You are about to drop your hard-earned cash and/or maybe take out a large line of credit to buy a new or used car. The last thing you want to is to end up with a lemon: essentially a car with a hidden defect affecting its use, value, or safety. Here are a few resources to consider in attempting to avoid buying a lemon, and what to do if you find that you do have a lemon on your hands.
New vs. Used Lemons
One key question is whether you are purchasing a new or used car. As we all know, both new and used cars can end up being lemons, but, at least with used cars, there are steps you can take to analyze the car's history to determine whether it might be a lemon, but new cars can be far trickier to assess.
If a car is defective to an improper design, you may have a potential automotive defect claim on your hands, and you might even find yourself as part of an automotive defect class action. But, unless there are already recalls or news stories relating to defects affecting the particular model you are considering purchasing (and you should absolutely do a Google News search of the model to find out whether that is the case), an automotive defect can be invisible to you the consumer until you or others are affected by it. And if there is a defect affecting your particular new car (and not all cars in that particular make and model), then you can usually take advantage of your state's lemon laws if you have met their specific requirements (see below), but, again, spotting a new lemon is something that you as a consumer may not be able to do.
Looking into a Used Car's History
Again, when you purchase a used car, you actually have a number of resources you can use to help you gauge whether it is a lemon, simply because there is at least a partially visible history for the car. Resources you can access and steps you can take to avoid purchasing a used lemon include:
- Take the car to a trusted mechanic and shell out $100 or so for a written report on anything the mechanic finds problematic. Although you run the risk of losing your $100, you might use what you find to negotiate a lower price, and if you discover a problem that keeps you from purchasing a lemon, then it will be money well spent.
- Ask for service records. Has the car had its oil changed regularly and has the owner complied with all recommended maintenance steps? If the answer is no, or the owner does not have the records, then this might be a sign to stay clear.
- Get a vehicle history report. There are variety of services that offer such reports, and, depending on how extensive the provider is, you may be able to use this report to find records of past changes in ownership, accident claims, liens, and other important information that may raise an eyebrow about the car.
- Google the make, model, and year of the car. You might find that there has been a past recall of the car, or that owners of that particular make and model have experienced certain types of problems at a given life-stage of the car.
Know Your State's Lemon Laws
If you do end up buying a lemon, you are going to want to see if you can take advantage of your state's lemon laws. Because every state implements its own laws, you will want to look to the requirements of your state lemon law specifically. Most state lemon laws provide for some kind of refund from the manufacturer if the car is still under a manufacturer's warranty, a reasonable number of repair attempts have been made, and the buyer brings a lemon law action within a certain period of time after delivery (e.g. 12 months). An experienced lemon law attorney will help guide you in assessing your options and pursuing your lemon law remedies.
Trusted, Experienced Legal Representation in Your Mississippi Lemon Law Case
By working with an experienced lemon law attorney in Mississippi, you can increase your chances of obtaining a full and speedy recovery of the purchase price of your car. At Herrington Law, we have successfully represented auto consumers across Mississippi in recovering the purchase price of their cars, and are committed to winning justice for auto consumers who've suffered losses through no fault of their own. Contact us today to begin assessing and pursuing your claim as quickly as possible.