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The History of Lemon Laws

Any consumer is aware today that they are protected by lemon laws if they buy a faulty product that cannot be fixed after a reasonable number of attempts. But that was not so a couple of decades ago. Some 60 or 70 years ago, if you purchased a car that had a manufacturing defect, most probably you would have to cover the repairs out of pocket. This is not so today.

In fact, it was in 1975 that the federal government enacted MagnusonMoss Warranty Act what would become commonly known as the lemon law. The purpose of the act was to make product warranties more clear and enforceable. Today, each one of the 50 states has lemon laws.  When we speak of lemon laws, we normally mean cars, but lemon laws can extend to any appliances and machines. They exist to protect consumers who purchase defective goods. You do have rights for replacement or refund if you bought a defective product.

Why Lemon?

It is interesting to know how the lemon law originated and what relation it has to the fruit. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the British used to use the term “lemon” to refer to both the fruit and to a product of substandard quality. In 1909, the word lemon started being used in America to refer to something worthless.

It may also refer to the sour feeling that you get from a lemon. Just like biting a lemon, you get a sour feeling when your product turns to be defective.

What Does Lemon Law Mean For You as a Consumer?

Depending on where you live, the wording of the lemon law may change. However, the overall spirit is the same. This law intends to protect consumers from being taken advantage of and to compensate for damages if they buy a faulty product. The compensation can happen in three different ways. The manufacturer can:

  1. offer to purchase the product back from you.
  2. offer to replace your product with another one in working condition.
  3. offer you a cash settlement.

However, things are not that straightforward. For example, if you purchased a car that began experiencing some stereo issues or air conditioning quirks, this may not mean you have a lemon. However, if you experience a problem with steering, brakes, transmission or other major components of your vehicles, you may, in fact, have a lemon on your hands.

Wondering Whether You Have a Lemon?

If you have doubts that you have a lemon but you are not sure, the first thing to do is consult an experienced lawyer. If you, in fact, do have a lemon, chances are very high that you will end up with the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers at the Margarian Law Firm are happy to help you move forward with your lemon case. We’ll help you determine whether, in fact, you have a lemon and how to proceed. Call  (818) 553-1000 for a FREE consultation and our experienced lawyers will help you get on the road in the new car of your dream!

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