FAQs: What Is the Lemon Law? How Does It Work? And More (2024)

How Does the Lemon Law Work?

The first step in any Lemon Law case is always noticing a defect and bringing it to the manufacturer or one of its authorized dealers for repair. If the manufacturer fails to repair the defect on that first attempt, the vehicle may already qualify as a lemon. However, in most cases, you’ll need to provide the manufacturer with at least one more repair attempt before pursuing compensation.

Still, it’s in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as you suspect you may have a lemon. The sooner you act, the greater your chance of success. And with free case reviews, you have nothing to lose by consulting an attorney.

Once you’ve provided the manufacturer with a reasonable number of repair attempts, the next step is often arbitration. Rather than immediately filing a lawsuit, most states require you to try resolving the matter informally. To do so, your attorney will help you gather evidence to support your claim and present it to an arbitration panel.

After reviewing the evidence from both sides, the panel will issue a ruling as to what compensation you deserve, if any. If you’re unhappy with the panel’s decision, you may file a lawsuit to bring your claim to the courts. However, with an experienced Lemon Law attorney in your corner, the manufacturer will almost certainly settle instead of going to trial.

In most states, the manufacturer is even required to pay your attorneys’ fees when you win your case. So, if you think you have a lemon, it’s in your best interest to seek professional representation. Doing so greatly increases your chances of a successful recovery. And as a bonus, the manufacturer who sold you the lemon will likely need to pay more for its mistake.

At Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center®, more than 99% of the cases we handle settle before going to trial. And with more than 50,000 success stories to our name, we’re very confident in our abilities to get our clients the compensation they deserve.

Is There a Time Limit to Pursue a Lemon Law Claim?

Yes, Lemon Law claims are subject to statutes of limitation, like most laws. These differ wildly from state to state. But the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which applies in all states, allows you to file a claim for up to four years after your warranty was breached. For vehicles, this generally means you have four years to file a claim after the first failed repair attempt.

What If My Vehicle Repair Record Shows No Problems?

When you purchase a vehicle from a dealer or take one in for repairs, there’s a trail of documentation that you never see. This includes everything from your customer copies and warranty payment documents to dealership bookkeeping and hard copies.

The hard copy, for example, contains the original notes made by the mechanic who inspected and/or signed off on your vehicle. In some instances, you will find the phrase “Could Not Duplicate Customer Concern” stamped on the customer copy, while the hard copy often contains notes made by the mechanic that clearly state the opposite.

Not only does this leave your vehicle in need of repairs, but it also sends you back out on the road with a potentially dangerous vehicle. By carefully sourcing and investigating all existing paperwork, our attorneys can detect whether or not any vehicle problems were noted upon acceptance. So even if your repair records show no problems, you may still have a case.

What Is a ‘Lemon’?

In the context of the Lemon Law, a lemon is a consumer vehicle with a defect that continues to exist after a “reasonable number of repair attempts.” The exact origin of the term is up for debate, but a Volkswagen ad from the 1960s cemented it into our vocabulary. One likely explanation for the term is that both lemon vehicles and the citrus fruits leave a sour taste in your mouth.

What Is a Reasonable Number of Repair Attempts?

Before a vehicle can be deemed a lemon, you must give the manufacturer a reasonable number of attempts to resolve the issue. Although every state’s laws vary, most provide manufacturers with at least 3 chances to do so. In some states, a single repair attempt may be sufficient to deem a car a lemon, especially if the defect affects the safety of the vehicle.

Most states also qualify vehicles as lemons if any number of repair attempts keep the vehicle out of service for a total of 30 days. However, those 30 days out of service must take place within a set time period, often the first 12, 18, or 24 months after the original purchase date. To find out how your state defines a “reasonable number of repair attempts,” visit the specific state page on our site.

What Does the Lemon Law Cover?

Lemon Laws cover vehicle “nonconformities,” which is a fancy way of saying “defects.” Practically all new vehicles come with a written warranty that acts as a promise from the manufacturer to repair vehicles that exhibit a defect in materials or workmanship. If the manufacturer, by and through its authorized dealers, fails to repair any such defective component as promised, the company will have broken the promise that the warranty obligates it to honor. Thus, the defective component would be considered a “nonconformity” and would likely be covered by the Lemon Law.

Most states’ lemon laws apply only to consumer vehicles with nonconformities that substantially impair the vehicle’s use, market value, or safety. But the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act covers any consumer product that costs more than $10. Plus, this federal Lemon Law covers any warrantied defect, not just those that cause substantial impairment.

What Are Lemon Laws?

