Avoid buying lemons

Avoid buying lemons

When you finally make the decision to purchase a new

car the last thing you would expect to find is that

the car is defective in one way or the other.

However, this does happen - albeit on a small scale -

and there are laws in place - both federal and state,

to force the manufacturer to replace, repair or


But what do you look out for when you are buying a

used car? Sometimes the fault is very obvious.

Maybe you can see a kind of ripple effect down the

side of the car when viewed from either end. This

could mean that the car had collided with something

forcing the metal body to warp in ripple like


Or perhaps the car is a different color on one side or

at the back or front. Careful here, this could denote

a ‘cut and shut’ type vehicle which is highly


The car is literally two vehicles welded together.

Maybe the car (or part of it) was stolen and has been

passed off as being legitimate.

Most times faults are not obvious and great care

should be taken to check out the history of the


Remember the old adage - buy in haste repent at

leisure? - well in this kind of case your grandma was


Never buy in a hurry and get some kind of organization

to check out the vehicle for you. It may cost a little

more in the long run but you will be assured of a

reasonably safe vehicle and avoid litigation.

Lemon law introduction

Lemon law introduction

Lemon laws were introduced primarily to protect the

consumer from unscrupulous dealers who would sell off

any old rubbish and claim that the item was fit for


Unfortunately, many cars sold today have been

repaired or restructured and have a somewhat dubious


For example, did you know that there are dealers out

there that will take two similar cars which have been

damaged - one front end and one back end - and

literally weld the two halves together to make one


In the trade this is called a ‘cut and shut’ and

is highly dangerous. The car can virtually fall apart

when involved in even the slightest impact.

The lemon law also forces manufacturers to buy back

any cars deemed to be in the lemon category. Although

there is a common law to all states, most have

different interpretations of this law. Check it out

before you part with your hard earned cash.

Also be aware that any used car has a history. Finding

this history is not always easy especially if the car

has been shipped out of state or out of the country.

Make sure the engine and chassis number match up with

the paper work and try your best to check if the

vehicle was ever involved in an accident.

Remember, these laws were introduced to protect you,

the consumer. If you can arm yourself with a little of

this knowledge, you will be protecting yourself from

untold misery. After all, life is too short to spend

it in the hospital or courtroom!

Sour deals with lemons

Sour deals with lemons

By now most people will understand the term ‘lemon’

when it is applied to cars. That is, a car - new or

used - which has defects that were undetectable on

purchase but shows themselves up within a given time

or warranty period.

Some unscrupulous sellers will hide the true state of

the vehicle hoping that the innocent buyer will simply

accept the faults and struggle to get them fixed.

However, some states have laws protecting the victim

from such shoddy acts.

In all cases, if you are not machine minded, it is

better to take someone along who knows about engines

etc., to give the vehicle the once over. Don’t be in a

hurry to buy and take your time asking pertinent

questions about the vehicle.

If the car looks like it has been around for a while

and yet the miles clocked up seem low chances are that

this car has been tampered with. Similarly, uneven

wear on tires from right to left or front to back may

also be revealing something unsavory.

Once the vehicle has been purchased it is good to get

into the habit of noting all defects as and when they

occur. Take care to note all ‘down time’ suffered and

keep receipts of necessary vehicle hire to replace

this vehicle.

Check with your state laws to see if the lemon law has

been legislated in your area. Each state differs on

what is and what is not considered a lemon. If the

lemon law does not apply in your state perhaps it is

time to lobby your congressman!

Is it a lemon

Is it a lemon?

Have you ever bought something and no matter what you

try, something is always breaking down or falling off?

If this is true, you just might have purchased a

‘lemon’. When it comes to purchasing cars care should

be taken because lemons exist in this area too.

But what constitutes a lemon? Simple defects don’t

always add up this description. For example, if paint

peeling occurs, or a lock needs a good jiggle to get

it to work then all you have is minor faults.

Perhaps the best way to describe a lemon is to say

that if the car has faults that endanger the occupants

or others then for sure it can be classed as a lemon.

Imagine a door flying open whilst the car is in motion

or gasoline dripping from below the fuel tank. Either

of these would qualify the vehicle for this dubious


If any faults appear on your vehicle within the

warranty period - or within a reasonable time from

purchase if it is a used vehicle - you must give the

manufacturer or previous owner an opportunity to

correct the fault.

Should the same fault keep appearing time after time

then of course this will also qualify it for the lemon

award and you will have grounds to pursue legal action

for compensation.

Help is at hand in most states of America.

Unfortunately, there is no standardized test that can

be applied since most states have different rules

connected to this phenomenon.

Reporting lemons

Reporting lemons

Here you are, all excited about getting your new car,

and then disaster strikes. It keeps breaking down, or

you are finding the brakes are not as efficient as

they should be, giving you that feeling of dread every

time you get in it.

What to do next? Well, naturally, you take it back to

the seller and show him the faults. Give him time to

remedy the faults but make sure that certain criteria

are followed.

If the same fault keeps re-occurring make sure that

your repair order form states exactly the same fault.

Under certain lemon laws you must prove that the fault

keeps occurring. Simply stating that brakes are faulty

may not be enough to prove a re-occurring problem.

Ask for a receipt even if there was no charge for the

repair. Many sellers will not want to do this but this

is your proof positive that your car was off the road

and out of your possession.

Take notes of mileage etc., so that you can prove you

are not using the car. This also stops the seller

using your vehicle for his own purposes - crazy but it

has been known to happen!

