What is a Lemon?
A lemon is usually a car or other product that continues to function defectively no matter how many times it is repaired. The defect has to impair the product’s use, safety or value. Lemon laws are laws that regulate the conduct of the seller to protect buyers when they buy lemons. The laws allow the buyer to be able to get a refund and possibly other awards if the product they bought is declared a lemon. When most people think of lemons, they think of used cars. Therefore the information provided below applies generally to used cars, although the lemon laws can apply to other goods as well.
Lemon laws generally try to hold the manufacturer to the warranty provided with the sale of goods. A warranty is a manufacturer’s or dealer’s promise to pay for repairs and replacements made to the product, at their cost, during the period of time the warranty covers. There are generally two kinds of warranties: implied and express. An implied warranty is a promise that the product purchased can be used for a specific purpose. An express warranty is a promise in writing that the product will work for a specific purpose.
New York law provides protection for used goods, such as cars. The law also provides protection for buyers of new cars, as well as for other products, such as wheelchairs. In order for the New York used car lemon law to apply, your car had to have been bought or leased:
· after either 18,000 miles or two years from the time the car was originally bought – whichever comes first;
· from a New York based dealer;
· for less than 1,500 miles;
· at less than 100,000 miles; and
· to be used for personal purposes.
If covered by the law, you can receive a refund if your car has been unsuccessfully repaired 3 or more times for the same problem. Additionally, if you can’t use your car for 15 days due to the car being repaired, you can also receive a refund of your purchase price and lease payments. You can find out more about your rights under the New York used car lemon law here.
Warranties Based on Mileage
The New York used car lemon law also provides protection for buyers based on the mileage of the used car purchased. Consult the table below for guidelines on the kind of warranty you should receive depending on the mileage of your car.
|Car Mileage||Length of Warranty (whichever comes first)|
|18,000 to 36,000 miles||90 days or 4,000 miles|
|36,000 to 80,000 miles||60 days or 3,000 miles|
|Over 80,000 miles but less than 100,000 miles||30 days or 1,000 miles|
|Over 100,000 miles||Not covered|
Note that if the used car you are buying has less than 18,000 miles, you may be protected under the New Car lemon law. You should look into this option, as you may have more rights under that law. In New York, the dealer can write in conditions that may make you lose your warranty, as long as he doesn’t cause you to waive any rights under the law.
How Can an Attorney Help?
If you have bought a car, or another product, and suspect that it is a lemon, finding out what you can do to protect your investment can be a challenge. An attorney can help you figure out what specific rights you have given your particular circumstances, and guide you through a lawsuit should you choose to file one.