When does the lemon law apply?

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When does the lemon law apply?

I put $500 down on a car at a buy here/pay here a lot. within 30 after I had the car it overheated. The car lot agreed to fix the car at no cost. They had it for a week and a half and told me it was fixed, but it still overheated. They don’t want to fix the car and I don’t want it anymore. I just want my money back and the paperwork ripped up. How do I get my money back and the paperwork going?

Asked on May 19, 2011 under General Practice, Indiana

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Here is the question I have for you: was the car a new car or a used car?  Indiana's Lemon Law protection statute applies to new cars purchased by a dealer in Indiana.  If the vehicle was a new car and it qualifies under the statute then you have recourse under the Motor Vehicle Protection Act (Lemon Law).  Here is what qualifies as a new car in Indiana:

"If your car or light truck (bought or leased) fits all of the following requirements, you may qualify for protection:

  • Received it within the past 18 months
  • Purchased from an Indiana dealer
  • Has fewer than 18,000 miles on it
  • Did not obtain primarily to just re-sell or sublease it"

If your car qualifies then contact the State Attorney Genera's Office for more information.  If it does not  you still may have some protection.  First, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has what's called the Used Car Rule that requires dealers to provide consumers with a Buyer's Guide with warranty and other types of information. If the dealer has in any way failed to abide by the FTC Used Car Rule, you may have the basis for a legal claim. Second, each state has what are called Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAP) laws. If the dealer has, for example, made verbal promises or didn't tell you about issues relating to your used car, you may have a cause of action. Third, Indiana's version of the Uniform Commercial Code may provide you with relief. Good luck.


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