Have You Bought a Used Car that’s a Lemon?

Buying a used car can be a great way to save money while still getting a reliable vehicle. However, not every used car purchase turns out as expected. If you bought a used car and it turned out to be a lemon, you may be wondering what options are available to you. 

In this article, we’ll explore the lemon law as it applies to used cars. We answer the question “Can a used car be a lemon?” as well as “Can you lemon law a used car?”. We’ll provide the information you need to protect your rights as a consumer.

What is the Lemon Law?

Lemon laws are consumer protection laws that provide legal remedies for those who have purchased defective vehicles. These laws vary from state to state, however, they generally require automakers or dealers to offer a refund or replacement to lemon owners. This occurs when their vehicle cannot be repaired after multiple attempts, or if it poses a safety risk.

Does the Lemon Law Apply To Used Cars?

Yes, the lemon law can apply to used cars, but the lemon on used cars is different from that of new cars. For example, a used car must still be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. As an alternative, it could be an implied warranty that qualifies for lemon law protection. 


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What is a Lemon Car? 

A used car lemon is one that has substantial defects that substantially impair its use, value, or safety. The defects must have occurred within the warranty period or within a specific time frame after the vehicle’s purchase, depending on the state’s lemon law. 

How Do You Know You Have Bought A Lemon Car? 

You may have a lemon car if any of the following indicators apply to your vehicle:

  • The vehicle has ongoing mechanical problems

You most likely have a lemon on your hands if your vehicle spends more time in the shop than on the road for repairs. It’s important to not mistake persistent mechanical problems for neglect. Any car that isn’t properly maintained will start to fail and won’t qualify for lemon law. Thus, sticking to the recommended maintenance schedule is essential to its longevity and your protection.

  • You Are Uneasy Operating the Vehicle

If you find driving your vehicle to be an unpleasant experience, you might want to take a deeper look at your car. Used lemon laws may apply if there’s a real possibility that the car will leave you stranded. You may have to prove these issues have occurred since the point of sale or soon after.

  • The Dealer Is Unable or Unwilling to Solve the Issue

Your car might be a lemon if you’ve visited the car dealer several times for the same issue. Dealerships don’t typically cover the expenses associated with lemon cars. However, declining to look into your complaint is a serious red flag. For this, you can sue under the second-hand car lemon law. 

  • The Vehicle Has Several Unrelated Problems

Cars are mechanical devices that deteriorate with time, but the majority of car problems have a clear cause. Obtain and review your vehicle service records. This way, you can take a closer look and determine if your car keeps having problems that seem to be unrelated to one another. This is a great way to find out if you were sold a lemon or not. 

Does the Lemon Law Protect Me if A Private Car Lot Sold Me A Lemon? 

No, the lemon law generally does not apply if you purchased a used car from a private seller. Private sales are usually considered “as-is” transactions. This means that the buyer assumes full responsibility for any defects or issues with the car after purchase.

What Should I Do if I Think a Used Car Dealership Sold Me a Lemon? 

If you believe you’ve purchased a used car that qualifies as a lemon, there are several steps you should take. First, document all the issues you’ve noticed with the vehicle. This should include dates, details of repair attempts, and any communication with the seller or dealership. Keep copies of all repair orders, invoices, and any other relevant documents.

Next, contact the dealership and attempt to have the issues resolved. If multiple repair attempts have been made without success, you may be able to pursue legal action under the lemon law.

Should I Hire an Attorney For My Lemon Law Claim?

While it’s not required to hire an attorney for a lemon law claim, having legal representation can greatly improve your chances of success. Lemon law cases can be complex and costly for manufacturers and they’d rather avoid them. They may even try to deny your claim or offer inadequate remedies.

An experienced lemon law attorney can navigate the legal process and gather the necessary evidence. They’ll provide guidance on whether your vehicle qualifies as a lemon and if it’s worth pursuing your case. If it does qualify, they will negotiate on your behalf and ensure that you receive a fair resolution to your claim. There are a few different types of compensation available, and they will explain the options available to you.

What Are My Potential Remedies Under the Lemon Law? 

If a dealership sells you a lemon, you may be entitled to a refund, replacement, or cash settlement. The specific remedy will depend on the state’s lemon law and the circumstances of your case. This is why you should know what states have lemon laws and how they affect you. 

It’s important to note that your vehicle may not qualify as a lemon even in states with used car lemon laws. However, you may still have other legal remedies available to you. These remedies in states with lemon laws for used cars could be a breach of contract or fraud claims, which is why keeping accurate documentation is so important.

What are the Benefits of Used Vehicle Lemon Law Protection?

Lemon law protection for used car owners provides legal recourse for defective vehicles. This is especially important for those who do not have the financial resources to absorb unexpected repair costs. These legal protections incentivize sellers and dealerships to ensure the quality of their vehicles. By providing a proper resolution to owning a lemon it protects consumers and their rights.

Have You Bought a Used Car that’s a Lemon?

Buying a used car can come with risks. That’s why it’s important to know that consumers have legal protections available to them if they purchase a lemon. If you believe you’ve bought a used car that qualifies as a lemon, it’s essential to document everything and contact an experienced attorney. They can instruct you on what to do if a dealership sells you a lemon and take action to protect your rights. 

At Quill & Arrow LLP, we have extensive experience handling California Lemon Law cases and can guide you through the process. Contact our team today to discuss your situation and receive the legal assistance you need.

Media Contact: 

Carlo V. DeFalco


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