Many of us blindly trust that a new car will be

perfect. Unfortunately this is not always true. Make

sure to check out your state’s lemon law before you

buy if possible. This will give you great pointers

about what to look for when buying a new or used car

and the remedy, should it be necessary, to obtain


Look out for lemons

Look out for lemons

The ‘lemon law’, or Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act - a

federal law, protects the consumer from unscrupulous

dealers in defective goods. There are also state laws

which do the same job but which differ from state to


Most people will want to purchase a car. Whether is a

used vehicle or new depends, naturally, on your budget

but buying a used car does not mean that you do not

have protection.

Some state laws will cover you for legal expenses but

perhaps it is better to look at ways to avoid the

situation altogether.

The easiest way to avoid the situation is to get the

car thoroughly checked out before you buy. Take the

time to find a good mechanic - Uncle Bob may not be

the best choice! - to examine the vehicle carefully

for small or large defects.

Get him to check out the history of the vehicle and

look at readings to make sure they are really

accurate. Perhaps the car was owned by the police or a

taxi company beforehand which would void the lemon law

protection. Your mechanic will know the pertinent

questions to ask so let him take his time.

Never, never buy a vehicle on an ‘as is’ basis

(sometimes called ‘as seen’ basis) because this means

you accept all or any faults on the vehicle no matter

what the cause. You will have no redress in any court

if this is the case and you will have to repair the

vehicle at your own expense no matter what happens to


Lemon law details

Lemon law details

When it comes to buying anything in the United States

there is a consumer law that protects us from

purchasing defective goods - the lemon law is a great

example of this.

This applies even to vehicles and motorcycles.

However, there are different rules in different states

and it may be a good idea to check these out before

you make that all important purchase.

In all states a lemon would be classified as such if

it has been repaired up to four times for the same

fault, or up to eight times for the entire object, in

the warranty period.

This could also be deemed to include the ‘add-on’

warranty period sometimes sold with the vehicle.

Some states decree that three repairs in one calendar

month with the vehicle being out of service deems it

to be a lemon while in others it is thirty working

days. This may appear to be a slight variation but it

could make all the difference to a claim.

Some states have a ‘one defect’ clause if it is deemed

to be life threatening. This means that it is only

allowed to be repaired once and should the fault

reoccur then it is labeled as a lemon and you can

proceed to the compensation claim.

Others state a time line of one or two year for this

fault to appear or up to a certain mileage.

Unfortunately, all the states have interpreted the

lemon laws in their own style. Check out your state’s

laws before you buy.

Lemon laws differ

Lemon laws differ

The unfortunate thing about the ‘lemon law’ is that

not only is it not applicable to all fifty states, but

it is often interpreted differently in each one.

For example, in some states used cars are not

included. In others motor homes and motor bikes have

differing criteria.

The motor part of the mobile home may be covered

whereas the living area would not be.

Similarly, some leased vehicles would be covered in

some states but vehicles used for business would not


Briefly, these laws can be confusing. It truly is a

case of not knowing how or if you are covered unless

you look up the specific laws for your own state.

But it is not only the lemon laws that protect you. If

you have a written warranty you could be covered by

several other laws to enable you to get compensation

or the car repaired not at your cost.

In all, about 25,000 cars are bought back by

manufacturers each year in the United States.

Considering how many cars are sold annually this is

not such a great number.

But if you are unlucky enough to be one of the 25,000

then you will obviously want to do something about it.

Keep detailed diaries on you vehicle from the time you

purchase it. Receipts and fault reports, along with

details of where and when the vehicle was unusable,

will go a long way to proving your case. However, if

you take care at the beginning these actions should be


Buyer beware

Buyer beware

There are many traps and pitfalls waiting for the

innocent consumer.

Buying in good faith, unfortunately, has become a

thing of the past and every care should be taken when

buying the second most expensive item on the shopping

list - that is, the motor car.

The United States brought in the ‘lemon law’ to

protect the consumer against unscrupulous dealers who

will sell just about anything to an unsuspecting


When it applies to cars and motor vehicles it is

supremely important since these vehicles can in some

instances be death traps.

Unfortunately, this law is interpreted in different

ways in different states.

The lemon law forces manufacturers to buy back

‘lemons’ and replace the vehicle or refund the buyer

by way of compensation.

However, as mentioned earlier, not all sellers are

good guys. Did you know that the lemon you sold back

to them can be back on the market in a relatively

short time devoid of its dubious history?

It merely stores it for a short time and then sells

through a ‘dealers only’ auction and the history does

not follow the car.

The next person to purchase it will be opening a

virtual Pandora’s Box of problems.

It really is a case of ‘buyers beware’ whenever you

make purchases but perhaps in the case of cars then

extra care should be taken.

It may be wise to take along a trusted professional

mechanic to check out the vehicle before you make that

all important decision. A little extra cost at this

stage may save your life in future.

Squeezing compensation out of lemons

Squeezing compensation out of lemons

If you are one of those people who always seem to get

caught out when buying a new or used vehicle then it

is a good idea to protect yourself right from the word


Should you find your vehicle repeatedly throwing up

defects, large or small, it is imperative that you

note times, dates and hours wasted so that should you

press for compensation you have a full history of

events to ‘persuade’ the dealer with.

For example, what happens if you break down on a busy

highway? Note the defect, the time, how long you had

to wait for assistance and lastly the cost and nature

of repair. It is also a good idea to note how all of

this made you feel since you could claim for distress.

Of course small defects may not be enough in some

states to warrant the ‘lemon’ label. In other states

just one defect will be adequate. Unfortunately, state

laws differ widely on what constitutes a lemon but you

should not give up the good fight and accept shoddy


Details of all states and their criteria for classing

cars as lemons are available on the internet and it is

easy to look up any particular state.

Some companies have a ‘buy back’ scheme for cars

classified as lemons so you should pay particular

attention to their requirements.

If all else fails then of course, once you have enough

evidence, you can follow the litigation route to try

for compensation. This can be both expensive and time