Lemon Law in Tennessee
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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.
The official website of the Tennessee Attorney General offers some information regarding the Lemon Law, as does the Department of Commerce and Insurance (C&I).
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 four attempts, or is unable to be used for 30 cumulative days while under warranty.
The original Tennessee Lemon Law, which came into effect in 1984, was revised in 1986 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 can find the complete terms and conditions regarding motor vehicle warranties and the lemon law, by visiting Tennessee's LexisNexis website. Information provided regards:
- Terms and definitions
- Nonconforming vehicles
- Vehicle repair and replacement
- Term of protection, presumptions, notice to manufacturer
- Procedure for informal dispute settlement
- Statute of limitations
- Costs, expenses, and attorney fees recovered
- Repair order copy
- Election of remedies
- Commencing action against dealers (selling and leasing)
- Manufacturer's warranty
Complete instructions for navigating the site are provided by the C&I.
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 a year from purchase or the beginning of the warranty term.
You can initiate a lawsuit within one year from when you purchase your vehicle or it's delivered to you; or within six 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.
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