Lemon Laws hold manufacturers responsible for the defective vehicles they sell. In the U.S., every state has its own Lemon Law, and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act serves as a federal Lemon Law. Thanks to these laws, consumers who purchase a lemon can seek compensation, which amounts to a refund or replacement vehicle in many cases.

How Does a Car Qualify for Lemon Law Protections?

Although the Lemon Law differs from state to state, most use similar guidelines to determine which vehicles qualify. Typically, the vehicle must have a defect that substantially impairs its use, value, or safety. The defect must be reported to the manufacturer while the vehicle is still under warranty and must persist after a “reasonable number of repair attempts.”

To learn more about the specific Lemon Law in your state, click on the “Select Your State” dropdown menu at the top of this page. Or, visit our page dedicated to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act to learn more about the federal Lemon Law, which provides broader coverage than many of the state laws.

How Long Does a Lemon Law Case Take?

Every Lemon Law case is different. So, estimates as to their duration have a large margin of error. However, most cases are resolved in a matter of months rather than weeks or years. The consumer often determines how long the case will take because only they can decide whether or not to accept a settlement offer.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Lemon Law Case?

While you may attempt to go it alone, most of our 50,000+ clients have told us that they’d hit brick walls attempting to resolve their lemon law case on their own. So, you’re far more likely to prevail with an experienced attorney representing you. Car companies rely on high-priced legal teams to avoid paying every claim they can. You can level the playing field with a lawyer of your own to assist with your claim, who will greatly increase your chances of success.

Plus, in most cases, you’ll never pay a penny out of pocket to hire a lawyer for a Lemon Law case. The federal Lemon Law, and most states’ lemon laws, include fee-shifting provisions to force the manufacturer to pay your attorneys’ fees when you win. And at Krohn & Moss, Ltd., we only charge for our services when we secure compensation for our clients.

With that in mind, there really is no compelling reason to pursue a Lemon Law claim without a lawyer. So, contact us today for a free case review to get started on your case!

Is the Lemon Law a Federal Law?

Yes and no. Lemon laws are a type of law rather than a specific statute, much like family law or contract law. In the U.S., every state has its own Lemon Law. And the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act acts as a federal Lemon Law, protecting consumers nationwide. So yes, there is federal Lemon Law, but there are also lemon laws in each of the 50 states.

FAQs: What Is the Lemon Law? How Does It Work? And More (2024)


Which of the following items can affect a Lemon Law claim? ›

  • Nature of the defect.
  • New or used vehicle.
  • Statute of limitations.
  • Proof of repair attempts.
  • Quality and skill of your attorney.
Nov 3, 2021

What is lemon effect law? ›

Lemon laws apply to defects that affect the use, safety, or value of a vehicle or product. If the product cannot be repaired successfully after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer must repurchase or replace it.

How do you calculate mileage offset Lemon Law? ›

Mileage Offset Formula

' The mileage offset is calculated by multiplying the purchase price by the mileage at the first warranty repair attempt for the problem that rendered it a lemon, and dividing this amount by 120,000 (which in California, is the average life expectancy of a vehicle).

What is an example of a cash and keep settlement? ›

You reach out to the manufacturer, and after some back and forth, they give you an offer. They offer to give you a cash amount and let you keep the vehicle to use for a trade-in. This way, the manufacturer is not saddled with a lemon, you have cash in hand plus a vehicle for trade-in.

What happens if my car can't be fixed? ›

If your car can't be repaired or the cost of repairing it is more than its value then it will be deemed a total loss. When this happens, you will be compensated based on the value of your car, allowing you to get back on the road as quickly as possible.

What's the lemon law How I Met Your Mother? ›

Actual answer: Conceived by Barney, it's a rule introduced to avoid spending too long on a date that is going nowhere. The Lemon Law entitles either party on a date to call off the date within the first five minutes with no repercussions or hard feelings. Just cite Lemon Law and you're out.

Is lemon still good law? ›

Lemon was a major precedent in federal and local courts until it was effectively overturned by Kennedy v. Bremerton School District in 2022. Alton J.

What is the lemon effect business? ›

The lemon theory posits that in the used car market, the seller has more information regarding the true value of the vehicle than the buyer. This results in the buyer not wanting to pay more than the average price of the car, even if it is of premium quality.

What is the lemon law in Texas for used cars? ›

The manufacturer must replace the defective vehicle with one that is comparable to the original vehicle (usually same make, model and accessories) and acceptable to the consumer, minus the mileage used.

How do I get out of paying for over mileage? ›

One of the best ways to escape the over-limit fee is to negotiate a lease buyback at the end of the term if your budget allows. If you turn in your car and find you owe thousands of dollars in extra mileage fees, you may be better off just using that as a down payment for the vehicle.

