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Lemon Laws Catch On Nationwide
Until a few years ago your only recourse if you bought a lemon car or pickup was to sue the manufacturer in court. Thanks to new lemon laws, which have been passed in 39 states, lawyers are no longer necessary in many cases. The only states which haven't passed lemon laws are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and South Dakota.
Most laws state that if during the first year or 12,000 miles your vehicle develops a serious defect, which the dealer cannot fix in four attempts (or if it has been out of service for 30 days), you can get the vehicle replaced. Some states allow 18,000 miles and two years and others say the problem should be fixed after 3 trips to the dealer. The problem parts must be covered under warranty and be such that the value and safety of the vehicle is threatened.
Once you've decided to file under the lemon laws, you submit your complaint to either the arbitration program specified by the manufacturer of your vehicle or in some states to a state sponsored arbitration board. In any case, if you are not happy with the ruling in your case, you can still sue in court. According to experts, manufacturers often refund only the purchase price, not including sales taxes, and can deduct for mileage you drove after the problem first surfaced. If you decide to arbitrate, you should always keep good records or your problems.
The Center For Auto Safety will send out a free information sheet that summarizes all state lemon laws. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope and request the lemon law chart. The center also sells a 236-page manual that details everything you need to know about handling lemon laws. The book costs $10.65, including first class postage.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOV Followup, Center For Auto Safety, 2001 "S" Street N.W., Suite 410, Washington, D.C. 20009 (ph 20; 328-7700).


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1986 - Volume #10, Issue #2