At least once a month, an individual calls our office asking if their vehicle can be replaced under the Tennessee “Lemon Law.” Unfortunately, we have learned that most of these calls occur when someone has purchased a used vehicle, which does not qualify under the Lemon Law. Most used vehicles are purchased “as is,” meaning they are not covered under any warranty. If you are planning to purchase a used car, you should thoroughly inspect said vehicle prior to purchase and determine if there are any potential mechanical or cosmetic issues before going through with the sale.
What Exactly is the Lemon Law?
Tennessee Lemon law defines a "lemon" as a car purchased (or leased) after January 1, 1987 that has a problem that reduces resale market value or impairs safe use of the vehicle. You are covered if your vehicle suffers a defect or nonconformity within the first year of owning the car or during your warranty period. Essentially, it will prevent you from being stuck with a defective or inoperable vehicle. Under the Lemon Law, the dealer or manufacturer is required to provide you with a replacement or refund.
Who Does The Lemon Law Protect?
Tennessee does protect the purchaser of a new vehicle that is found to be significantly impaired during the first year of ownership. This applies to both purchased and leased new vehicles. If you have purchased a car that is in for repairs 30 days (not consecutively) or more total during the first 12 months of ownership, then you may have a claim under the Tennessee Lemon Law.
If you have experienced trouble with your recently purchased or leased vehicle, your first step is to make attempts to contact both the local dealership and the manufacturer via certified mail and request the repairs be performed, correctly and immediately. If the manufacturer fails to do so within 10 days, then you may begin legal action. The Statute of Limitations for bringing a lawsuit is one year from when you took possession of the car, or 6 months after the expiration of your new car warranty.
Help With My Lemon Law Claim
If you believe that your vehicle is subject to the Tennessee Lemon Law, you should contact a qualified attorney for advice. As with all cases, we recommend that you keep a detailed journal of each issue, problem and conversation you have related to your legal matter. This journal will significantly help you and your attorney down the road.
The Chiozza Law Firm is a local, mid-south law firm with many years of experience handling all types of legal claims. Call 901-526-9494 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation. If we can’t help you, we will try to find an attorney who can.
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