Although the specifics of lemon law vary from state to state, every state has legal protections for consumers who have purchased faulty motor vehicles. In some states, these provisions extend to passenger and commercial motor vehicles, while in others lemon law only protects those who have purchased passenger vehicles for personal transportation. In some states, motor homes are covered by lemon law, while in others they are not. Only a few states include motorcycles in their lemon law statutes.
State lemon laws also differ in duration and in the opportunities extended to the seller to make repairs. Some base the application of the lemon law on the warranty period, while others impose a statutory limitation period, and still others offer alternatives based on mileage, warranty period, and fixed statutory periods. A lemon lawyer or consumer protection attorney can provide information about the specifics of the lemon law in a particular state.
Lemon laws can provide relief for consumers in dire circumstances, since vehicles are high-ticket items that most consumers can't readily afford to replace if serious problems arise. However, there are restrictions on the application of lemon law. In most states, dealers are allowed specific time periods or numbers of repair attempts before the provisions of the lemon law come into play. Most significantly, in most states the burden will be on the consumer to prove that the required opportunity to repair was provided, and that the statutory minimum number of repair attempts has been met.
In some states, lemon laws cover used and/or leased vehicles as well as new ones. Some states have also begun to enact lemon laws for certain other consumer items such as computers.
In most states, information about local lemon laws is available through the state Attorney General. Whether or not a consumer needs a lemon law attorney to help exercise his rights under lemon law depends upon the state and the strength and complexity of the lemon law statute. In some states, arbitration is required in lemon law cases, while in others cases can be filed directly in court. In any case, a lemon law lawyer can help steer a consumer in the right direction, advising him as to whether or not he has a claim and what kind of documentation will be required to enforce his rights.
If you think you may have a claim under your state's lemon law, check your state attorney general's website for information about the specific protections available in your state. Then, contact a lemon law lawyer to get more specific information about how the law applies in your case and what your next steps should be.
Be aware that all state lemon laws have restrictions relating to time, repair attempts, and/or mileage, so don't delay in getting the information you need. Continuing to drive your car or even the simple passage of time could preclude you from exercising your rights under state lemon law.