How do you show mileage for reimbursement? ›

The standard mileage rate for 2023 is 65.5 cents per mile, as set by the IRS. To calculate a mileage reimbursement, you multiply the mileage rate by the number of miles you drive over a payment period. Say you drive 1000 miles this month. Your reimbursement amount will be $655.

How much do you get back for mileage reimbursement? ›

The current, 2023 federal mileage rate:

65.5 cents per mile for business purposes. 22 cents per mile for medical and moving purposes. 14 cents per mile for charitable purposes.

Can I ask for cash settlement? ›

The cash settlement may be too low

Some insurers let you ask for a cash settlement. But be careful – you could end up being out of pocket, as many will only pay what it will cost the insurer to rebuild, not what it will cost you to rebuild.

What is final cash settlement? ›

What Is a Cash Settlement? A cash settlement is a settlement method used in certain futures and options contracts where, upon expiration or exercise, the seller of the financial instrument does not deliver the actual (physical) underlying asset but instead transfers the associated cash position.

Why cash in the settlement? ›

Advantages of Cash Settlement

Another advantage of cash settlement is that it can be more cost-effective. Since the buyer does not have to take possession of the underlying asset, they do not have to pay any additional fees or expenses associated with holding an asset like gold, oil, wheat, or other commodities.

What makes a car not worth fixing? ›

At What Point Is It Not Worth Repairing A Car? A handy rule of thumb is if the cost of repairs approaches 50 percent or more of a vehicle's current market value, it's no longer worth trying to fix it.

What to do with a car you don't want to repair? ›

Here are six options you can try:
  1. Trade-In at a dealership. Both new and used car dealerships buy used vehicles. ...
  2. Sell it independently. ...
  3. Find online buyers or traders. ...
  4. Consult mechanics and repair shops. ...
  5. Consider junkyards and scrap yards. ...
  6. Donate your car to charity.
Jun 1, 2022

What do you call a car that can't be fixed? ›

The words irreparable and unrepairable are synonyms that mean unable to be fixed.

Who owns the rights to How I Met Your Mother? ›

How I Met Your Mother, is a joint production by Bays & Thomas Productions and 20th Century Fox Television and syndicated by 20th Television (now Disney-ABC Domestic Television). The series was loosely inspired by Thomas and Bays' friendship when they both lived in New York.

What is the Lemon Law in the United States? ›

Lemon laws are statutes adopted in some states to make it easier for a buyer of a new, or in some jurisdictions new or used, vehicle to sue for damages or replacement if the dealer or manufacturer cannot make it run properly after a reasonable number of attempts to fix the car.

How many rules are in the bro code in How I Met Your Mother? ›

The Bro Code

Published by Simon & Schuster, the book covers 150 rules written in articles of what "bros" should or should not do. The book was penned by Barney Stinson and also credited with Kuhn, who also wrote the entries of Barney's blog, mentioned in the series. The book was first shown in the episode "The Goat".

What are the 3 parts of the Lemon test? ›

Under the "Lemon" test, government can assist religion only if (1) the primary purpose of the assistance is secular, (2) the assistance must neither promote nor inhibit religion, and (3) there is no excessive entanglement between church and state.

What is the Lemon test? ›

The Lemon test is a three-part test commonly used to determine whether a government's treatment of a religious institution constitutes "establishment of a religion" (which is prohibited under the establishment clause of the First Amendment).

What is the new Lemon test? ›

The Lemon Test has three prongs, each a requirement for state action to be deemed constitutional under the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution: (1) the law must have a secular purpose, (2) the primary effect of the law must not infringe on or promote religion, and (3) the law should not unduly entangle ...

What is an example of lemon problems? ›

Lemons Problem - This is when the low quality products drive out the high quality products until only lemons (low quality products) are left in the market. Example: The market for used cars.

What is an example of a lemon? ›

The most common and well-known example of a lemon is in the used car industry, where defective or poorly conditioned vehicles are bought and sold by the purchaser without prior knowledge of the true state of the vehicle.

What is the solution to the lemon problem? ›

Solutions to the Lemon Problem

Guarantees and Warranties: Guarantees and warranties benefit both the firm, by attracting customers with an assurance of higher quality goods and services, as well as consumers who, in the case of receiving a faulty product, can return the item or have it replaced.

What is the single greatest expense of owning a car? ›

Car insurance is one of the biggest expenses associated with vehicle ownership. Car insurance premiums are personalized to each individual, based on factors like: Age: Generally, teenagers and people in their 20s pay the highest insurance premiums.

