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New Mexico Lemon Law
Purchasing a vehicle can be a daunting task. If you are like most consumers, you do your homework and compare prices before you brave the haggling at the dealership with a crafty salesperson. Unfortunately, there are times when all of that preparation seems to go to waste. No sooner than you drive the car off the lot, you may discover that you have bought a "lemon."
A lemon is a new or used vehicle that, after purchased, is discovered to have major defects that weren't apparent before. Luckily, the state of New Mexico has a lemon law, designed to protect consumers like you when such a deal is made.
Basically, the New Mexico lemon law allows vehicle manufacturers a reasonable amount of repair attempts overs a reasonable amount of time to fix a defective car before they must refund your purchase or replace your car.
On this page you'll find a general overview of the New Mexico lemon law and what you may need to do if you wind up with a lemon.
There are situations in which a car is purchased new and is later discovered to have some manufacturer defects. In most cases, those are honest errors on the dealership's part and are covered by the new car's warranty. However, sometimes lemons are used cars and it is an unfortunate truth that some are sold in a dishonest manner. In New Mexico, a car is legally considered a lemon if, within 1 year of the delivery of your vehicle or before the expiration of your warranty:
- The car can't be repaired after 4 attempts by a mechanic.
- The car has been out of service for 30 business days or longer.
NOTE: Used car purchases are covered by the New Mexico lemon law for either 15 days or 500 miles, whichever happens first.
You must take precautions in order to protect your rights as a consumer. Yes, you may have a lemon that meets the above specifications, but you will need documentation to prove it. Keep all paperwork concerning the car's history with you. That includes any and all automotive repair bills and quotes. You must allow the manufacturer a chance to repair what is wrong with the car. If they cannot, then the next step is to file a complaint.
If your used car turns out to be a lemon, you may need to pay for some of the initial repairs.
If your car is determined to be a lemon and cannot be repaired, you will either:
- Be refunded or receive a replacement vehicle from the manufacturer.
- Need to settle the issue through the manufacturer's informal dispute and settlement program, if necessary and applicable.
- Settle the issue in court, if necessary.
In cases where you are still not given a satisfactory resolution, then you may want to hire an attorney. In New Mexico, under the Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act, you are entitled to a reimbursement of attorney's fees, should the court find in your favor. The New Mexico Attorney General has more to say about your consumer rights and the lemon law on the official website.