The Lemon Law is very unique to the United States, even though many other countries wish they had something similar. It protects car buyers from purchasing useless cars (known as “lemons”) that breakdown or are otherwise rendered useless after the contract is signed. But the Lemon Law differs from state to state, as we shall explain here.
Do All States Have a Lemon Law?
All states have some form of Lemon Law, whereby specific types of car are required to be serviced, repaired and warrantied to an extent. Some states are more forgiving than others though and where you live will play a significant role in how easy this process will be for you.
California is generally regarded as one of the best for this law, but the fact that one group of South Bay Lemon Law attorneys have become one of the fastest growing legal firms in the region suggests that there are still dealers trying to wiggle free of these laws at every chance they get.
Are All Vehicles Covered?
It’s rare that all vehicles will be covered and in most states there are a number of exceptions. Typically these include mopeds, motorcycles and generally anything not described as a car or van or designed for the purpose of transporting people on streets or in parks as opposed to roads.
There are also weight restrictions. In Louisiana, for instance, you are covered for all vehicles under 10,000 pounds, with an exception for motor homes and motorbikes.
States with the Longest and Shortest Lemon Law Allowances
Most states have a warranty period based on a set number of miles or a set number of years. In Alaska and Kansas you have 1 year regardless of how many miles you do, but in Alabama and Kentucky you have 1 year or 12,000 miles, which ever one comes first. Some states have 18 months to a year, with mileage of between 15,000 and 20,000, and the one that has the longest warranty period is Maine, which allows for 3 years or 18,000 miles.
Best and Worst Repair Periods
In Maryland only 1 repair attempt is allowed in the braking and steering system, but 4 are allowed elsewhere. 4 seems to be a common length across the board, with others allowing for 3. There is also an “out of service” timeframe that differs from between 15 and 30 depending on which state you are in.
Is the Lemon Law in Other Countries?
In the UK they have no such law and the same applies across the EU and in all other countries for that matter. EU countries do have Consumer Goods Protection, which applies to all purchases and basically states that something should be fit for use, but this law isn’t as straightforward as the Lemon Law and used cars end up slipping through loopholes.
The US often falls behind the EU when it comes to safety and regulations, which is why we have so many issues with dangerous ingredients in our foods, but this is one instance in which the US law trumps the EU one and one instance where the latter can learn from the former.