Many consumers need to be aware of the laws protecting them when purchasing a new vehicle. This is due to misinformation and misconceptions about lemon laws that law firms, courts, and auto dealerships have passed down. Having a defective vehicle should not be taken lightly, and you should always seek the help of an experienced lemon law attorney to ensure you get justice for your losses.
The Three-Day Grace Period Is a Myth
One of the more common misconceptions about Lemon Laws is that you have a three-day window to return your new car if you decide it’s not for you. This is a misnomer because the three-day mark does not occur until the car leaves the dealership. Also, it is unlikely that a manufacturer would give you a full refund after the three-day window has passed, as the cost of the sale would be lost in the process. While it is true that a three-day grace period is possible, it is likely to be a rare occurrence. It is also likely that the manufacturer’s three-day return policy is more likely to be a gimmick. The most important point is that it’s not a good idea to take chances on a new car purchase. It’s best to research, read up on the lemon laws in your state and then shop around for a vehicle that will serve you well for years to come. There are many excellent used cars available on the market, so you should never feel pressured to buy a car you are not confident in.
Leased Vehicles Are Not Covered
Every state has lemon laws, which can provide consumers with a legal remedy for new and used cars that turn out to be defective. These laws such as under Texas lemon law cover new and leased vehicles, but the specifics vary by state. A perk of leasing a car is getting a new vehicle every few years without worrying about putting a big chunk of money down on the purchase or committing to long-term payments. However, it can come with its share of drawbacks. In particular, some leases have weekly or bi-weekly payment schedules that can be difficult to keep up with. Additionally, they usually don’t include coverage for maintenance or repairs, making them more susceptible to problems than purchased cars. Despite these issues, many people choose to lease a car because of its convenience. These perks include having the latest technology in your vehicle and being able to drive a new car every few years.
Pre-Owned Vehicles Are Not Covered
Despite their name, lemon laws are not a solution to all vehicle problems. They are intended to protect consumers by requiring a car’s manufacturer to replace or refund their money if the vehicle is unrepairable or has been out of service for a long period due to defects.
In New York, a car qualifies as a “lemon” if a warranty covers it and a defect substantially impairs its use or value. It also must have been purchased, leased or transferred in New York and presently registered.
The law covers cars with a manufacturer’s warranty that is in place at the time of delivery. Moreover, it applies to vehicles sold with a manufacturer’s extended service contract.
Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicles are also considered eligible for protection under some states’ lemon laws. They are often reconditioned and undergo a thorough inspection by an automaker to ensure they meet quality standards. They may also have warranty coverage and other perks. However, a certified pre-owned vehicle is usually more expensive than a non-certified used car with the same make and model in similar condition and comparable features. The difference can be even larger if the vehicle is sold with an extended service contract or an extra-long warranty.
Arbitration Is Better Than Court
Arbitration, a process in which a neutral third party listens to both sides of the dispute and makes a decision, is far better than going to court. In arbitration, both parties present evidence to the arbitrator and then have a hearing to discuss it. The arbitrator then rules the dispute and decides whether to award a refund or compensation. Consumers often sign contracts with financial institutions, insurance companies and auto manufacturers, putting themselves in a position where they agree to settle disputes via arbitration. This puts them outside of the public lemon law and class-action systems.
However, some automakers are trying to take away this recourse for consumers. They challenge lemon laws and consumer protections by asking car buyers to agree to a binding arbitration system.
Unlike state-monitored lemon law procedures, this arbitration process is completely private. It requires consumers to play by the rules set by the automaker and a company approved by the manufacturer. This is a major concern for consumer watchdogs, who say that it will leave car owners stuck with defective vehicles that they can’t get fixed.