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Automobile Lemon Law Updates

Customers who have unknowingly purchased a bad, unusable, and/or unsafe automobile may no longer be under obligation to keep the auto under an explicit or implied "as is" contract. An "as is" contract suggests that a consumer must accept the condition (good or bad) of an automobile at the time of its purchase - regardless of any problems that were not detected at the time of it's purchase. At first glance, an "as is" contract may seem satisfactory, however problems occur when unscrupulous dealers hide an automobile's defects from the customer at the time of purchase. So what a customer may think they are getting at purchase time, may in fact be worse than initially noted. (Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and the District of Columbia, do not permit "as is" sales for many used vehicles.)

To protect consumers from unscrupulous car dealers, every state in North America has set forth automobile lemon laws designed to help assist car buyers to resolve problematic "as is" contracts. Although automobile lemon laws are different from state to state, they're all designed to help resolve customer-dealer problems, and may even outline the process for taking a car dealer to court. One way automobile lemon laws help consumers, is by requiring the dealer of a bad automobile to repair it to a safe and working condition, or give the customer a replacement car. Another way automobile lemon laws help the consumer is by working together with federal laws for greater protection. Federal automobile lemon laws demand truth-in-lending practices and minimum safety standards. At the very least, most automobile lemon laws help with granting the consumer the right to a refund for the failing automobile and any legal fees (should legal action be required to enforce the laws).

If a customer has determined his or her purchase is a "lemon," and can't get the car's dealer to fix the car, or to refund their purchase, legal action against the dealer may be necessary. Although as in any legal battle, cases can be challenged and lost. For example, if a car dealer can prove that they weren't given ample time to fix a problem with an automobile or give the plaintiff a replacement vehicle, the complainant can not get a refund or replacement car. Worse yet, if the dealer has evidence that the customer damaged the vehicle from abuse or from an accident, automobile lemon laws are no longer applicable. To successfully resolve problems, consumers must use the automobile lemon laws in the state that the vehicle was purchased and registered. If a dealer offers an arbitration program, the state's automobile lemon laws may require that the consumer use the dealership's program before seeking help from the legal system. Providing that the dealer offers their arbitration program in writing. If the dealer does'nt offer an arbitration program in writing, customers of "lemons" can file a lawsuit.

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