Lemons laws are in place throughout the country to protect car buyers from vehicles that have defective parts, or simply don’t operate effectively as they should. Lemon laws, however, do not apply to owners of used cars. This means that if you are injured because of a defective car part in the used vehicle, you may have an uphill battle to recover damages.
Your rights under the FTC Used Car Rule
Most car dealers who sell used cars are required to follow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Used Car Rule. Any dealer who offers for sale five used cars in a period of 12 months must comply with this rule. Dealers are required to post a Buyer’s Guide and let a customer inspect the vehicle in which they are interested even if said vehicle is not ready to be delivered.
The Buyer’s Guide
The Buyer’s Guide is a document that provides used car buyers with the following information:
- The electrical and mechanical systems of the car as well as problems the buyer should be on the lookout for
- If the vehicle is being sold with a warranty or “as is”
- If being sold with a warranty, the percentage of repairs the dealer will pay for
- Oral promises are not easy to enforce
- Buyers should acquire all promises in writing
- Request that the car be inspected by an independent mechanic
- Obtain a vehicle history report and visit the FTC website on used cars for recalls and other issues
- Request a Spanish Buyer’s Guide if the used car buyer speaks Spanish
- To keep the Buyer’s Guide after purchasing the used car
If the seller lies on the Buyer’s Guide, or engages in some other kind of deception, you may be able to hold the seller accountable if you get into a crash because of defective part.
Your claim may be dependent on the warranty you are offered
Used car dealers can either offer a warranty with their used cars for sale or offer the vehicles “as-is,” which means they do not come with any type of warranty. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act protects used car buyers by requiring manufacturers to follow the warranties of the vehicle: implied, written, and service contracts. Tennessee law requires car dealers to sell sound vehicles, but they can get around that requirement by selling vehicles “as-is.”
Used car buyers might also be protected under the warranty of merchantability. The expectation when you buy a car is that it will work when you drive it off the lot. This warranty states that the vehicle should run like it is supposed to when you purchase it. If this is not the case, you should be eligible for legal recourse so long as you can prove that the defect was present when you purchased the vehicle. If your claim is denied, you might be able to move forward with an appeal using the federal Uniform Commercial Code, which is a set of laws governing commercial transactions.
The number of used car purchases have increased significantly over the last several months. If your injures are related to a defective car part in a used vehicle, getting justice may not be simple. Call Wagner & Wagner, Attorneys at Law at 423-756-7923 or complete a contact form to schedule a consultation. Our team provides legal services to clients located in Chattanooga TN, Cleveland TN, North Georgia, and the surrounding region.