It is perhaps every car buyer’s secret fear: purchasing the dreaded “lemon.” Although there is no doubt that having a “lemon” is a stressful, frustrating experience, there is good news: Iowa residents who purchase or lease lemon vehicles have important rights and protections under the law. Both federal law and the Iowa Lemon Law protect Iowa consumers, and allow them to force reluctant manufacturers to refund their money, replace the car or provide them with cash compensation.
Iowa Lemon Law Info:
Covered Vehicles Under the Iowa Lemon Law
The state of Iowa has laws that protect Iowa consumers who purchase or lease motor vehicles, whether in the state or outside it. Although it covers most consumer vehicles, it does not provide protection for motorcycles, mopeds, or motor homes. In addition, there is a weight requirement that has recently changed. For vehicles purchased or leased before July 1, 2014, any vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 pounds is not covered. For vehicles purchased or leased on or after July 1, 2014, any vehicle that weighs more than 15,000 pounds is not covered.
The good news is that even vehicles that do not fall under the Iowa Lemon Law are protected. The Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act provides protection for all consumer products – including vehicles of all kinds and weights, as well as appliances, electronics, and virtually anything purchased for personal or household use.
What Defects are Covered Under the Iowa Lemon Law?
Unfortunately, not all defects are covered by the Iowa Lemon Law. To qualify for protection under this law, the problems with the car must make it unfit, unreliable, or unsafe, or they must seriously lower the value of the vehicle. In addition, only problems that occur during the “Lemon Law rights period” are protected. The “Lemon Law rights period” is the shortest of the written warranty issued by the manufacturer, two (2) years from the date on which the consumer received the vehicle, or 24,000 miles of use.
Fortunately, the Federal law provides additional protection. The Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act covers all defects or problems that are under warranty, for the entire period of that warranty. Thus, even problems with a vehicle that are significant to the consumer, but not “serious enough” under a state lemon law, may still give rise to legal rights under Federal law.
Number of Repair Attempts
Before a car buyer can take action under the Iowa Lemon Law, the manufacturer must be given the chance to make a reasonable number of repair attempts. A reasonable number of repair attempts in the State of Iowa is typically defined as three (3) or more failed attempts to fix the same problem, one (1) failed attempt to fix a problem which is likely to kill or seriously injure the owner or others, or repair attempts which together add up to more than twenty (20) days of repairs (not necessarily consecutive days).
Once a manufacturer has been given a reasonable opportunity to fix the problem, the buyer must provide it with notice of the continuing problems using registered, certified, or overnight mail. The manufacturer then has one final, brief opportunity to fix the problems before you can turn to an experienced Lemon Law attorney for help.
Still, before filing a legal claim, the car buyer must participate in any certified dispute program that the manufacturer has put in place. This panoply of rules and requirements can often be overwhelming for consumers. If you believe that you may have purchased a lemon, an experienced Lemon Law lawyer at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® can help you to navigate these procedures to seek relief under Iowa and/or Federal Lemon Law.
Available Remedies Under the Iowa Lemon Law
Once a consumer has complied with the requirements described above under the Iowa Lemon Law, the manufacturer must either repurchase (provide a refund) your vehicle or replace the lemon. Unlike certain states’ consumer protection laws, Iowa’s expressly allows the consumer to select either a refund or a replacement vehicle.
In addition, the manufacturer is required to cover or refund all collateral and incidental expenses the consumer incurred. This includes taxes, registration fees, and even, at times, expenses such as rental car fees, other alternate transportation, or towing fees. Further, both Federal and Iowa Lemon Laws require the manufacturer to pay the consumer’s attorneys’ fees when they prevail. Thus, even consumers who cannot afford to pay an attorney up front can still enforce their rights under these important laws.
Call Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® or submit your information to us online to see if you qualify for relief. You could be entitled to a refund, a replacement vehicle, or cash compensation for your lemon under State or Federal law. Over 97% of our cases settle without going to trial. We work to get your claim settled as quickly as possible.
We work with Iowa Lemon Law lawyers associated with Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® in an "of-counsel" relationship to handle claims for consumers in Iowa. We stay informed of the newest legal developments so you can get the best results for your lemon law claim.