FAQ - mississippi

Frequently Asked Questions About The Lemon Law

Man with mustache leaning on yellow car with speech bubbles near him.

Are used cars protected under the Lemon Law?

YES. While the lemon laws from state to state may differ, at the very least the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, also known as the federal Lemon Law, will provide protection to the purchasers of used cars so long as the vehicle was sold with some type of warranty or service contract, i.e., was not sold as-is.

The federal Lemon Law, which Congress enacted in 1975, requires that car dealers or car manufactures comply with the terms of any warranties or service contracts that accompany the used car. Should the car dealer or manufacturer fail to honor these warranties or service contracts by failing to repair vehicle defects after being afforded a reasonable opportunity to do so, then the used car owner may bring a claim for money damages against the car dealer or manufacturer. Importantly, the used car owner may also recover attorneys’ fees and costs in pursuing a claim against the car dealer or manufacturer.

Therefore, be sure to hire a law firm experienced in handling claims under the federal Lemon Law who will not charge you for their time representing you, but rather will rely on the “fee-shifting” provisions of the federal Lemon Law to be paid.

Do Lemon Laws apply to private party sales?

YES. Even in private party sales, the Lemon Law may still provide protection provided the car was accompanied by the balance of a car manufacturer’s warranty. Most vehicles sold “new” today are accompanied by a written warranty from the car manufacturer of a long duration. These warranties are almost always transferrable to the next car purchaser, which would include private party sales. As such, if you purchased a vehicle from a private party and that vehicle is still covered by the manufacturer’s new car warranty then you have rights.

Just like a new car, you have the right to have your vehicle repaired at any of the car manufacturer’s dealers of your choosing in the nation. Should the dealer fail to repair the vehicle after being afforded a reasonable opportunity to do so, the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act would provide you with a remedy to bring a claim for “breach of warranty” damages and payment of attorneys’ fees and costs. Additionally and under certain circumstances, state lemons may also provide you with additional protection and the ability to seek a refund or replacement vehicle. Since these laws vary from state to state, contact an attorney experienced with handling breach of warranty and lemon law claims to best protect your rights.

What does the Lemon Law protect?

Although the laws from state to state are different, typically state lemon laws provide protection to the purchasers and lessees of cars, trucks, SUV’s, and in some cases motorcycles, motorhomes, boats, and other motor vehicles to seek a refund or replacement vehicle. Most state lemon laws also provide that the vehicles at issue must be primarily used for personal or household use. Importantly, the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, also known as the federal Lemon Law, provides much broader protection to the purchasers and lessees of consumer products than most state lemon laws. Unlike the lemon laws of most states that generally only apply to motor vehicles, the federal Lemon Law applies to all consumer products that are accompanied by a warranty or service contract. Further, the federal Lemon Law does not look to how the product is actually used to determine if there is coverage. Rather, even consumer products that are being used for business or commercial use may still be covered under the federal Lemon Law so long as the product was ordinarily intended by its manufacturer to be used primarily for personal or household use. In other words, if you purchased a four door sedan to drive people around for your business, the federal Lemon Law would still apply since four door sedans are normally intended for personal or household use. Regardless, contact an experienced lemon law attorney who will be able to best protect your rights and advise you as to what extent state and federal lemon laws provide protection.

What is the process for a lemon law case and how long does it take?

The process of pursuing a lemon law case is easy so long as you have the right attorneys guiding you along the way. Since 1995, Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® has assisted over 45,000 consumers nationwide to pursue their state and/or federal lemon law claims. We will use our experience to guide you every step of the way. From the moment you contact our firm, we will explain what we need to assess your case. In particular, we will request that you send to us a copy of your repair records and purchase/lease document so our attorneys may review the same. We will then call you within one (1) business day for a FREE CASE REVIEW of your claims. During this phone call, we will not only explain to you the legal basis for your case and what type of settlement we believe we can obtain for you, we will also answer any questions you might have about the process. While we are happy to meet with our clients in our offices, we will not require you to travel to see us in person. Once we begin your case, we will use our best efforts to resolve your case without litigation. We will send notice on your behalf to the automobile manufacturer of your claims and advise them of our desire to amicably resolve your case. In some instances, we will also apply to the manufacturer’s informal dispute resolution program to try and resolve your case without having to file a lawsuit. If a lawsuit does become necessary, we will quickly take such action to ensure that you get the fastest possible path towards a resolution. Further and in almost every situation, if a lawsuit does need to be filed, we will file the lawsuit in a county that is close to your residence. In other words, we will come to you. Additionally, over 97 percent of the cases that we have handled have been resolved without the need for a trial. Of these cases, a significant percentage of them have been resolved during the notice period that we provide to the automobile manufacturer before filing suit.

Is There A Time Limit To Pursue A Lemon Law Claim?

