Edmunds dealer partner, Bayway Leasing, is now offering transparent lease deals via these forums. Click here to see the latest vehicles!

LEMON LAWS: Clearing Up Misconceptions

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
edited April 2014 in General
Since there seem to be a number of misconceptions floating around out there about LEMON LAWS, I thought this might be a good place to provide information as well as discuss personal experiences people have had in dealing with Lemon Law issues.


1.Lemon Laws vary from state to state so you MUST be familiar with your state's provisions

2. Lemon Laws only apply to new vehicles that are still under factory warranty...that's it!

3. The vehicle (with some state exceptions) must be for personal or household use.

4. The defect must interfere with the vehicle's ability to conform to the automaker's written warranty. If the car is "ugly" or "rides too hard", you just bought the wrong car...not the manufacturer's problem.

5. Most of the time, the rule is the car must be replacer money refunded if the dealer can't fix the problem after 4 tries, or if the total repair time (down time) is 30 days. (Does this apply to one problem, or all collective problems in your state?)

6. The problem must substantially affect the value, use or safety of the vehicle. Sun visors sticking? Probably not good enough!

7. Anything caused by neglect or abuse of course aren't valid.

8. Don't modify your car..this could undermine your case completely

9. Keep a good paper trail...document everything, even phone calls.

10. You will probably have to go to mediation for your dispute before any lemon law will kick in for your benefit.

Any other ideas/experiences?


  • adc100adc100 Member Posts: 1,521
    I believe you also mentioned a while back that an owner's priority should be to work the dealer and not just focus on cashing in on the lemon law. This is not a perfect world.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, if you play the Lemon Law card right away, you have no other moves to make except to either follow through with your threat or keep quiet.

    My point was to give the dealer a chance either to fix the problem or fail so completely that it strengthens your case for an exchange car. The mediator or judge will always want to know if you've been flexible and reasonable.
  • black_tulipblack_tulip Member Posts: 435
    If I buy out of state or move, which state's lemon law applies?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    That's a darn good question, I don't know for sure? Anybody ever had this experience? Since the factory is the one really buying it back, maybe it doesn't matter?
  • silvernubirasilvernubira Member Posts: 59
    For New York State it does not matter where you bought the car as long as you are a New York resident New York arbitration laws apply.
  • smeliassmelias Member Posts: 2

    I recently leased a Lincoln LS which has a knocking sound coming from the driver's side B-Pillar (I think it's from the seat belt mechanism). So far, the car has been in the service dept for 18 days. Per my conversations with the service manager, the car has been sent to the body shop twice for some welding work on loose joints and parts surrounding the drivers side front and back doors. This has not worked and the knock still exists. A ford engineer is now comming back for the second time (actually, the first time the engineer was spoken to by phone and he had no clue as to what the problem was and now he's actually comming to see the vehicle).
    I spoke to an attorney friend of mine and she researched the NYS Lemon Law which is basically the same as written above. I spoke to the dealer and he had indicated that it would go to arbitration if it got to that point.
    I was wonderring if I have a case under the lemon law, and if they fix the car at the 29th day, do I have any right to get credit for lease payments (They did rent me a Daewoo).

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Don't know really, only an attorney could say, but I'll give you my opinion...that they are obligated to fulfill the car's warranty requirements within a certain time frame. If they fixed the car, sounds like they fulfilled their legal requirements. Also, as a lease, this is not your car, so that may also affect what you can and can't demand.
  • slinger31slinger31 Member Posts: 9
    I purchased a 2001 Grand Marquis in October 2000 and discovered 2 weeks later a vibration in the engine. Two trips to the dealer proved fruitless and was told that the engine imbalance was a characteristic of the 4.6 engine and that there was "NO FIX" and to live with it. I filed a complaint form with the Ford Dispute Settlement Board {information in the owners manual}. It took until 4/19/01 to appear before the Board, and 10 Days later, their decision was for Ford to refund the total purchase price less a mileage charge of $380. This did not involve the Florida State Lemon Law, but had I lost with the DSB I sure would have filed with the State. We spend good money for these cars and they should be much better and the Service Department saying that this problem, or any problem is normal is bull. I found the process with the DSB was time consuming but well worth the effort. Good Luck to All.
  • dupedbynissandupedbynissan Member Posts: 1
    I purchased a Nissan altima 2001 on March 27th. I filled the car and it shut off after only 7 gallons and I topped it off with 6 more gallons. The gauge said I still had 3/4 of a tank when I went to fill it. It has been in the shop 3 times and they have replaced the entire fuel system. It still doesn't read right and I can't tell for sure but my gas mileage has been as low as 19 mile per gallon. I requested a new car but nissan says it's repairable. I hate the fact that I need to see an attorney to get any satisfaction.
    It has been it the shop for 30 days and it's only May 26.
    When you get the car replaced do you have to refinance? I have a good rate now but if I have to refinance I don't know if I will get the same rate, and I will have to come up with the cash to pay the manufacturer the mileage on the old one right? This could cost me more than I can afford.
    Anybody know?
  • ken126ken126 Member Posts: 39
    I have a 3 week old prizm with a 5 speed that makes a sound like a washing machine on spin and get a lot louder when i put the car in neutral when coming to a stop. The car has been in and out of the shop 5 times in 3 weeks and the noise is still there. Do I have a possible lemon?????
  • friendinthebizfriendinthebiz Member Posts: 31
    dupedbynissan - it seems a limited chance that your inaccurate fuel gauge will result in a lemon law buyback. however if it does the question involving the loan rate and terms should be similar to an insurance replacement. the loan and its rate and terms remain and the replacement vehicle title replaces the original. it is called "subsitution of colateral". the payments remain the same but any and all fees or charges must be paid as the borrowed amount doesn't change. if the replacement car is more costly or when they want the mileage accounted you must pay. in an insurance case you can [non-permissible content removed] to the insurance company(ies) but here i'm not sure.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Ken...I don't think a "noise" would qualify. It has to be related to safety or to useful service life. This may, in fact, be the case with your problem, but it would have to be more specifically identified.
  • spokanespokane Member Posts: 514
    Mr. Shiftright said it but I'd like to add emphasis. Thoroughly document every event associated with the problem. Log in the date and mileage as well as the operating circumstances for everything that may be related to the problem. Repair orders are invaluable and discussions with service personnel should be written down almost "word for word" if possible. It's not sufficient to simply say "this circuit has failed five or six times."
  • curtisloewcurtisloew Member Posts: 6
    Before you drive off the dealer lot with your new treasure, be sure you inspect the vehicle from top to bottom, back to front. I bought a 2001 F-150 Super Crew 3 weeks ago. Last week I discovered a long tear in the metal on top of the truck. Who knows how long it's been there? I found it when I got into the bed to wipe excess water from the top after washing. I had never been up there before so I had no way of knowing it was there during the other 3 or 4 washings and rain it has been in. The dealer and FORD want to send it to a body shop. I want a new truck since I have no idea of how much damage has already been done inside that no body shop could ever repair. Rust alone in hot and humid Louisiana scares me to death. Can you imagine trying to sell this thing in 5 or 6 years with rust growing through the top and after warranty?

    Inspect thouroughly. Don't worry what the sales guy thinks. You owe it to yourself to check it out. Lemon laws say they have to have a chance to fix it. What happens when the damage inside isn't discovered for years? Lemon laws don't address this. Buyer Beware!
This discussion has been closed.