If you bought a car that is constantly breaking down, or requiring repairs, you may have a lemon on your hands. Cars that have mechanical problems may give rise to a lemon law claim.
For an excellent article on the latest car models that you might want to avoid, unless you want a lemon law case, visit our friend and fellow blogger Attorney Ron Burge.
No matter what car you purchase, new, demo or used, always be certain to ask the salesperson “has this car ever been damaged, repaired, or been in an accident”. An untruthful answer to this question can give rise to a claim for punitive damages, in addition to the compensatory damages. This question is especially important when the purchase involves a used car that is sold “as is”, because an untruthful answer defeats the “as is” defense.
The car problem can involve mechanical problems, but anything that reduces the value of the car in the eyes of the purchaser can be a basis for a lemon law claim. This can include a discovery that the car was repainted, or that the car went off the road and had to be towed out – even if there was no substantial damage to the car. An interesting claim has evolved on the issue of whether the prior owner – in a demo or used situation – was a smoker, as the concern about second hand smoke dangers can be the basis for a lemon law claim.
One of the more attractive features of a lemon law claim is the fact that the jury, or even the judge, will presume that a car dealer did not tell the truth. In other words, the complaining party’s claims gain credibility just because of the wide perception that car dealers are not honest.
A car purchase is a major purchase. The lending terms attached to the car purchase can be even more significant. Consumers should be intolerant of possible lemon purchases, but if a lemon purchase is suspected, call a qualified and experienced lawyer to handle this claim.