Lemon Law Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Lemon Law, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Lemon Law?

(n) Lemon Law is the statues empowering the buyer of an automobile to seek damages or replacement from the manufacture when they cannot rectify or fix the problem of the vehicle within a reasonable time

History and Meaning of Lemon Law

Lemon Laws refer to statutes designed to protect consumers when they purchase a defective product, usually a vehicle. These laws provide remedies for consumers to receive compensation from manufacturers or dealerships when a product with substantial defects cannot be repaired within a reasonable amount of time. The idea of Lemon Law began in the mid-20th century in America when new cars began to have frequent quality control problems. California was the first state to introduce a Lemon Law in 1970, and other states followed soon after.

The term "Lemon" is a metaphor for a car that does not work as it should – just like a sour lemon is not as palatable as a sweet citrus fruit. Today, most states have enacted some form of Lemon Law, and the laws typically cover not only cars but also other products like boats, motorcycles, and RVs.

Examples of Lemon Law

Example 1: After buying a new car, you discover that the brakes don't work correctly. Despite multiple repair attempts, the problem remains unsolved. Under Lemon Law, you could get a refund or a new car.

Example 2: The engine in your motorcycle has repeated issues, and despite several attempts to repair it, the problem persists. In this case, the Lemon Law would entitle you to a refund or a new motorcycle.

Example 3: You purchase a boat that has issues with leaks or steering problems. If the manufacturer is unable to fix the problem within a reasonable amount of time, you can seek compensation under Lemon Law.

Legal Terms Similar to Lemon Law

  • Consumer protection laws are similar to Lemon Laws, but they cover all types of consumer products, not just vehicles.
  • Breach of warranty occurs when a manufacturer fails to fulfill the warranty obligations specified in a product's paperwork.
  • Unfair and deceptive trade practices refer to any unethical conduct by manufacturers or retailers, such as misleading advertising or concealment of facts from customers.