Car Sales & the Law

Lemon laws vary from state to state, but are on the books to help car buyers and purchasers of other goods get compensation for goods that fail to meet standards of quality and performance.

Some states’ lemon laws don’t cover anything but cars and other passenger vehicles. Some states cover RVs and larger trucks; a few states also cover used cars. If you are in a state that does not cover your vehicle, you may find remedy under a federal law known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

It is harder than you may expect to have your car declared a lemon. First of all, it has to be a relatively new car. You have to report the defect either within one year or 24-thousand miles on the car, whichever is less.

In some states, including Alabama, your car may qualify as a lemon if:

  • The vehicle has been out of service for at least 30 days and in the possession of the manufacturer or authorized dealer,
  • There have been 3 or more unsuccessful attempts by the manufacturer to repair the vehicle, and
  • The vehicle is 2-years old or less, or has less than 24-thousand miles on it.

This is the remedy for a non-conforming vehicle, which means the vehicle is not living up to the express warranties that the manufacturers have given. If you have tried to get the car repaired three times and it has been out of service for 30 days or more, then it is presumed to be non-conforming,

If you can show it is presumed to be non-conforming, then the manufacturer is required to give you a car comparable to the one you have, or they must reimburse you the price that you paid for the vehicle. They may also be responsible for other incidental expenses, such as title and registration fees. It is your choice as to whether you want another car or you want the money.

Lemon laws were created to offer buyers a way to obtain a refund or replacement for a defective vehicle. If you think you have a lemon, and you aren’t getting any satisfaction, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.

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