Yes, whether your vehicle qualifies for relief under state or federal lemon laws there is a time limit to pursue a claim. Therefore, it is important that you contact an experienced lemon law attorney who may assess your case and advise you how long you have to take action. While generally speaking most state lemon laws provide 1 to 4 years to advance a lemon law claim, every state is different and it is important that you retain an attorney who may best protect your rights. Further, it is important that you retain an attorney who is knowledgeable about handling claims under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act or the federal Lemon Law as it is better known. The federal lemon law typically provides a longer time frame to pursue a lemon law claim and is generally 4 years from the date that the manufacturer “breached” or failed to honor its promise to repair your vehicle. Contact the attorneys at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® for a Free Case Review. If you qualify for relief, they will get the process started for you to ensure that you timely initiate your lemon law case.

What Are Lemon Laws?

Before lemon laws were put into place, consumers weren’t protected if a new or used car dealer sold them a car that didn’t operate as it should. These individuals were left to struggle to pay for the repairs or trade their vehicle in for a different one. Today, these lemon laws are designed to protect these consumers. If a vehicle qualifies as a lemon based on state or federal laws, the consumer is eligible for compensation from the manufacturer. These lemon laws dictate the number of attempts that must be completed to repair the vehicle, as well as the timeframe in which those repairs must take place. Contact our attorneys today to find out if your car qualifies.

How Does the Lemon Law Work?

When it comes to the lemon law, it is important to understand how it works before you get started on your case. Each state has its own lemon law in place to protect consumers. These laws state that a consumer has a right to compensation from a vehicle manufacturer if the manufacturer fails to repair its vehicle “within a reasonable number of attempts.” The laws are state specific but generally will require that a vehicle be presented for repair three (3) or four (4) times for the same problem within the first twelve (12) to eighteen (18) months of ownership or that the vehicle is out of service due to repairs at least thirty (30) calendar or business days. If your vehicle qualifies, you should hire one of our lemon law attorneys to help you proceed with your case.

Can I get my money back after buying a defective automobile?

Yes, in many instances you can, or you may qualify for other forms of relief, such as money damages or a replacement vehicle. We have heard many stories of auto dealers and manufacturers misleading people into believing that Lemon Laws apply exclusively to new and late-model vehicles. This simply is not accurate. In fact, many state laws provide ample protection when purchasing a used vehicle. Even more significant, if you purchased a used vehicle with a warranty, it is also protected by Federal lemon laws. Contact the attorneys at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® to find out what form of relief that you qualify for under the law.

My car has problems. Can I get the dealer to replace it without hiring an attorney?

You would think so, but sadly the answer to this question in far too many cases, is no. Attempting to resolve a lemon law dispute over the phone or even in-person on your own, can be next to impossible. Mere mention of words like vehicle replacement, refund, lawsuit, attorney and Lemon Law, usually ends up with you making countless calls back and forth, and leaving just as many unanswered messages. Remarkably, one of the most common strategies for those being accused of selling a bad vehicle, is to give the buyer the impression that they’re actually looking into it, with no intentions of ever doing so. Ultimately the goal is to wear you out mentally and emotionally, in the hopes that you scrap or sell the vehicle as-is. One of the reasons to work with a qualified Lemon Law attorney, is that in many cases, agreements are often signed in haste without reading the fine print of the refund agreement. Often times, what is said in a meeting and what is actually contained on paper are two completely different things. At Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® we make sure that you actually receive what has been promised as a result of your settlement. And since we seek our attorneys’ fees from the manufacturer, it only makes sense to let us represent you.

What if my vehicle repair record shows no problems?

When you purchase a vehicle from a dealer, there’s a trail of paperwork and documentation that you never see and, in many cases, have no idea it even exists. This includes everything from customer copies and warranty payment documents, to dealership bookkeeping and hard copies. The hard copy, for example, contains the original notes made by the mechanic who inspected and/or signed off on your vehicle. In some instances, you will find the phrase Could Not Duplicate Customer Concern stamped on the customer copy, while the hard copy often contains notes made by the mechanic, which clearly states the opposite. Not only does this leave your vehicle in need of repairs, it also sends you back out on the road with a potentially dangerous vehicle. By carefully sourcing and investigating all existing paperwork, our attorneys can detect whether or not any vehicle problems were noted upon acceptance.

Will I need to pay a legal retainer for my Lemon Law case?

No. From a personal perspective, we at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® feel that no consumer should ever be expected to pay a retainer fee when attempting to resolve a dispute under the Lemon Law. Some law firms charge retainer fees, because they don’t have great confidence in your case or in their ability to prevail on your behalf. As we near our twenty (20) year anniversary at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center®, it goes without saying that we are vastly experienced and highly successful when it comes to fighting for consumer rights under the Lemon Law. We will never ask a consumer to pay a retainer fee!

What rights do I have against automobile manufacturers and dealers who knowingly sell bad vehicles?