What is the difference between the retail price and factory invoice price? ›

MSRP is the price an automaker recommends for a car, while invoice price is how much a dealer pays an automaker for a car. Knowing both numbers gives you an idea of a dealer's profit margin — and whether you could have an opportunity to negotiate the price.

How many days after buying a used car can you return it in Texas? ›

30 days, as long as you bought the car in Texas.

Can mileage be turned back? ›

Digital odometers can be rolled back by removing the vehicle's circuit board to change the odometer reading, or using rollback equipment that hooks right into the vehicle's electronic circuit.

How much is a lease on a $45000 car? ›

How much is a lease for a $45,000 car? Using our calculator, we input a $5,000 down payment, an assumed $25,000 residual value, an interest rate of 7% and a term of 36 months (three years). It resulted in monthly payment of $606 before taxes.

What happens when a car reaches maximum mileage? ›

But once a car reaches 75,000 miles, the engine often begins to loosen and cause oil leaks and engine rattling. Switching to high-mileage oil can help “tighten up” the engine.

Is it better to write off gas or mileage? ›

Here's the bottom line: If you drive a lot for work, it's a good idea to keep a mileage log. Otherwise, the actual expenses deduction will save you the most.

Can you write off gas and mileage? ›

If you're claiming actual expenses, things like gas, oil, repairs, insurance, registration fees, lease payments, depreciation, bridge and tunnel tolls, and parking can all be deducted." Just make sure to keep a detailed log and all receipts, he advises, and keep track of your yearly mileage and then deduct the ...

Does mileage reimbursement include gas? ›

A mileage reimbursement rate covers a wide range of vehicle expenses: gas, oil, tires, maintenance, insurance, depreciation, taxes, registration, and license fees.

What is the average mileage compensation? ›

New IRS Mileage Rates

The new mileage rates are up from 58.5 cents per mile for business purposes and 18 cents per mile for medical or moving purposes in early 2022 and 62.5 cents per mile for business purposes in the second half of 2022.

What is the new mileage rate for 2023? ›

The IRS gave employees who drive for company business a New Years' Day present on January 1, 2023, by raising the standard mileage rate! The agency on Dec. 29 announced that the 2023 business standard mileage rate is increasing to 65.5 cents, up 3 cents from the 2022 midyear adjustment of 62.5 cents.

What not to say to home insurance adjuster? ›

What Not to Say to An Insurance Adjuster
  • Don't Admit Fault. What should you not say in a claim? ...
  • Don't Downplay Damages. Victims who downplay their damages give insurance adjusters a chance to downplay the settlement offers they make. ...
  • Don't Give a Recorded Statement. ...
  • Don't Accept the Initial Settlement Offer.
Mar 22, 2023

What if my settlement offer is too low? ›

If your insurance settlement is too low, you can negotiate. As stated, insurance adjusters fully expect negotiations to occur — it's a typical part of the process. Before negotiating a new settlement offer, it's helpful to have a rough idea of how much you'd be happy to accept.

How much money should I ask for in a settlement? ›

To get a general idea of settlement, add up the costs in medical bills, damages, and lost wages, and multiply the sum by three. This may be around the amount in the settlement you can receive after a car accident. Compensation for pain and suffering is only given to those who are injured in a car accident.

What is good faith violation? ›

Good faith violation. What is it? A good faith violation occurs when you buy a security and sell it before paying for the initial purchase in full with settled funds. Only cash or the sales proceeds of fully paid for securities qualify as “settled funds.”

How long does cash settlement take? ›

For most stock trades, settlement occurs two business days after the day the order executes, or T+2 (trade date plus two days). For example, if you were to execute an order on Monday, it would typically settle on Wednesday. For some products, such as mutual funds, settlement occurs on a different timeline.

How long does it take to get a cash settlement? ›

Although most injury settlement checks arrive approximately six weeks from the settlement date, several other factors can delay your payment. In most cases, your injury attorney will be able to walk you through the process and keep you apprised of the state of your settlement.

Do I need to keep money in my settlement fund? ›

While you're not required to have a balance in your settlement fund at all times, keeping some money in the settlement fund has these advantages: You're more likely to have money to pay for purchases on the settlement date, when your account will be debited for the amount you owe.

What controls a cash settlement? ›

Safeguards against a default: Cash settlement requires margin accounts, which are monitored daily to ensure that they have the required balances to conduct a trade.

How do I protect my cash settlement? ›

First, you can keep your personal injury settlements separate from all other forms of income and keep that money in a separate bank account. This will prevent creditors from being able to take that money away from you in the future. Another option is to use a prepaid credit card.

