Taking Action

How do I contact the warrantor or manufacturer?

Luckily, your entitlement to a refund, partial refund or replacement isn’t up to the manufacturer. It’s up to YOU! It’s your right as a consumer. The Lemon Laws give you the right to receive a refund, replacement, or partial refund once you have provided them with a reasonable number of attempts to cure any warranted problem.

Manufacturers often refuse to honor your rights and demands because they know many consumers just give up and go away. Giving out new products or full refunds is expensive. It’s something that manufactures absolutely hate to do and they would prefer that you just go away. Although hard to believe, many short-sighted companies would rather lose loyal customers than give out new products or refunds.

At least that is how they often act when you present your reasons for dissatisfaction with their product and demand for a refund. They seem to believe that it is more beneficial to lose a customer than to ensure future sales by handling a consumer complaint in a prompt and courteous manner. “We have your money, now go away” seems to be their mentality. The Lemon Law empowers you to act—so you don’t have to accept this!

Want to Get Heard? Get It In Writing

Make your complaint and demand in writing to the warrantor. Emails, phone calls, and customer satisfaction forms are easy to disregard and are often lost between customer service, technical service and the circular file. To have the best chance of a favorable response, take pen to paper and draft a clear and concise letter describing:

  • Your problems
  • Attempts to correct the problems
  • Your demands for a remedy after the warrantor’s previous corrective attempts have failed

Send your letter to the company’s corporate headquarters or the headquarters of the division of the company that makes your product. Someone from the company should then attempt to contact you to discuss a resolution within 10 business days.

Stonewalled: “I was not contacted” or “They won’t give me a refund.”

Now it’s time to call a professional. Once you have done all you can do to try to amicably resolve the issue directly, you should get your own advisor. He or she will talk you though the benefits of formal claims to obtain the remedies to which you are entitled.

Remember, the manufacturer just wants you to drop it or accept whatever paltry substitution they offer as their version of relief under the Lemon Law. Do four free oil changes sound a fair trade for a $30,000 vehicle that doesn’t function? Don’t give up.

The manufacturer only stalls and substitutes because it has worked for them in the past. Many consumers simply give up at this point and take the loss themselves. However, the second primary benefit of the Lemon Law is that the manufacturer has to pay for the cost of your counselor and legal advisor when you have a valid claim. Call a professional who can advise 1) if your claims are valid and 2) what you can expect from pursuing your rights in a more formal way with the help of your very own advocate. You’ll be glad you did.

The Implied Warranty: Your Last Hope

Like everything else created in the legal world, you have your limitations, exceptions, exclusions, terms and conditions, yadda, yadda…Lemon Laws of course are no exception. Remember when we mentioned that Lemon Laws don’t provide any protections you don’t already have? This is mostly true, but with one big exception: the implied warranty.

If anyone has been bored enough to pour over the fine print of any sales document, you probably have seen the language stating something to the effect of: “seller disclaims all implied warranties including all warranties of merchantability and any warranties for fitness for a particular purpose, and any express warranties which may have been given contain buyer’s sole and exclusive remedies,” and so on.

Look at any sales contract. It’s there, or at least it’s almost always there. This is because those enacting the law almost did something really great. But they allowed a loophole for sellers and manufacturers to get out of it, and sort of defeated the purpose. What they enacted for our protection is called the implied warranty.

An implied warranty is your last, your best—but your slimmest—hope of relief. If it was not disclaimed. Most sellers, though, have crafted disclaimers to eliminate the implied warranty. So without a warranty at the time of sale, or if you purchased the product “AS-IS” you will likely have a difficult time with the seller or warrantor. Again, this protection tends to be very limited and expires quickly so make sure to read to the end and act fast if it applies in your jurisdiction.

Per the FTC (and other sources) at least the following states have restrictions on when an implied warranty may be disclaimed: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. There may be others. If you have any doubt whether or not the implied warranty applies to your purchase, seek the advice of a professional.

Interested in learning more? Get our free report, The Top 5 Lemon Law Mistakes Made by Consumers by completing the form on the right.