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What happens when you buy a lemon?

What happens when you buy a lemon?

Louisiana has laws to protect consumers when buying a vehicle that is considered a “lemon”. In Louisiana, sellers and/or manufacturers are bound by an implied warranty that the vehicle is free of hidden defects and is reasonably fit for the buyers intended use. In this context, the sale of a vehicle can be rescinded on account of some vice or defect which renders the vehicle useless, or its use so inconvenient and imperfect, that the buyer would not have purchased had the buyer known of the defect or defects. A buyer potentially has the right to pursue both the seller and manufacturer. The buyer of a vehicle is not required to prove the particular cause of the defect making the vehicle unfit for the intended use, but rather must simply prove the actual existence of the defect. The defect can consist of one or many minor defects that collectively render the vehicle a “lemon”. Depending on the nature of the alleged defect, the entire sale can be rescinded or, when defects are such that the vehicle is not totally useless, a buyer has the right to seek a reduction in the purchase price.

In many instances a buyer must give the seller notice of the defect and allow the seller an opportunity to make the required repairs. On the other hand, notice is not required if the seller knew of the defect when the vehicle was sold. A seller is presumed to know that the vehicle has a defect when the seller is a manufacturer. If the seller/manufacturer knew of the defect a buyer is not required to provide an opportunity to repair before pursuit of legal action. Also included in the potential recovery are incidental costs incurred by the buyer as a result of the sale such as insurance, licensing fees, costs of preservation and other such incidental expenses. Moreover, regardless of whether a complete rescission of the sale or a reduction of the purchase price results, a buyer is also entitled to the recovery of reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in pursuit of the claim.

Consequently, buyers have remedies available to them when unfortunately confronted with having purchased a “lemon” of a vehicle. A buyer should clearly document the nature of defects, the efforts to communicate with the seller and the opportunities provided the seller to repair. In other words, there is no substitute for detailed record keeping when it comes to pursuing a claim such as this. Of course, because most good lawyers provide free consultations and further considering that attorney’s fees are included in any successful recovery, seeking out the advice and assistance of a trustworthy and knowledgeable attorney is also advisable.