Is there a Federal Lemon Law that covers my vehicle?

by : Greg Artim

There is, and the law actually applies to more than just vehicles. It is called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act protects consumers who purchase any product that costs over $25 and comes with a written warranty. That is a pretty big field if you think about it. This article, however, is going to focus only on the Act as it applies to personal use motor vehicles.

As you may be aware, many states have vehicle lemon laws in place to protect consumers of new vehicles which turn out to be defective. These lemon laws are typically very consumer friendly, but they do have some specific criteria that must be met in order to bring a claim. Each state is different, but as a general statement, many state vehicle lemon laws set forth that the vehicle’s defect must occur within the first 12,000 miles of the vehicle’s use. What happens if the defect first arises at 12001 miles? In many instances, the consumer cannot pursue a state lemon law based claim. We would all agree that isn’t fair, right? The consumer should not be left without a remedy if his vehicle exhibits a defect that occurred under the manufacturer’s warranty but after an arbitrary mileage figure.

This is where the federal lemon law (the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act) comes in. The Magnuson-Moss Act is much broader than the state vehicle lemon laws, and affords nearly identical protections. The Act does not have mileage limitations, and can apply to "used" vehicles as well. (Most state lemon laws apply only to new motor vehicles). Note: The Act will only apply to used vehicles that have warranty on them at the time of the defect. Similar to many state lemon laws, the Act provides for a refund or free replacement of the defective product, and further provides for recovery of all associated costs including Attorney fees for bringing such a claim. For that reason, this Act is often used as a catch-all when Attorneys file state vehicle lemon law claims.

In summary, in the event that you have a defective motor vehicle, but cannot file a state lemon law claimArticle Submission, there is a federal lemon law that will protect you and your interests.