Lemon Law

What Are Lemon Laws?

Lemon Laws are state and federal laws that provide a remedy to buyers who purchase cars (and occasionally other consumer products) that fail to meet standards of quality and performance. The term “lemon” usually applies to defective vehicles, like automobiles, trucks, and motorcycles, though there are other “lemon laws” for a variety of different products ranging from small electronics to animals.

Sources of Lemon Law

The federal lemon law is the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act. It was enacted in 1975 and protects citizens of every U.S. state. Various states have their own lemon laws, and what they cover and the policies for making claims vary greatly. For example, some states' laws will cover used or leased cars while others' will not. The federal lemon law generally covers mechanical defects, but stat lemon laws can be more expansive. Both the federal lemon law and many state laws also provide for prevailing party attorney fees if a lawsuit must be filed by a purchaser in order to recover for a lemon vehicle or other product.


Lemon laws are usually designed to exceed the contractual protections described in warranties. Indeed, many lemon laws take the form of “implied warranties,” or warranties that the law imposes upon a transaction that assures that the products are what they claim to be and reasonably fit for their intended purpose. Just as with a contractual (often called an “express”) warranty, the implied warranties created by lemon laws require the seller or manufacturer to correct any defects or face liability.


Although laws vary greatly by state, one general requirement is that a product must be purchased with a warranty in order to be eligible for protection under lemon laws. If the vehicle is purchased “as-is,” this is usually an express agreement between the buyer and the seller that the buyer assumes the risk of any defects in the product. If that is the case, the buyer, in essence, assumes the risk of any defects in the product and loses the right to seek recovery for those losses from the seller or manufacturer.


The time period in which one must make a claim for a lemon product also vary greatly. Some jurisdictions and products have terms as short as several days, while others may last for months. Every product deteriorates with use and a number of other variables affect the performance of a consumer good over time, so most of these time periods are relatively brief (usually no longer than 60 or 90 days).

For more information about Lemon Laws, please review the materials below. You can also find an attorney in your area who can assist you with any specific questions or legal issues you may have by visiting our Law Firms page.

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Articles About Lemon Law

  • “As-Is” Vehicles
    When a person buys a used vehicle marked “as-is,” he or she must take great care in determining what this legal definition connotes. Additionally, he or she should be aware of any legal basis that may be available if such a vehicle stops working shortly after the purchase.
  • Do I Have the Right to an Accessory Based on a Car Window Sticker?
    In some instances, buyers of vehicles may rely on extraneous sources when thinking about what is included in the purchase of a used vehicle. For example, they may look at a sticker produced by a third-party that describes the standard equipment that is installed with the vehicle when it is new. However, the equipment and accessories that are currently installed on the vehicle may be different, potentially causing confusion.
  • The Mechanic Damaged My Vehicle - What Can I Do?
    Question: I took my car in for service and when it was returned, my transmission was no longer working properly. The mechanic said that he didn’t do anything to it, but the vehicle was working perfectly when I left it at his place of business. I am not sure what type of lawyer I need or what I can do about the situation.
  • Understanding Lemon Laws
    If you have a new car that does not work after repeated repairs, you may be entitled to compensation under lemon laws.
  • Used Car Does Not Run, What Can You Do?
    Attorneys frequently receive questions regarding defective used cars. All too often, people purchase a used vehicle with verbal assurances that everything works fine and that it will be quite reliable, only to discover that neither is the case. What can you do when this happens to you?
  • 5 Ways to Avoid Becoming the Victim of Curbstoning in an Auto Sale
    Most lemon laws apply to dealers only, not to private sellers. Because of this some unscrupulous dealers attempt to sidestep the laws altogether by using a system called curbstoning.
  • How to Avoid Trade-In Auto Fraud
    Trading in your old car to help pay for a new one at the dealership may seem like a good way to shave off the cost of a new car. However, not all trade-in transactions are handled in an honest manner, and this can lead to unfortunate results for consumers.
  • I Feel I Got Ripped Off at The Auto Dealership, What Can I Do?
    If you have purchased a vehicle and feel that you got a bad deal, you may have recourse against the dealer by using one or more of the following tactics:
  • My Car is a Lemon: Now What?
    Buying a car is usually an exciting experience. But, when your new car does not function properly, it can be a frustrating experience. When a car dealer sells you a lemon, how can you get to the “lemonade” of a properly functioning car and possibly even receiving a cash settlement?
  • The Importance of Safety Ratings of Cars
    For many people, appearance as well as performance has always been the first criteria for buying a new car. But do you know that the safety of the car is also extremely important? Just as this is a very important factor in buying a new car, it is also very important when buying a used car as well.
  • All Motor Vehicles Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Motor Vehicles Law including: auto dealer fraud, automobile accidents, automotive, bus accidents, lemon law, motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accident, railroad accidents, rollover accident, traffic violations, trucking accident.