Most consumers are surprised to learn that the Lemon Law is a real thing, and not just a myth born from an old cliché. The simple fact is that the minute your vehicle purchase is complete, you are protected by a wide spectrum of rights; each one designed specifically to prevent the deliberate sale of faulty vehicles. The specific definition of these rights varies on a state-by-state basis and is broad in the scope of the protection they provide. Additionally, federal Breach of Warranty laws provide further protection for you if you don’t qualify for Lemon law protection. At Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® our attorneys will work closely with you to determine which specific rights apply to your case and will advise you of such.

What will my responsibilities be during the investigation and legal process?

The process of filing a claim under the Lemon Law is surprisingly easy, though most people assume that it will be complicated. Here is a list of what you will need to provide during the investigation process:

  • The vehicle’s repair history or service log
  • All sales documentation
  • Any warranty or extended coverage paperwork issued
  • Statement about the poor performance of your vehicle

How do I find out if my situation qualifies for a Lemon Law case?

As one of the country’s largest and most experienced Lemon Law firms, Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® makes it easy to determine whether or not you have a case against an automobile dealer or manufacturer. Simply fill out our FREE Case Evaluator form to begin the process. One of our qualified lemon law attorneys will review your information free of charge and immediately let you know the next step in getting started.

What happens after I contact the attorneys at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center®?

We will first evaluate at no charge to you whether you have a case and what we can do for you. To start the process, we will ask you to provide us with your repair history, i.e. either the actual repair receipts you received or some summary from the dealer. After we review your repair history we will call you and advise you about what laws you qualify for and what relief we believe we can obtain for you. We will also go over with you in detail how we will use federal and/or state laws to seek our attorneys’ fees incurred from the automobile manufacturer or dealer. From there, the pace of your case will depend on a number of variables. We will begin the process of investigating and contacting the appropriate parties, while tending to the filing of any necessary paperwork or court documentation. Keep in mind that each state’s Lemon Law varies and our attorneys will tailor your claim to the specific location and details of your case.

What Is Considered a Lemon?

For a vehicle to be considered a lemon, it must meet certain requirements. While each state is different, there are some general things that hold true across the board. First of all, the vehicle needs to have some type of defect or non-conformity. Under most state laws, the defect must have taken place within a specific period of time or a certain number of miles after the vehicle was purchased or leased. Additionally, most state lemon laws require that the defect or non-conformity could not be fixed after several repair attempts. While state lemon laws for cars usually only apply to new, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, also known as the federal Lemon Law, applies to all cars covered by a warranty, whether the car is new or used. It is important that you speak to an experienced lemon law attorney who may assess your rights.

What are types of defects that are covered by lemon laws?

Most state lemon laws require that for the car owner or lessee to recover, they must prove that the defect or non-conformity substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle. Every situation is unique and a defect that you might not ordinarily think is substantial, very well might be depending on how it affects you. For instance, even something that is seemingly as minor as the illumination of a light on your dash board might signify a larger problem. Or, something like a brake squeak might be substantial if it affects your use and enjoyment of the vehicle every time you get behind the wheel. It is for this reason that you should speak to an experienced lemon law attorney who may assess your rights and tell you their opinion on what you may recover. Keep in mind, that the federal Lemon Law has no requirement that the defects in the vehicle be substantial. Rather, the federal Act looks to the obligations of the manufacturer to repair your vehicle as detailed in your warranty. Notably, the typical car manufacturer’s warranty promises to repair all defects in materials and workmanship in the vehicle. It does not restrictcoverage to only “substantial” defects. Therefore, even minor defects are covered under the federal Act if the manufacturer,by and through its dealers, was unable to repair the vehicle after being afforded a reasonable opportunity to do so.

What is a reasonable number of repair attempts to repair my car?

Before being able to reap the benefits of the lemon law, you must allow the manufacturer or dealer to make a reasonable number of attempts or you must provide them with a reasonable time to fix the issues before your vehicle may be considered a lemon. Although every state law varies, most states require that the consumer provide the manufacturer or its dealers with at least3 times or 30 days to fix a vehicle defect or non-conformity. In some states, as little as 1 repair attempt may be sufficient to deem a car a lemon if the defect is something that affects the safety of the vehicle.

How We Can Help Your Lemon Law Situation?

It is estimated that more than 150,000 cars annually, or about one percent of all new cars, are considered lemons. Although state and federal lemon laws vary, a lemon is generally considered any vehicle that has repeated defects or non-conformities that cannot be repaired after a reasonable time or a reasonable number of attempts. If you want to take advantage of state and federal lemon laws for car purchases, it’s important to understand what qualifies as a lemon and what steps you need to take to put yourself in the best position to receive maximum possible relief under the law. The attorneys at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® have worked in this area of law since 1995 and can help you assess your claims and counsel you on the best course of action for moving forward. Should you qualify for relief, we will do our best to ensure that you settle your claims for what the law entitles, which may be a refund for your car, a replacement vehicle, or monetary compensation in other instances. We will also not charge you a fee unless you win or settle your case.

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