What Is the 30-Day Lemon Law for Used Cars?

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The 30-day lemon law provides protection for consumers who buy used cars that break down after purchase and, after several repair attempts, become unusable for that 30-day period, according to Edmunds.com. Under the law, the dealer is obligated to either replace the faulty vehicle or provide the buyer with a refund for their “lemon.”

Rocket Lawyer cautions consumers that having their vehicles declared “lemons" might not be as easy as it sounds. While the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act offers legal recourse for those who have purchased vehicles that fail in quality and performance, each state has its own lemon law. Many don’t cover used or leased vehicles. Others might recognize a different warranty period or ask for more attempts at repairing the problem.

The best thing is to be prepared, advises Car Lemon. It is important to retain and provide all paperwork related to the sale of the vehicle. Sellers often claim that the buyer is at fault and that the mechanical problems did not exist. To counteract this, buyers should obtain a complete prior history of the car, preferably before buying it. A consumer must persevere until reaching a satisfactory outcome of the dispute. Conducting extensive research and being aware of consumer rights are the best protections.