How Lemon Law Protects Consumers From Defective Vehicles

Lemon law at the state and federal levels are designed to protect consumers. The laws allow consumers to get replacement vehicles or fair compensation for cars with persistent problems.

To qualify as a lemon, a car must have a reasonable number of repair attempts over a set period. Some states place mileage restrictions on these vehicles.


Lemon laws offer remedies that go beyond the scope of a manufacturer’s warranty. In addition to allowing for a buyback or replacement of a vehicle, manufacturers must give consumers a reasonable amount of time to complete the repairs. This can help level the playing field in the buyer-seller relationship, encouraging sellers to act with integrity and respect for their customers’ rights.

Most lemon law claims are settled out of court, and having an experienced attorney in your corner can be instrumental in getting a favorable resolution. It’s important to keep detailed documentation of all problems and repair attempts, so your attorney can use it when arguing on your behalf. If the dealership and manufacturer resist, your attorney can file a lawsuit to take the case to trial.

Federal and state lemon laws provide a strong deterrent against dishonest business practices and allow consumers to get fair and equitable treatment. Pennsylvania lemon law encourages responsible businesses to develop and implement effective quality control measures to prevent defective products from entering the marketplace by giving consumers legal protection and recourse.

You should contact an attorney immediately if you’ve bought a new car with a lemon. First, report the problem to your dealer and the manufacturer. Be sure to send a registered letter and describe all steps taken to try and resolve the issue.


Lemon laws empower consumers with defective vehicles to seek compensation from the manufacturer. If a vehicle meets the state’s criteria for a buyback, the manufacturer must offer to take back that bad car and give the consumer a refund. This is like returning a broken television to a store and getting your money back.

Often, the manufacturer will also offer a replacement vehicle. This is usually a new vehicle of the same make and model similar to the original. This is because they will lose money if they have to take back and sell a defective car at a loss.

The law requires manufacturers to honor their warranties, and many states have statutory provisions that expand on what is covered in the warranty. For example, some states have statutory provisions that require the manufacturer to compensate a buyer for the cost of the rental car while they are waiting for their defective vehicle to be repaired.

The federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act empowers all Americans to seek justice from a vehicle manufacturer that does not adhere to its written warranty. Moreover, the act allows lemon law attorneys to collect their fees directly from the manufacturer, and thus, consumers do not have to pay for these legal services out of pocket. Furthermore, clients can use the funds from their lemon law settlement to pay off their auto loan and free themselves to seek a new vehicle that does not have the same persistent defects as their old one.


When you purchase a new car, product or service, it is expected to work as advertised and designed. When that doesn’t happen, it can lead to frustration, loss of use, reduced value or even safety risks. The federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and many state lemon laws protect consumers from these problems.

While the specifics of these laws vary by jurisdiction, most states require a manufacturer to reimburse you for a defective vehicle that cannot be fixed within a certain timeframe. This may include the cost of repairs that do not fix the problem, rental fees for using a different vehicle while the defective one is being repaired and more. Some states also include attorney fees in their lemon laws.

To be eligible for reimbursement, you must have taken the vehicle in for repair for a substantial defect or hazard at least four times or for a non-safety defect two or more times in its first 12 or 24 months or 18,000 miles, respectively. You must also prove that the vehicle was out of service for 30 days or more while undergoing these repairs.

You can file a lemon law claim with the attorney general’s office by completing a “Request for Arbitration” form from any of the attorney general’s regional offices. Once the form is received, an arbitrator will be appointed to hear your case.


Many vehicles sold in the United States come with full warranties that consumers can use to get repairs for problems that develop. Often, the contracts will require that car dealers try to fix the issues within a reasonable period and in a reasonable number of repair attempts. When a vehicle fails to be resolved within this time or in a reasonable number of attempts, it can be considered a lemon and qualify the consumer for compensation.

Some warranties contain clauses that force consumers to go through arbitration to resolve their warranty claims. These clauses are designed to prevent consumers from bringing their claims to court and can limit their ability to obtain compensation.

Most state lemon laws protect consumers from forced arbitration and prohibit manufacturers from disclaiming an implied warranty. These laws also make it economically viable for consumers to bring a lemon law claim by awarding legal fees.

Manufacturers may try to persuade you to opt for arbitration instead of going to court, but there are better ideas than taking their bait. Going to court will allow you to maximize your recovery and result in a replacement vehicle, refund, compensatory damages, incidental damages, a civil penalty, and attorney’s fees. In addition, you will have an opportunity to present your case at an oral hearing where you can argue for yourself and the other consumer.

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