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Do I HAVE A GOOD CASE?

For most cases, the main question is whether you gave the manufacturer a reasonable number of repair attempts. In short, the more serious the issues, the less repair attempts you have to give them. For example, if your new vehicle's brakes are malfunctioning and can thus kill you, two times in at the shop should be enough proof. But, if you're experiencing something less potentially catastrophic, you'll need to show more times in at the shop. Generally, when less dangerous issues occur, at least four times in the shop or 30 days out-of-service must be shown. 

 

To say whether I think you have a legitimate case, I'd need to examine your documents—mainly the repair invoices. In the meantime, however, ask yourself the following questions below. Answering "yes" to each question means you may have a claim for Breach of Express Warranty. However, answering "no" to any question doesn't necessarily mean you're out of luck—you may, for instance, have a separate claim for Breach of Implied Warranty. 

 

  1. Did you purchase (or lease) a consumer good (vehicle, boat, electronics, etc.) for your personal or family use?

  2. Did the manufacturer give an express warranty?

  3. Did the good contain a defect (or “nonconformity”) covered by the warranty that substantially impaired its use, value, or safety?

  4. Did you deliver the good to the manufacturer or dealer for repairs (in other words, not to some random repair shop)?

  5. Did the defect still exist despite the manufacturer or dealer having had a reasonable number of repair attempts? (Alternatively, even if they fixed it, did they do so in a reasonable time period?)

  6. Did the manufacturer or dealer fail to promptly buy back or replace the good? (I imagine that your answer is at least YES on this question, or else you wouldn't be reading my website.)

A "Slam Dunk" Case

If you have “slam dunk” facts supporting your case, it's possible you may be able to resolve without an attorney. For example, let’s say you bought a brand new car and, within the first five months of ownership...

 

  • six transmission-related issues occur

  • you're constantly in for repairs at the dealer

  • your car has been out-of-service for a total of over 90 days.

 

In such a case, you have very strong facts to support a lemon law claim. However, most cases are not as straightforward as this example.

 

Also, even if your case is very strong, the manufacturer, generally a massive Goliath corporation, is rarely quick to agree with Average Joe Consumer. Without lawyers involved, manufacturers lack the financial incentive to cave to consumers—particularly for expensive goods like cars and trucks. Their seemingly endless resources can and will bury most folks who try to do it alone.

 

To achieve a refund or replacement for your lemon, lawsuits are necessary. But how is Average Joe Consumer supposed to afford litigation against a massive Goliath corporation? Fortunately, the lemon law provides that manufacturers must pay your attorney's fees and costs if you prevail in your lawsuit.

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