Protecting Drivers from Lemons
Few things are more frustrating than purchasing a brand-new vehicle only to discover undisclosed problems as soon as you drive off the lot. Utah’s Lemon Law provides automobile purchasers with substantial protections in these scenarios, but some unscrupulous car dealerships will still refuse to provide legally required repairs, replacements, or refunds.
Our Salt Lake City car dealership lawyer at Ayres Law Firm has over 20 years of experience can help you exercise your rights when you learn that you have purchased a lemon. Our team has experience assisting clients with numerous types of consumer protection issues and can help you explore all of your legal options when a dealership refuses to honor its obligations.
I have worked with Tyler and I can say with confidence that he is meticulous, creative, and listens. I would hire him in a heartbeat.S.M.
Your Rights under Utah’s Lemon Law
A “lemon” refers to a new vehicle that has major functional defects that only become apparent after it is purchased and leaves the dealership. Each state has its own set of laws for dealing with faulty vehicles, and Utah’s lemon law provides consumers with a wide range of protections. In short, a car dealership is required to make a situation right if a qualifying vehicle experiences one or more serious problems.
A vehicle can qualify for Utah’s lemon law protections if it is:
- New (not used)
- Purchased in Utah
- Intended to be driven on freeways
- Under 12,000 pounds in total weight
- New and under warranty
In practice, the state’s lemon laws will cover most cars, trucks, and motorcycles. The laws also cover farm tractors and the self-propelled components of motor homes. The “intended to be driven on freeways” stipulation excludes smaller vehicles like go-karts and mopeds.
Lemon law coverage triggers when a substantial defect is discovered in the qualifying new vehicle. Substantial defects include safety hazards, operational issues, or any problems that could significantly impact the vehicle’s market value. Cosmetic blemishes will not generally qualify.
Some common vehicle defects that likely warrant coverage under Utah’s lemon laws include:
- Steering issues
- Brake system issues
- Engine issues
- Electrical issues
- Mechanical issues
- In-Vehicle Infotainment (IFI) issues
Consumers must report these types of defects and malfunctions promptly to the dealership. You must generally report problems within 1 year of the date of purchase or before the vehicle’s express warranty expires, whichever is sooner. Dealerships are not typically obligated to address issues that arise outside these windows under the state’s lemon laws.
When a qualifying issue has been reported, the dealership is required to make an effort to repair the vehicle and resolve the defect, free of charge. If the vehicle requires more than 4 repairs within its warranty or the year after purchase, the dealer must either refund the purchaser or provide a comparable replacement. They must also provide a refund or replacement if the vehicle requires 30 days of cumulative repair during this period.
Some unscrupulous dealerships hope that you are not aware of your rights under Utah’s lemon laws. They will refuse to provide repairs or will attempt to charge vehicle purchasers for the service. Others will claim that your new vehicle does not qualify under the lemon law or that the defect is not serious enough to prompt repairs or replacements.
Our Salt Lake City car dealership attorney at Ayres Law Firm can hold these bad actors accountable. We can help you pursue legal action when a dealership violates your rights by refusing to provide legally mandated repairs, refunds, or replacements.
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