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What Does Arizona’s Lemon Law Do?

Posted on July 26, 2022 in

No one expects the car they just bought to have significant problems – especially issues that run the risk of causing a car accident, such as bad brakes. Unfortunately, not all car dealerships and private sellers are trustworthy. Many sell buyers vehicles without disclosing major problems. These cars are referred to as “lemons.” In Arizona, if you purchase a lemon, you may be able to return the vehicle for free repairs, reimbursement or a replacement under the Lemon Law.

What Is a Lemon?

A lemon is a motor vehicle that has a significant defect, mechanical problem or long-term issue that affects its safety, value or usability. For example, a lemon may have transmission problems, bad brakes or issues with the engine. In general, this term is used when a new or used vehicle is advertised as having no serious problems, but the buyer discovers after purchase that this is not the case.

How Does Arizona’s Lemon Law Work?

Lemons present a major problem for car buyers. Unlike clothes and other goods, a buyer typically cannot return a vehicle that he or she is unhappy with, even if it has serious issues or defects. Prior to the passing of the Arizona Lemon Law, motor vehicle owners did not have many options after purchasing a lemon. Today, however, buyers are protected by Chapter 9, Article 5 of the Revised Statutes – otherwise known as the Lemon Law.

This chapter of the law, Motor Vehicle Warranties, contains the following rules and protections for buyers who purchase lemons:

  • If the vehicle is brand new, the buyer has two years, 24,000 miles or within the term of the express warranty (whichever comes first) from the date of the original delivery of the motor vehicle to inform the manufacturer or authorized dealer of an issue. 
  • The manufacturer is legally required to make the necessary repairs until the vehicle conforms to any express warranties. If the manufacturer cannot fix the car after a reasonable number of attempts (typically, four or more attempts or if the vehicle is out of service for repairs for a cumulative total of 30 or more days), it is obligated to replace it or refund the purchaser the full purchase price, including any collateral charges.
  • If the vehicle is used at the time of purchase, a provision to the Lemon Law states that an implied warranty of merchantability exists for 15 calendar days after the delivery of the vehicle to the purchaser or the first 500 miles, whichever comes first. This implied warranty requires a dealer to repair the vehicle and restore it to a safe condition.

Note that Arizona does not have a “cooling-off period” or a three-day grace period after the purchase of a vehicle where the buyer can decide not to buy the car and void the sales contract. Once the vehicle has been purchased, the contract is ironclad. You may qualify for free repairs, a replacement of the lemon or reimbursement for the full cost of the vehicle, however, under the Arizona Lemon Law.

Exceptions to the Lemon Law

If a problem with a vehicle does not substantially impair the use of the car, decrease its market value or constitute a safety issue, a manufacturer or dealer may not be subject to the Lemon Law. Cosmetic issues such as scratches in the paint or torn upholstery, for example, do not make the car a lemon. 

If the problem or damage is the result of abuse, misuse, neglect, unauthorized modifications, off-road use, racing, towing, or the failure to properly maintain the vehicle by the buyer, the Lemon Law also will not apply. When a warranty has been violated on a used car, the purchaser will have to pay up to $25 for each of the first two repairs under the Lemon Law. If you are in a crash due to serious undisclosed flaws in your vehicle, call the Phoenix car accident attorneys at Stone Rose Law today.