What Is the Lemon Law?


Quick Answer

Lemon laws exist nationwide as protective legal mechanisms for consumers purchasing used cars; these laws entitle consumers to safe cars free of unknown faults and defects. In the United States, lemon laws cover consumers in all 50 states, but the states maintain discretion in creating provisions for their citizens. Nationally, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 affords consumers federal protection against purchasing cars that are not free of faults and defects; warranties offered under the federal lemon law break down into two distinct types.

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What Is the Lemon Law?
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Full Answer

Many people refer to laws providing warranty from damaged, dangerous and defective vehicles as "lemon laws." In addition to setting the scope of laws, states have authority for naming these consumer laws differently if they choose. Each state adopts the federal model, which breaks down into several laws and acts.

State laws offer two types of warranties: express warranties and implied warranties. Express warranties typically provide less extensive coverage for vehicle owners. These warranties, when challenged in court, often favor manufacturers. Express warranties exist primarily in writing and cover arbitrary car issues, such as aesthetics.

Implied warranties, in contrast, offer greater protection. These warranties ensure cars sell without mechanical fault. While state regulations on these laws vary widely, consumers have legal protection at the federal level through several laws, including the original enacting Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, the Uniform Commercial Code and the Federal Trade Commission's Used Car Rule.

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