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Used Car Tips to Follow

• Keep a record of every repair visit, starting with the first one.

• Make sure that you get a copy of all warranty repair orders.

• Describe the same problem the same way each time you bring the vehicle in to be repaired.

•Check your repair invoice to be certain that date in, date out, and odometer reading are accurate.

• Remember that the total number of days out of service is important to your claim.


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Used Car History - Lemon FAQs

What is the Lemon Law?

The so-called "Lemon Law" is a state law which is defines when a manufacturer has breached its written warranty and what the victim is entitled to for such a breach of warranty. Protect yourself from Lemons by getting your Used Car History.


What is a "Lemon?" 

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a lemon as: "One that is or proves to be unsatisfactory…" (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 2nd College Ed., © 1985). However, in an effort to further define such a broad term, the Lemon Law attempts to define certain situations which entitle consumers to their money back or a new vehicle. In a nutshell, any defect or nonconformity, or combination of defects, which is/are not repaired within a reasonable number of attempts or a reasonable amount of time, may entitle you to lemon law relief. Your vehicle does NOT have to be breaking down to be considered a lemon. In short, if you are aggravated enough to be reading this you may have a lemon. A Used Car History report can help protect you from Lemons. Get your Used Car History today!

What types of products are covered by the Lemon Law? 

Almost any motor vehicle is covered by the Lemon Law. This means that Cars, Trucks, Motorcycles, ATVs, Vans, RVs, and many other types of motor vehicles are all covered various Lemon Laws. Protect yourself from Lemons by getting your Used Car History.


Are leased vehicles covered? 

In a word, Yes! A Used Car History report can help protect you from Lemons. Get your Used Car History today!



I Have Heard that I Only Have One Year to Bring a Case under the Lemon Law, is that True? 

NO! There is a misconception that you must bring your case within the first year because the Lemon Law has what are called "presumptions," which go into effect during the first year of ownership. The Lemon law states that, under certain circumstances, if a defect is not cured within a reasonable number of repair attempts, your vehicle is a "lemon." However, the question then is - what is a reasonable number of repair attempts? The law then lists four examples of when it may be "presumed" that a reasonable number of attempts were made. Thus the word "Presumptions." The most common is that a defect has been subject to three unsuccessful repair attempts within the FIRST YEAR or Twelve thousand miles on the vehicle, whichever comes first, on in New Jersey 2 years or 18,000 miles. This is where the misconception comes from. However, this does NOT mean you have to bring your lawsuit within that time frame.


What if I do not Meet any of the "Presumptions?" 

You may still be entitled to Lemon Law relief. Nowhere does the law state that those are Requirements or Qualifications for relief. For example, if your vehicle was only subject to one repair attempt for the engine during the first year and during the next year your vehicle was in the repair shop another ten times for the same engine problem, would anyone doubt that your vehicle was a Lemon! (Also See "I Have Heard that I Only Have One Year to Bring a Case under the Lemon Law, is that True" for an explanation of "Presumptions.")


When Does my Vehicle Qualify? 

There is really no such thing as "Qualifying." This is a common misconception. First, the standards that are used by the lemon law to define nonconformities and reasonable number of repair attempts can be interpreted differently by different people. Ultimately, those people may be a jury deciding you case. Second, there are other laws which can be used to help you receive compensation in the event that you do not have a case for technical reasons under the Lemon Law.


What if I Start having Problems After the First Year? 

You may still be entitled to compensation. There are other laws which govern warranties which may be used to assist you, including Federal law.


Should I Take it in Again? 

The answer to that question depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. Therefore, at this point, the best thing to do is maintain the status quo until you have the chance to speak with a qualified attorney. In other words, do not allow the condition of the vehicle to change by having any repair work done to it. However, if your vehicle is dangerous and you continue to use it, you do so at your own risk. It is important to remember that if you decide to go forward many of the manufacturers will want to inspect your vehicle. You have a much better chance of obtaining the relief you seek if you can demonstrate a defect. If you cannot, you may still be entitled to compensation, but the chances of you getting what you want may be reduced somewhat.


What if they Refuse to Repair? 

If the dealer refuses to repair your vehicle, you may also have a claim. The manufacturer has given a warranty, which in most circumstances, requires the dealer to do repair work. If the dealer and/or the manufacturer then refuse to do the repair work, you may have a claim under the Lemon Law, Federal Warranty Law and/or other laws.


What is a Breach of Warranty Case? 

Basically, it is the same as a Lemon Law case, however, with two notable differences. First, the standards or requirements for breach of warranty are not as clearly defined. Second, the remedies for breach of warranty are also not as clearly defined. Therefore, you should consult a qualified attorney to discuss whether you may have a breach of warranty case.


What Documents do I Need to Prove a Lemon Law or a Breach of Warranty Case? 

The most important documents that you should have are the repair orders that you are given after your vehicle has been in for repair. Each time you take your vehicle in for repair you should make sure that all the information contained on these documents is correct. For example, you should be sure that all the complaints are written up EXACTLY as you have stated them; that ALL of your complaints on that visit are included; that the "dates in" and the "dates out" are correct; that the mileage is correct; etc. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, dealers are required under the Lemon Law to give you a copy of all of your repair orders. If you cannot get them yourself, a qualified attorney may be able to issue a subpoena to the dealership to obtain all the documents on your vehicle. Also, if you keep a calendar of appointments which shows when you took the vehicle in to the dealer, this can be helpful in lieu of or in addition to the repair orders.


