You expect the car you buy to be dependable and operate faultlessly for many years. But things do not always work out as expected—you got a lemon. A lemon is a car with a defect that affects its use, value, or safety. Luckily, the California and Federal lemon laws protect customers in these circumstances.
Lemon laws protect consumers who purchase a car with a warranty. It can be a new car warranty, certified pre-owned warranty, or a used car warranty. Does your vehicle fit specific requirements, such as having a flaw that persists despite giving the manufacturer or dealer a reasonable opportunity to fix the problem? If so, you might be eligible for a refund, a replacement, or penalties.
The worst manufacturer by the number of cases is General Motors, with 1,708 cases. This is according to the Lemon Index 2022 published by the Cars Foundation. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, on the other hand, has the greatest percentage of sales that turn out to be lemons. Around 0.24 percent of its sales result in lemons.
It is important to note that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides data for the Lemon Index. It only accounts for a small percentage of all defective cars. The definition of a "lemon" may also change depending on the state's Lemon Law.
Besides complaints filed with the NHTSA, there are also statistics on lemon law cases filed in individual states. For example, more than 15,000 lemon law complaints were filed in California in 2020. The most common issues cited in these cases were problems with transmissions, engines, and electrical systems.
In 2021, the most common types of lemon law claims related to vehicle engine and transmission issues. Some top vehicles involved in lemon law claims included the Ford F-150, Jeep Cherokee, and Chevrolet Silverado.
Consumer Reports found that from 2020 to 2021, there was a 24% increase in lemon law claims. This may be attributable to several factors. These include supply chain interruptions that resulted in quality control problems and delays in repairs, manufacturers prioritizing parts for new vehicles instead of repairs, and dealership technicians being sick or furloughed.
If you have any concerns about whether your vehicle qualifies for the Lemon Law, talk to an attorney. Most attorneys provide free Lemon Law case evaluations.
For more on Lemon Law Statistics, contact Auto Law.