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Did that cherry of a hot rod turn out to be a lemon of a clunker? There's good news―under Tennessee's Lemon Law, you are protected against being stuck with what you thought was a smart purchase.
According to Tennessee, a "lemon" is a motor vehicle that falls into each of these categories:
- Sold or leased after January 1, 1987.
- Has a problem that impairs safe use of the vehicle, or reduces resale market value.
- Can't be repaired (by the dealer or manufacturer) after 3 attempts, or is unable to be used for a cumulative period of 30 days or more while under warranty.
The original Tennessee Lemon Law was revised with more clear-cut and effective terms, and only applies to vehicles that are purchased new. The Lemon Law not only protects you from being stuck with a lemon―it also informs you of your rights. If your vehicle meets the requirements under the Lemon Law, the manufacturer must replace the vehicle or issue you a refund (minus a reasonable amount of money for use of the vehicle).
You should contact the manufacturer of the vehicle through certified mail with information about your possible lemon. If they can't repair your vehicle within 10 days, you must begin the informal dispute procedure provided by the manufacturer (if they provide one) before your vehicle is replaced or your money is refunded.
If you think you have a lemon, you can contact a Lemon Law attorney to begin formal legal action. Report it as soon as you can within 1 year from the date of delivery of the vehicle or the beginning of the warranty term.
You can initiate a lawsuit within 1 year from when you took delivery of your vehicle or within 6 months of when your warranty has expired (this doesn't include extended warranties), whichever is the later date. You should consult your attorney before your time expires, to preserve your rights.
For more detailed information about the Tennessee Lemon Law, or if you feel you may have purchased a lemon, visit the Department of C&I section of the official State of Tennessee website. You may also contact the Division of Consumer Affairs at (615) 741-4737 or (800) 342-8385.