What qualifies as a lemon in California? ›

Your vehicle's problems could cause death or serious bodily injury if it is driven, and the manufacturer or dealer has made at least two unsuccessful repair attempts. The vehicle has been in the shop for more than 30 days (not necessarily in a row) for repair of any problems covered by its warranty.

What is the lemon law in California on appliances? ›

The California Lemon Law Statutes and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (also known as the “Federal Lemon Law”) both provide consumers with various forms of compensation (refund, replacement or cash compensation) for defective consumer products that were purchased with a warranty.

What is the lemon law in California for used cars? ›

Under California's used car lemon laws, a manufacturer or dealer must repurchase or repair the vehicle if it has a significant defect or cannot be repaired within a reasonable number of repair attempts.

What is the lemon law in Ohio for used cars? ›

Vehicles returned to the manufacturer for a problem that could cause death or serious injury cannot legally be resold in Ohio. For other returned lemons, the manufacturer must brand the title and provide a warranty, and the used-car dealer must provide fair warning notice to consumers.

How much money can you get from lemon law in California? ›

Settlements can range from a few thousand dollars to the full value of the vehicle. The California Lemon Law applies not only to new vehicles, but also to used vehicles that are still covered by a manufacturer's warranty.

Do you need a lawyer for lemon law California? ›

While it's not mandatory that you hire a lawyer to represent you in your Lemon Law case, enlisting the aid of an experienced CA Lemon Law attorney can help you get the most out of your claim. Here are some of the reasons why hiring a good Lemon lawyer is the smart move to make.

How long does a California lemon law case take? ›

Typically, a lemon law claim is resolved within 30 days. However, since lemon law cases may take a while to get fixed, they typically take three to six months. Some cases may take longer if manufacturers refuse to repurchase or replace a lemon vehicle.

What are my rights as a consumer in California? ›

The CCPA empowers California residents with the right to opt out of third-party data sales, the right to be informed of data collection and rights, the right to have collected data disclosed, the right to have collected data deleted, and the right to equal services and prices.

Does landlord have to replace fridge California? ›

Is it a Habitability Issue? Your landlord is required to make repairs to ensure that your unit is in a habitable condition due to the implied warranty of habitability in every lease. But under California law, appliances like washer/dryers, refrigerators, are considered amenities and not necessities.

What is Section 1793.03 of the California lemon law? ›

According to Section 1793.03 of the California Lemon Law, a manufacturer of an electronic product, including a television, computer, radio or similar gadget that is worth more than $100.00 must include parts that can be repaired for at least seven years after the electronic was manufactured.

What is the California law to returning a used car? ›

If you decide to return the used car, you must return it to the dealer within two business days by closing time (unless the contract gives you more time). You must return the car under these conditions: With no miles in excess of what the contract allows. (The contract must allow for 250 miles.)

What is the formula for lemon law buyback in California? ›

California's Lemon Law Refund/Buyback Formula

The formula is the miles you have driven the vehicle before the first repair attempt, divided by 120,000 (California's determined average for the lifespan of a vehicle) multiplied by the cash price of the vehicle.

How to file a complaint against a car dealership in California? ›

Record of Complaint Form

By calling 1-800-777-0133.

Does AR have a lemon law on used cars? ›

The Arkansas lemon law requires manufacturers replacing a vehicle to provide one that is identical or reasonably equivalent to the vehicle being replaced. The manufacturer must also pay all collateral and incidental damages. The consumer is responsible for paying a reasonable offset for use of the replaced vehicle.

How does the lemon law work in Pennsylvania? ›

The law allows the manufacturer three repair attempts for the same problem. If the repairs are unsuccessful and the problem substantially impairs the value, use or safety of the vehicle, you may demand a refund or replacement vehicle.

Is there a 3 day right to cancel a car purchase in Ohio? ›

Note: Except as provided under statutes described above, consumers do not have a general three-day right to cancel a contract or purchase. For example, consumers do not have the right to cancel the purchase of a motor vehicle.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Melvina Ondricka

Last Updated:

Views: 5681

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (68 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Melvina Ondricka

Birthday: 2000-12-23

Address: Suite 382 139 Shaniqua Locks, Paulaborough, UT 90498

Phone: +636383657021

Job: Dynamic Government Specialist

Hobby: Kite flying, Watching movies, Knitting, Model building, Reading, Wood carving, Paintball

Introduction: My name is Melvina Ondricka, I am a helpful, fancy, friendly, innocent, outstanding, courageous, thoughtful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.