When Is A Vehicle Considered To Be A “Lemon”?
In this article, you’ll discover:
- What length of time or number of repairs is considered unreasonable under the Arizona Lemon Law.
- The best time to file an Arizona Lemon Law claim.
- What vehicles are excluded from Arizona Lemon Law protection.
How long it takes to consider a vehicle to be a “Lemon” differs from owner to owner. Some vehicles have tons of problems from the start, and the consumer gets fed up pretty quickly after making the vehicle purchase.
Other vehicles are like a slow drip, with a defect problem every few months. In that situation it could take longer for consumers to feel saddled with a “Lemon” vehicle.
In either scenario, when enough is enough, the consumer gets upset about making payments on a brand-new vehicle that can’t be used trouble free as intended because of its defects and can’t be used at all when it is repeatedly in the repair shop.
There’s no exact number of warranty repair attempts or time out of service for repairs required to be covered under the Arizona Lemon Law. Ultimately, your vehicle’s repair history to address substantial defects and conditions must be unreasonable under the circumstances to qualify.
There is an Arizona Lemon Law burden shifting presumption of 4 or more repair attempts for the same defect or condition within the earlier of two years or 24,000 miles of ownership, but that is just a legal standard that helps a consumer prove a claim. It is not a set in stone requirement to qualify for Lemon Law coverage.
In our view, after having dealt with 1000s of Lemon Law claims, at least three repair attempts under warranty to repair a substantial defect, non-conformity, or condition is likely to be legally unreasonable.
One caveat to this is something that could cause death or serious bodily injury. A sensible argument could be made that two repair attempts under warranty are unreasonable if you would be risking your life driving a “Lemon” vehicle with a defect issue that has not been adequately repaired.
Similarly, although there is no particular days out of service by reason of warranty repair time requirement to have a valid Arizona Lemon Law claim, the vehicle must have spent an unreasonable time in the repair shop.
There is an Arizona Lemon Law burden of proof shifting presumption of 30 days out of service by reason of warranty repair within the earlier of two years or 24,000 miles of ownership, but again that is a legal standard that is designed to help a consumer prove a claim. It is not an actual requirement for a vehicle to qualify as a “Lemon.”
We believe that 25 or more days in the repair shop in under two years or 24,000 miles of ownership is also unreasonable. That’s well over three and a half weeks repairing dealer without your vehicle and you shouldn’t have to go that long without your vehicle.
Do The Arizona Lemon Law And The Federal Lemon Law Cover All Vehicles?
Some limitations exclude certain vehicles from being covered by the Arizona Lemon Law.
For one, the vehicle cannot be more than 10,000 pounds. Vehicles over this weight limit could be protected under other warranty laws, but not the Arizona Lemon Law.
The other issue that may disqualify a vehicle from being covered by the Arizona Lemon Law is the defect or nonconformity repairs must be done within the first two years or 24,000 miles of ownership. If the warranty repairs start after the earlier of two years or 24,000 miles of ownership, those would not be subject to Arizona Lemon Law coverage.
The one exception to this time and mileage limit is with respect to the presumption of having four more repair attempts for the same defect or condition, and the defect continues to exist. If there are additional related repairs after the two-year or 24,000-mile period, those repairs can be used to demonstrate the continued existence of the previously unsuccessfully repaired defect.
If the vehicle repairs are under warranty but occur after the two-year or 24,000-mile period, other warranty laws, like the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act may apply.
The main difference between federal and Arizona Lemon Laws is what type of compensation the consumer can get.
The consumer can receive a vehicle repurchase or replacement plus attorney’s fees under the Arizona Lemon Law.
Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, consumers can get diminution in value cash compensation—a partial refund for having overpaid for a vehicle. This cash compensation is provided with the consumer keeping the product. The federal law also entitles the consumer to seek attorneys’ fees for this type of claim.
Vehicles that are purchased used in a private sale might possibly be disqualified from Arizona Lemon Law coverage, but this is more of a gray area. If the “Lemon” vehicle is covered under manufacturer’s warranty and the repairs are done in the first two years or 24,000 miles of ownership, it could be argued that it is subject to Arizona Lemon Law coverage since the statute does not specifically exclude private party sales and is also a remedial statute that should be broadly interpreted to protect consumers.
The controlling issue is whether the defective vehicle is covered under the manufacturer’s warranty and fits the time limits of either an Arizona Lemon Law or Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act claim. Most private sales will not meet these requirements because they tend to be for used vehicles that are old enough to be outside the manufacturer’s warranty coverage period.
Finally, the Arizona Lemon Law requires that vehicles be designed primarily for transportation on public highways.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act on the other hand, only requires that the vehicle be a consumer product, so it covers a wider array of vehicles than the Arizona Lemon Law.
The additional types of vehicle covered by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act include 5th Wheels, Travel Trailers, Offroad Vehicles, and Boats.
For more information on the Arizona Lemon Law, a Free Lemon Law Evaluation is your next best step. Find out if your vehicle qualifies for Free Lemon Law Help by calling (480) 237-2744 today.
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