vehicle.

What Should I do Next?

  • Gather All Your Paperwork

It is important to have ALL your repair invoices with you. If you did not keep them or none were issued to you, please go back to your dealership and ask for a printout of all your services on that vehicle. Documenting is crucial to proving your case as documents are the most readily available and inexpensive way to prove that your vehicle is defective and is a “lemon”.

  • Contact a Lemon Law Lawyer

Manufacturers have experienced attorneys working hard on their behalf and are paid to deny your claims or do everything to pay less than you are entitled to. Getting the help of an experienced Lemon Law Lawyer is free and in some cases necessary to achieve optimal results with maximum recovery.

Attorney fees in lemon law cases are paid separately, in addition to your recovery sum. There is really no reason why you should spend the time away from your work and family and fight against the corporate giants without knowing exactly what to expect or what you are really entitled to.


What Should I Expect?

Lemon law cases can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years. Upon a successful recovery, you will receive all your down payment and monthly payments back. In most cases, the consumers also recover any additional expenses they incurred as a result of the malfunctioning vehicle (from towing to rental fees).

How Does Lemoning A Car Effect my Credit?

Lemoning a vehicle that was leased or financed does not affect your credit negatively. The report will show that your lease/finance balanced was paid for in full and the loan is no longer an obligation for you to pay off. Your attorney will follow up with the manufacturer and/or the financing company to make sure that nothing remains open on your credit report as a result.


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