Lemons that don’t leave a bitter taste


In the wake of the recent Ryder Cup, I looked to see how those across the pond give rights to buyers whilst balancing it against protecting decent car traders against “rogue” consumers.

Author: Jason Williams
Reading time: 3 minutes

This article is 8 years old.

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The UK law on what a consumer’s rights are when they buy second hand vehicles is the subject of much debate and, even more, misinterpretation of those laws.  After all, aren’t we all perceived to be a “reasonable” person?  Seemingly, anything with wheels has to last pretty much forever regardless of price. Well, that’s what the consumers are, invariably, brainwashed into believing.

In the wake of the recent Ryder Cup, I looked to see how those across the pond give rights to buyers whilst balancing it against protecting decent car traders against “rogue” consumers.  I think they have done so much better than in the UK.

A material difference relates to the issue of warranties.  UK consumers rely on the warranty when it suits them and then tell you that they are useless when they feed you some drivel about how, under the Sale of Goods Act, any imperfection within the first six months allows them to get all of their money back.  Moreover, they can lie and tell you that they are themselves a car trader and accept a car with known problems, yet tell you subsequently that you must still fix anything and everything otherwise you are “restricting [their] rights as consumers”.

By comparison I shall leave you to consider how America’s car (automobile!) dealers are better protected than you, their UK based counterparts.  I will tell no lies, it is a straight “copy and paste” from Wikipedia.

“Lemon Laws are American State Laws that provide remedies for purchasers of cars and other consumer goods in order to compensate for products that repeatedly fail to meet standards of quality and performance.” 

“At the core of most lemon laws is the manufacturer’s breach of warranty. A manufacturer’s warranty is what makes the manufacturer legally responsible for repairs to the consumer’s vehicle or goods. It is a form of guarantee. An express warranty is typically a written warranty. An implied warranty unlike an express warranty is not written. The law imposes these obligations on the manufacturer, the seller or both as a matter of public policy. These vary from state to state.”

Although each state imposes different requirements for their own consumer lemon laws, a basic condition common to virtually all jurisdictions is that in order for the lemon law to apply, the automobile or product must have been purchased with a warranty. Products purchased on an “as is” or “with all faults” basis are typically not covered by state or federal lemon laws.”

Jason Williams

Legal Advisor

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