Lemon Law - US

  • 50 States Lemon Law

    Information derived from State and Federal Lemon Laws.

  • ABA - Lemon Laws

    Lemon law usually applies to new cars purchased for personal, family, or household use. These laws entitle you to a replacement car or a refund if your new car is so defective that it is beyond satisfactory repair by the dealer. You must, however, give the dealer a reasonable opportunity to repair the car.

  • Better Business Bureau Auto Line - Lemon Law Division

    Founded in 1978, BBB AUTO LINE is the nation's oldest and most respected auto warranty dispute resolution program. Information about BBB AUTO LINE rules, procedures and participating manufacturers is included on this site to help you understand the process.

  • Federal Lemon Law Explained - Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

    Lemon Law Explained brings to you information on Lemon Law and how lemon laws can help you. There are basically 3 sets of laws (Lemon Laws) that apply to all defective vehicles and products that are purchased in the United States of America. * The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a Federal Law that protects the purchaser of any product that costs more than $25 in addition it must come with an express written warranty. * The Uniform Commercial Code or UCC has been adopted in all 50 states and covers contracts dealing with the sale of products

  • Lemon Law - Wikipedia

    Lemon laws are American state laws that provide a remedy for purchasers of cars in order to compensate for cars that repeatedly fail to meet standards of quality and performance. These cars are called lemons. The federal lemon law (the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act) protects citizens of all states. State lemon laws vary by state and may not necessarily cover used or leased cars. The rights afforded to consumers by lemon laws may exceed the warranties expressed in purchase contracts. Lemon law is the common nickname for these laws, but each state has different names for the laws and acts.

  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

    NHTSA was established by the Highway Safety Act of 1970 to carry out safety programs previously administered by the National Highway Safety Bureau. Specifically, the agency directs the highway safety and consumer programs established by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, the Highway Safety Act of 1966, the 1972 Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act, and succeeding amendments to these laws.

  • NHTSA - Office of Defects Investigation (ODI)

    The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) is an office within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). ODI conducts defect investigations and administers safety recalls to support the NHTSA’s mission to improve safety on our Nation's highways. NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles or items of motor vehicle equipment when ODI investigations indicate that they contain serious safety defects in their design, construction, or performance.

Organizations for Lemon Law

  • Center for Auto Safety

    The Center for Auto Safety in the nation's capital: * keeping consumers up-to-date on auto related legislation and regulation * working with congress and federal agencies to make our cars safer * providing expert opinions and data in congressional testimony.

  • Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety

    Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety is a national, award-winning non-profit auto safety and consumer advocacy organization. CARS works to save lives, prevent injuries, and protect consumers from auto-related fraud and abuse. CARS is also on the forefront of exposing illegal practices such as "lemon laundering" of hazardous vehicles across state lines. CARS founder has a decades-long history of winning pro-consumer victories, against enormous odds.

  • Going Legal - Lemon Law News

    Lemon laws are American State laws that can provide remedy for people who have purchases a vehicle that has continually failed to meet the required standards of quality and performance. Unfortunately, each year, more and more Americans are sold cars that appear to have persistent problems, these cars are known as 'lemons' and Lemon Laws are designed to protect citizens of all states from faulty autos.

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