We have all purchased things that turn out to be a detriment to our wallets. I, for one, was one of the ones to purchase the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 when it was first released, leading to an explosive mistake. The phone, through an overheating of the battery, exploded on multiple consumers. So, purchasing things that are wasteful or defective is not an uncommon experience, especially in a world surrounded by consumerism. And, luckily, there are lemon laws to protect us (kind of).
If purchasing a bad phone was a hurtful mistake, imagine purchasing a bad vehicle. The amount of hard-earned cash pushed into the pockets of a manufacturer is already an astounding number, throw sticker shock on top of that, and you are looking at a time of regret, tears, and frustration.
Luckily, our wonderful country, consumed with consumers, has created a way to battle against the scam potential of expensive vehicles. Our states have created lemon laws, protecting buyers from cars with significant downfalls.
But what are the lemon laws in Colorado? Are you protected? Do you have a case for your bad car?
What’s a Lemon Law?
When a manufacturer produces a vehicle, they build behind a standard of both proficiency and reliability. A manufacturer does not want to push out unreliable cars, though some do. If they do, they often provide a warranty to fix any production or mechanical issues that aren’t caused by the user. For example, most new cars have warranties that tend to be a 3-year or 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and/or a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
If anything happens during that period, the company will fix it for you at one of its dealerships.
If a company notices something wrong with the majority of the module, they will extend a recall to buyers, giving them a free fix even if the buyer has yet to experience it.
These are all ways that a manufacturer protects its integrity and reliability to consumers going forward.
If the company refuses to fix a mechanical issue with a vehicle (that’s their fault), they can be struck under a state’s lemon law. The Lemon Law states that the manufacturer must refund or provide a new vehicle in place of the broken one if they do not fix it in a certain amount of time.
These laws go under state jurisdiction, so the specifics are different depending on where you are.
Colorado Lemon Law
Since we are a Colorado company, we will break down the specifics here. The Colorado Lemon Law states that if the manufacturer fails to repair the defective vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts, the consumer is entitled to either a refund of the purchase price or a replacement vehicle.
If the manufacturer decides to repurchase the vehicle, they must pay the owner for incidental fees, such as sales tax, registration charges, and finance charges.
So, the company has a few chances to try to fix the problem. If they don’t, they owe the owner. Unfortunately, this cannot be a user-made problem, though. The issue must be deemed mechanical and part of the production process.
It’s not as easy as saying it’s broken and holding out your hand for money, though.
Colorado consumers must comply with any eligible arbitration or mediation procedures created by the manufacturer. The Colorado Lemon Law also has deadlines by which a legal claim must be filed (six months after the expiration of the vehicle warranty or one year from the date on which the purchaser received the car).
What’s the Difference Between States?
Ultimately, it’s the fine details that differ between each state. It’s the minutia, while the overall idea for the law stays the same.
For example, each state will have a strong definition of what’s considered a “major defect” and what constitutes a “reasonable number of repair attempts”. This can make some situations a Lemon issue in some states, while a normal occurrence in others. Therefore, it’s important to speak to a Lemon lawyer in your specific state.
In Colorado, these laws stretch unto dealers, too. Your dealership is responsible for selling you a working product, not just the manufacturer. Therefore, if the dealership sold you a used vehicle with ‘major defects’, you are in line for a Lemon law reimbursement.
Most of the time, the dealership will pay to fix or replace the vehicle without taking it to court. It’s bad for their name, after all.
When Should I Use It?
So, you’ve bought a vehicle from a dealership and it appears broken. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple process.
If you consider the issue to be significant in operation or safety, you might have a case on your hands. If the dealership or manufacturer has tried to fix it multiple times or is refusing to altogether, you might have a case.
As noted, it’s not easy to define. It’s so state-specific, there are Colorado lawyers that specialize in the topic. Therefore, if you think you have a case, reach out to a Colorado lawyer before spreading chaos at your local dealership claiming your Lemon laws.
What’s a Lemon?
Before we go, we want to clear something up. Why in the world is a defective car called a lemon?
To be frank, the term started back when slang was audibly heard through a tin can. It’s an old term. It’s claimed to have first been used back in 1909 when terms like ‘bean ball’ and ‘jake’ were all the rage.
According to Green’s Dictionary of Slang, the term was originally started in 1909 for something defective. It wasn’t used specifically for vehicles until 1923 when a used car dealer profiled in The Oakland Tribune was said to have “congratulated himself upon having rid himself of a lemon finally.”
Then, the famous Volkswagen ad in the 1960s cemented the term for automotive use. The notorious ad pinpointed infamous flaws of the specific vehicle, ending with “We pluck the lemons,” the ad concluded. “You get the plums.”
Shortly after, Lemon laws were created.
Why the word specifically, it’s hard to say. It has been used to describe a ripoff for over 100 years. Maybe it’s because it’s sour? Who knows…