Consumer Guide: Lemon Laws

Consumer Guide
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Market for used cars where four are good cars and one is a lemon, i.e. a bad car found to be defective only after it has been bought. The shoot, recalling Akerlof’s theory, is a metaphor for rip-off.

Is your vehicle a lemon?

Steps you can take to resolve the issue

 

Used Cars

The Definition

Know the definition of a Used Car Lemon:
  • “Vehicle has been in for service 3 times for the same defect within its dealer warranty period, or has been out of service for 15 days within the warranty period.”
  • Source: RI Attorney General’s Office

First Things First

  • First, consumers should work with the dealership to repair a continuing problem.

The Next Step

  • Inquire if the manufacturer has an informal dispute process.

Call in Backup

  • If a dealer fails to honor a warranty, consult an attorney.

Can DMV Help?

 
  • The Department of Motor Vehicles does handle CERTAIN used car complaints, just not used car lemon law complaints.
  • You may think you have a lemon, but they can tell you whether there is something else they can do to help.

Out of Luck?

  • Note that there is no Lemon Law for cars sold between private parties.
 

New Cars

The Definition

Definition of a New Car Lemon:
  • “A vehicle qualifies under this law if, within one year or 15,000 miles, the vehicle has been serviced four times for the same defect and the defect still exists.”
 
 
  • Source: RI Attorney General’s Office

First Things First

  • Go to the dealer first. The dealership should try to repair the issue.

Seek Protection

  • If your car cannot be repaired, you may file a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board c/o Rhode Island Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit.
  • You may also arbitrate the matter through the manufacturer’s dispute process or the BBB.
  • Note that the Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board enforces the Lemon Law for new vehicles only.

What About Leases?

  • Leased vehicles follow the standards that are set for new cars.

Out of Luck?

  • Note that there is no Lemon Law for cars sold between private parties.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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