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Consumer protection under Maryland’s Lemon Law

Maryland’s Lemon Law protects consumers in the state who purchase or lease defective vehicles. The law covers cars, motorcycles, and light trucks that are less than two years old and that have fewer than 18,000 miles on their odometers. When authorized dealers are not able to repair persistent problems, the Lemon Law entitles consumers to a replacement vehicle or a refund. However, the Lemon Law only covers vehicles registered in Maryland that have developed issues that substantially impair their values or usefulness.

Lemon Law issues

Dealers are usually given four opportunities to repair vehicle problems before the Lemon Law goes into effect, but braking system or steering issues that would cause a vehicle to fail a safety inspection must be corrected in only one visit. If you believe that you have purchased a lemon, you should contact the vehicle manufacturer right away. You do not have to wait until a dealer has tried to fix the car, light truck, or motorcycle four times. When a manufacturer learns about a potential lemon, it has 30 days to effect adequate repairs.

Lemon Law remedies

When manufacturers are unable to repair vehicles within 30 days, they must offer consumers a refund or an equivalent replacement vehicle. Consumers can choose to reject a replacement vehicle and demand a refund. If they do, they will receive the purchase price of the vehicle less sales tax and up to 15% for wear and tear. Manufacturers may also deduct money for damage in excess of normal wear and tear.

Lemon Law lawsuits

The vast majority of Lemon Law cases settle at the negotiating table or during arbitration, but manufacturers sometimes argue that vehicle problems are the result of modifications the consumer made or claim that the car, light truck, or motorcycle developed issues because it was being used for a purpose it was not designed for. In these situations, attorneys with experience in auto dealer fraud and lemon law cases may advocate on behalf of consumers.