The lemon law is familiar as it pertains to cars. When you buy a car and it often breaks down during the warranty period, even after several attempts have been made to repair it, the manufacturer is required to order a new car for you.
People who buy cars are not the only ones to benefit from state and federal lemon laws. It also applies to defective appliances.
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The Lemon Law for A Defective Appliance
The lemon law for a defective appliance is a type of federal lemon law that protects consumers of all states in ensuring manufacturers of appliances honor their warranties.
Lemon law for appliances offers assurances against a defective appliance by looking at both express and implied warranties. Express warranties make specific promises touching on repair and/or replacement of an appliance and are put in writing.
On the other hand, implied warranties don’t necessarily come in writing. It simply implies the manufacturer is adhering to certain standards of quality that make an appliance fit for an intended purpose.
For example, if you buy a phone, there is an implied warranty that it will perform as intended; ring, dial out and allow you to communicate with a person on the other end of the line.
Various states have different lengths of time for implied warranty. State law for implied warranty may rule over manufacturer policy. For example, if you bought a blender that didn’t work, and still doesn’t work even after the manufacturer trying to repair it, state law may entitle you to a refund even if the manufacturer has a policy against money refunds.
By looking at both types of warranties, the lemon law ensures that manufacturers of appliances follow up and rectify any defects or abnormalities in the products in a certain time frame. Also, it ensures an appliance is replaced if it’s not able to be repaired.
The Lemon Law in Detail
Anything bought for personal use, including appliances is subject to the lemon law except clothes and consumable items. The following is a list of things covered under the lemon law:
- Personal computers
- Kitchen appliances
- Digital cameras
- Cell phones
- Electric toothbrushes
- Hearing aids
- Electronics like TVs and stereo systems
- Musical instruments
To be considered under the lemon law, an item has to be purchased for personal or family use, is provided with a warranty, and be eligible for multiple repairs of the same issues.
The lemon law does not ignore an item based on its pricing—even if an item costs as low a price as $10 it is still considered, as long as it is proven the item was tried to be repaired multiple times with no success.
Protection That the Law Provides
The lemon law for appliances protects consumers who have purchased a defective product. The exception only applies if the appliance does not come with a warranty—you won’t be entitled to free repairs or refunds. However, if you are tricked into waiving a warranty when you bought an appliance, and you can effectively prove so, you are still entitled to protection by the lemon law for a defective product.
However, for the protection status to apply and for the manufacturer to give a refund or give out a new product, certain criteria must apply. For example, the product should be defective in a manner that limits its safety, use, or value, or should be out of service for more than 30 days while repairs were being made.
Also, several attempts would have been made to repair an appliance with no success, for the manufacturer to be required to either replace the product or refund the money. With no sight of success in repair, the manufacturer is required to adhere to one of the following options:
- Replace the appliance
- Refund the value of the appliance, minus the appliance’s use before the flaw happened
- Repossess the appliance
- Offer to provide you with cash in return for the appliance
You as a consumer have the right to pursue legal action with the help of lemon law attorneys in Irvine if the manufacturer of an appliance does not adhere to the lemon law in this process. If a manufacturer is taken to court for failing to obey the lemon law for a defective product and the consumer wins in the trial, the manufacturer on top of submitting to one of the above solutions, will also be required to fund any attorney fees a consumer may have incurred during trial.
The Course of Action for a Defective Appliance
If an appliance is defective, you should first try and resolve the problem with the store where you bought it from. If that doesn’t work, contact the appliance manufacturer. Some state laws allow suing the retailer for costs incurred and other damages.
You may as well get in touch with a state’s attorney general’s office and the Better Business Bureau to intervene on your behalf.
In a state that allows items to be purchased “as is”, with the disclosure that the item is not covered under warranty, you are not entitled to any legal action against the manufacturer or retailer if the product becomes defective.
Also, take note of actions you are required to observe on the product as a consumer, such as failing to properly care and maintain an appliance. This could void an otherwise valid warranty.
Keeping records of proof makes it easier to pursue a complaint about the lemon law for a defective appliance. For example, keep a record of proof of purchase, the warranty, any service contract, and the repairs that have been done.
Repairs or parts are often included in a warranty and some state warranties may require that if an appliance is repaired beyond a certain number of times within a specified period, it is considered defective, so the manufacturer will be required to replace it.