You work hard for your money, and when you make a purchase, you expect that you will get a product or service that meets your needs. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Every year, consumers in Colorado and across the country are victims of faulty goods or services. When you have purchased or received a vehicle, product, or service that is not working properly, you do not need to take matters into your own hands. There are laws in place, both at the state and federal levels that are meant to help protect consumers. These consumer protection laws are commonly called lemon laws.
What are Lemon Laws?
Lemon laws are legislative acts or laws that are designed to help protect consumers against faulty products or services or deceptive practices. Lemon laws were originally protections for consumers who purchase defective new or used vehicles, which were commonly called lemons. A dealer does not have to automatically take back a vehicle, but they must follow the lemon law for vehicles that meet the criteria.
When you purchase a vehicle, you expect it to work properly and not require repairs. When a car does not function adequately, you may be able to return it under the lemon law. Colorado lemon laws specifically cover used and new vehicles. Federal lemon laws are broader and pertain to additional consumer products and services.
Colorado Lemon Laws
All states, including Colorado, have enacted lemon laws to protect consumers from getting stuck with vehicles that are considered lemons. The lemon law applies to new passenger vehicles, including SUVs, trucks, and vans purchased in Colorado and used vehicles sold by a dealer within one year of the original purchase. To be considered a “lemon,” a vehicle must the requirements:
- A vehicle that does not conform to the express warranty from the manufacturer
- A vehicle with substantial defects that impact its safety, value, or use.
- A vehicle with manufacturer defects during the first year
- A vehicle that has been in the shop for the same repair issue at least four times or has been unable to be driven for 30 days due to various repair issues.
- A vehicle that the dealer has tried to repair at least four times and the manufacturer has been given a chance to make the repairs.
In addition to meeting one of the criteria above, the vehicle must be a passenger vehicle that carries 10 or fewer passengers and is driven for personal use. The Colorado lemon law covers vehicles within one year of the purchase or before the original warranty expiration, whichever is first. It is important to note that generally, used vehicles sold “as-is” and without a warranty are not covered under the Colorado lemon law.
What Relief is Possible?
If your vehicle qualifies as a lemon under Colorado lemon law, you may be entitled to some type of relief. You will not have to be stuck with a vehicle that is defective or is not working properly. If your claim is successful, you could receive another vehicle of the same year, make, and model as a replacement.
Another option may be to receive monetary compensation for the vehicle. You could be entitled to the purchase price of the vehicle as well as the sales tax you paid and any fees and registration costs. In addition, you might be able to collect your attorney’s fees. You will want to keep in mind that the amount of monetary compensation could be reduced by an amount for your use of the vehicle. An experienced lemon law attorney will help guide the process.
How to File a Lemon Law Claim
The Colorado lemon law allows consumers to take legal action if they purchased a lemon. You will need to document everything, including the dates that the dealer tried to make repairs. Written records will be extremely helpful in proving your case. The first step is to send a letter to the manufacturer. The letter serves as notification of legal action and allows them one last chance to properly repair or replace the vehicle. Send the letter through certified mail so you can verify receipt.
If the car still is not fixed after this final repair, you can begin the resolution dispute process. This may include arbitration, and if that does not resolve the matter, you may take the matter to court. Keep in mind that there are time limits to filing a claim. You must file a lawsuit no later than six months after the vehicle warranty expiration or a year after the original delivery date of your car.
Federal Lemon Laws
Federal lemon laws are in place to cover more than vehicles. If you purchase a product that is defective, you may be able to seek a resolution under federal lemon laws. Before you can file a lawsuit, you must give the manufacturer an opportunity to fix the product. If the item was unable to be properly repaired after a reasonable amount of time, you might be allowed a refund or replacement.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act provides consumer protection for products that are over $25 and have a warranty. The act ensures that manufacturers use fair warranties, and it provides a way for consumers to take legal action by allowing the payment of legal fees if they win their cases. The Uniform Commercial Code is federal legislation that applies to products purchased by consumers in the United States. The law allows a consumer the right to seek a refund or replacement product for a lemon. Consumers may be entitled to compensation, including legal fees, if they win their claim.
Lemon laws are meant to provide relief for consumers who purchase products that are covered by warranty. If the manufacturer fails to resolve a problem after having been given the opportunity, you may be able to seek a refund or replacement. Generally, lemon laws are most often utilized with vehicles, but you can also use lemon laws for other products. If you bought a vehicle that turned out to be a lemon, you can seek justice. Contact our lawyers today at Bayas Law Firm at (720) 619-3522 to book a consultation.