How Lemon Laws Work
Bought a lemon lately? No, not the kind that makes your lips pucker and your ice tea tart, but the kind that you drive. A lemon, of course, is a car that's always breaking down and that doesn't perform like the dealer promised you it would. There's a good chance that these problems will be covered by the warranty in that big pack of documents the dealer handed you along with your car keys, but if the dealer or the manufacturer fails to honor that warranty or if you have to keep taking the car back for the same repairs over and over again, then you don't have to throw up your hands in despair and suffer from buyer's remorse. There's a good chance that federal and local laws have you covered and will provide some kind of remedy. Who says politicians never do anything important?
The most basic of lemon laws in the United States is the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, passed by Congress in 1975. The act covers warranties in general, including warranties on new cars. It isn't your only protection against lemons, however. Each state of the union has its own lemon law extending your protection even farther, though how much farther depends on what state you live in. We'll talk about both the federal and state forms of lemon protection in this article. And though we don't have enough space here to talk about every form of lemon protection in the United States, it isn't hard to locate information on your local state lemon law through the Internet.
That way, the next time you have your lemon, er, car towed into the dealer's workshop for more repairs, you'll be armed with more than just your checkbook.