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Nevada law protects new vehicle buyers who receive a car that doesn't conform to the manufacturer's warranties. This program is called the Lemon Law, and it only applies to new vehicles. (While the state has no Lemon Law for used cars, please see below for dealer responsibilities and repair information.)
According to the Nevada statutes, a lemon is a vehicle with a defect or condition that "substantially impairs the use and value of the motor vehicle to the buyer." While this can include mechanical problems, it could also cover defects such as a persistent noise or anything that makes the vehicle unsafe to drive.
If you've purchased a new vehicle that doesn't run correctly or is otherwise unusable, you'll need to follow this procedure to find resolution under the Lemon Law:
- Notify the manufacturer (not the dealer where you bought the car) in writing before the warranty expiration date or within 1 year of the vehicle delivery date, whichever comes first. The manufacturer or its authorized dealer will then be responsible for making necessary repairs to bring the car to working order.
- If the car still has problems, you should check to see whether the manufacturer of your car has its own in-house procedures for settling disputes before putting into motion the Lemon Law process.
- If the manufacturer does not have its own procedure, or it does but you still did not receive resolution of the issue after reasonable attempts on your part, you can then begin Lemon Law proceedings.
Note: The car must have had 4 attempts to repair the same problem within the warranty period or 1 year, whichever comes first, or the car must have been unavailable because of repairs for at least a culmination of 30 days within the warranty period or 1 year, whichever comes first.
- Once your car meets one of the above criteria, the manufacturer will be compelled to do one of the following:
- Replace your car with a comparable model with the same features or at least substantially close.
- Allow you to return the car and give you a refund of all your money paid, including taxes and registration fees, minus a "reasonable allowance for use."
Under the Lemon Law, a dealer cannot make you sign away your rights to a replacement or refund if your vehicle is defective.
Once a vehicle is returned to the dealer, the dealer must then retitle the vehicle as a Lemon Law buyback. The title will reflect this status, so subsequent buyers know what they're getting. The dealer will also have to give the new buyer a document stating the following:
- "This vehicle was repurchased by its manufacturer because of a defect in the vehicle pursuant to consumer warranty laws. The title to this vehicle has been permanently inscribed with the notation "Lemon Law Buyback."
A decal must also be affixed to the car to designate its status to potential buyers.
Used Car Buyers' Rights
While the Lemon Law doesn't cover used vehicles, buyers still have some protection under Nevada statutes.
A dealer selling a vehicle with more than 75,000 miles on the odometer must include an inspection of the engine and drivetrain, and submit a report of that inspection to the buyer. The dealer is required to disclose any defects he or she knows about.
If the vehicle has problems that weren't disclosed at the time of the sale, you as the buyer will have the right to submit a complaint about the dealer to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The complaint should include a concise statement about the nature of the problem and any relevant facts, copies of repair orders or other documentation that relates to the complaint, and your statement about how you want the matter resolved.
The DMV has 10 days to notify the dealer of the complaint, and to conduct an investigation into the matter. If the dealer is found to have violated industry regulations, he or she will be required to resolve the matter, usually making repairs or taking the vehicle back for a refund of your money.
If the DMV rules against you, you have the right to request an appeal from the director of the DMV, available at:
- Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles
- 555 Wright Way
- Carson City, NV 89711
- Las Vegas area: (702) 486-4368
- Reno, Sparks, and Carson City: (775) 684-4368
- Rural Nevada (toll-free): (877) 368-7828
- TDD: (775) 684-4904
The DMV will keep a record of complaints, and if the dealer in question has received 3 complaints or more, that dealership will be subject to stringent warranty and sales requirements for all future transactions.
Whether you want protection under the Lemon Law for a new or a used car, an attorney who specializes in Lemon Law cases can advocate on your behalf and serve as an intermediary between you and the dealer or manufacturer.Other Topics in This Section