A used car is covered by the federal “lemon law.”

If you bought any “consumer product” for more than $25.00 that came with a warranty, the federal lemon law (Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act) may apply to your item. That means most used cars should be covered.

A “consumer product” is any item that “is normally used for personal, family, or household purposes.” The idea behind this language is to exclude products that are commercial, that is, normally used for business purposes.

A warranty under the Federal Lemon Law includes written promises, like a warranty booklet that comes with a vehicle, but it could also be an implied warranty or a service contract.

The Federal Lemon Law creates a cause of action for a consumer who is damaged by a failure “to comply with any obligation” found in the federal statute.  One of those obligations is that the seller must “remedy such consumer product within a reasonable time and without charge.” See 15 U.S.C. section 2304.

Thus, a warranty promises to repair an item, and the federal lemon law requires the repairs to be done in a reasonable time and without charge. When this is not done, the product might be a lemon under the federal lemon law.

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