Are Used Cars Covered Under The Lemon Law?

July 03, 2009
By: LemonLaw

As you can imagine, distressed drivers submit hundreds of questions each week to Lemon, hoping to find out more information about lemon law, breach of warranty and dealer fraud claims. And without fail, at least ten times a day, we receive this one-line inquiry:  “Are used cars covered under the Lemon Law?”

If we had a nickel for every time we received this question, we would be billionaires many times over.  In the nutshell, the answer is no.  The Lemon Laws we work with apply to new or demo cars purchased or leased by authorized manufacturers dealerships.  Now, does that mean that if you purchase a used car, you are up the creek?  Not necessarily.  If you purchased a used car with an original or extended manufacturers warranty, and you find yourself having to go back to the dealer three or more times for the same repair, you very well may have rights under the Federal Law we are always talking about, known as the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act.  Under this Law, you would be entitled to significant monetary compensation from the manufacturer to reflect the diminished value of your car as a result of the problems you have incurred.  In other words, part of what you pay for is a manufacturers warranty and that is the ensure that problems are fixed efficiently and effectively.  If they are not being fixed, there is a breach of warranty and you are entitled to money back.

In many of these cases, you could be looking at 15-35% of what you paid back in your pocket.  This money is non-taxable, you get to keep your car, and your warranty remains completely in effect.  In fact, if the car is fixed after 3-4 attempts, you still are entitled to remedy under this law. You do not need to disclose that you received this money at the time of trade or sale and your car is NOT branded a lemon on carfax.  This is essentially free money in your pocket to pay you back for the defect you have dealt with.

And the best part of all is like the Lemon Law, the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act has a fee-shifting provision which means that if you prevail the manufacturer must pay all attorney fees and legal costs on top of what you receive.  Thus, there is no cost and no risk to filing a claim.

If you feel you may have a potential breach of warranty claim, feel free to contact us at 1-800 LEMON LAW or drop us a line.  Be as specific as possible regarding your problem so we can provide you with a solution to best fit your needs.

Also, it is important to note that certain states we work with, including New Jersey and Massachusetts, do provide used car lemon law protection.  The used car lemon laws are a bit different than new car claims, and in most circumstances can be handled through your State’s Attorney General.  If we feel you qualify for this type of protection, we will be glad to direct you.

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