What Can I Get for a Lemon Law Case? 

The ultimate relief in a Lemon Law Case is your money back or a new car. This is known as a “buy back” or a “repurchase.” When that occurs, the defective vehicle is returned to the manufacturer. This is usually done by returning it locally to one of their authorized dealers. However, that being said, the vast majority of cases are settled for a partial refund of the purchase price, and the owner maintains possession of the car.

How will my Attorney Get Paid? All fees and costs are charged to the manufacturer. The manufacturer will pay our fees and costs. Regardless of the outcome, you are never responsible for paying the fees and costs.


What are my Chances? 

As with most cases, over 98% of these cases settle to the satisfaction of both parties. Remember, the manufacturer would rather pay less now than risk paying a much larger amount to you, your attorney and their attorneys later.


Can I Resolve This Myself? 

You probably should avoid aggravating yourself further and wasting time. First, there is a reason that all 50 states have some form of a Lemon Law. Laws are passed to remedy problems which have become widespread. However, the mere fact that there is a lemon law does not mean that you will be treated differently if you represent yourself. It still costs a manufacturer less to drag it out with an unrepresented consumer and hope you will either go away or take little or nothing, than it would cost them to buy back everyone's vehicle who made a complaint. Second, if you fail, you will have wasted precious time if you then have to hire an attorney. Third, the right law firm does NOT charge YOU an hourly attorney's fee! By being represented by the right law firm you lend legitimacy to your case. If you select a law office that limits their practice to consumer law, the manufacturer will most likely already know your law firm. If your law firm has successfully handled multiple lemon law claims, the manufacturer will know that you have someone on your side who knows what they are doing. Furthermore, if the manufacturer knows that if you do not get what you want, you have the ability and the will to file a lawsuit, you will be treated with more respect. This is because it costs the manufacturer money just to defend a lawsuit (starting from the moment you file the Complaint) as they have to send it to a qualified local law firm to defend it.


Can the Attorney General (or other Governmental Sounding Organizations) Help Me? 

Not very effectively, if at all. The Attorney General's Office is an administrative agency, which is part of our State Government. The government cannot act as your private attorney in a civil matter. The most the Attorney General can do is write a letter to the company you are complaining about and ask for their help in resolving your complaint. They cannot file a lawsuit on your behalf. In our experience, the company will usually respond by saying they are doing everything they are obligated to do. Then, the Attorney General will write you a letter explaining that they have done everything they can and that you may want to seek the assistance of a private attorney. You will save yourself precious time by seeking the assistance of a private attorney right away. You will know when you are dealing with a law firm as the name(s) of one or more of the lawyers must appear in the title of the firm.


What is Arbitration? 

The some states Lemon Law provides that manufacturers may set up arbitration programs. These programs receive consumers' complaints and are supposed to attempt to resolve the legitimate ones prior to a lawsuit being filed with a Court of Law.


Should I go through Arbitration before Hiring an Attorney? 

There is no requirement that you go through arbitration prior to seeking the assistance of a lawyer. First of all, not all of the manufacturers have "state certified" arbitration programs. This means that arbitration is optional for those consumers who have vehicles manufactured by companies who do not. Second, for those who have gone to arbitration prior to seeking an attorney, many have informed us that they were treated with great disrespect and made to feel inferior because they were unfamiliar with the law and the manufacturer knew much more about the process and the mechanics of the vehicle. Whatever the arbitrator(s) decide, the consumer is not bound by the decision and can file a Complaint in a court of law requesting a jury trial. This is usually your best chance for a positive recovery and is usually done by a lawyer. This does not mean that your case will not settle prior to trial however. Most cases do settle prior to trial.


What if I Bought my Vehicle Used? 

First, if you still had any warranty left from the manufacturer when you purchased your vehicle (or your vehicle was "Certified" by the manufacturer or dealer), and you made at least one unsuccessful warranty claim before the warranty ended, you may be entitled to compensation for breach of warranty. If not, your case may raise a whole host of issues which are beyond the scope of this "Frequently Asked Questions" section. However, you may be entitled to compensation for violations of various laws which you may not even be aware of. The following is a list of some of the problems and/or issues which may be present in your vehicle. Your vehicle may be/have a: 1.Laundered lemon (or prior history of mechanical problems known to the seller); 2.Salvaged or wrecked; 3.Rolled back odometer; 4.Rental car, police car, taxi, etc.; 5.Stolen, stripped and rebuilt; and/or 6.Involved in a flood.

What You Should do if You have Purchased a Used Car: One or more of the following procedures may prove to be useful in discovering whether there is something about your vehicle that you were not told:

1. Get a Vehicle History Report

2. See a body shop mechanic to determine if your vehicle was wrecked;

3. Have your Insurance Company run your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on their computer (may be called a C.L.U.E. report) to see if an accident claim was ever made with another insurance company; and/or

4. Go to an authorized dealer and have them check the computer to see if it was wrecked or to let you know what the mileage was every time the vehicle was in for repair.


What if I was Lied To, Misled or Taken Advantage of in Connection with the Purchase of my Vehicle? 

Again, your case may raise a whole host of issues which are beyond the scope of this "Frequently Asked Questions" section. However, there are many state and federal laws to protect you. Some of these laws provide for very strong remedies, such as Three (3) Times your Damages and Attorney's Fees and Costs. For example, if you lost $5,000.00, you may be entitled to recover $15,000.00 ($5,000.00 x 3), in addition to attorney's fees and costs.

 

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