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Lemon Law and Maintenance Responsibility

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  September 21, 2009

Every morning for the last three months, a Burlington, Vermont woman has parked her 2007 Hyundai Veracruz out front of the Burlington Subaru Hyundai dealership and ridden her bike to work. The car is quite obvious; it has a three-foot sandwich sign roped to the roof of the car, with a painting of a lemon. An inscription reads, “Bought my lemon at Burlington, VT Hyundai/Subaru.”

The woman is upset because she feels the dealership did not back her up in a hearing before the state’s lemon arbitration board, and they ended up ruling against her. The car may actually be repaired—but the problem occurred in cold weather, so now the consumer is waiting for winter to see if the problem recurs.

A manufacturer will do all they can to deflect a lemon law claim, and in this case they may or may not have won. But sometimes a consumer, in pursuing a lemon law case, will be ruled against because the owner did not take responsibilities that he or she agreed to. There are actions that a consumer must take, such as maintenance, in order to qualify under the lemon law, if there is a defect in a vehicle.

“A vehicle owner’s manual states when regular maintenance is due for the car or truck, and what that maintenance should be,” said Norman Taylor, leading California lemon law attorney. “For example, every 5,000 miles the vehicle might require an oil change; at 10,000 the belts may need to be checked; and so on.”

Taylor knows such rules well. He has been a lemon law specialist since 1987, and he and his firm, Norman Taylor and Associates, have handled over 8,000 cases for consumers with a 98 percent success rate. He is one of the leading lemon law attorneys in southern and all of California.

“It is actually up to the vehicle owner to see to it that this maintenance is performed, and while many dealerships will remind a customer when maintenance is required, some may not,” Taylor added. “It is still the responsibility of the vehicle owner.”

If the vehicle owner has not seen to it that regular maintenance has been performed on a vehicle, that could constitute a defense for a manufacturer that a defect being claimed under the lemon law was caused by the lack of maintenance.

It is always advisable to seek the help of a qualified lemon law attorney right away if you think you are driving a lemon.

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