CONSUMER ALERT: ARKANSAS LEMON LAW BENEFITS OWNERS OF PROBLEM CARS

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October 10, 2012

LITTLE ROCK - Car shoppers who choose to buy new cars often do so because of the likelihood that a never-driven vehicle will be more reliable than a used car.

That assurance of reliability, coupled with a manufacturer's warranty, helps justify to consumers the higher cost of a new vehicle compared to a used one. Yet, even brand-new vehicles sometimes experience mechanical problems or contain defects. In those relatively rare instances, consumers have protections under the Arkansas Lemon Law.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this consumer alert today to inform Arkansans about their rights under that law, known officially as the Arkansas New Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act.

McDaniel stressed that Arkansas law does not offer all car buyers a right to return their vehicle in the event of a problem, or even multiple problems. Most used cars are sold "as-is," with the seller not responsible for repairing any defects, known or unknown. New cars are sold with a warranty provided by the manufacturer. During the term of the warranty, defects are repaired by the manufacturer's authorized dealer, but the buyer does not have the option to return the car. In the event a new car suffers multiple defects, though, the buyer loses confidence in the car and in the manufacturer's ability to provide long-lasting repairs. In that case, the car may be a lemon and the Lemon Law may prove beneficial to the buyer.

"The state's Lemon Law is the consumer's last resort to find relief in the event a new vehicle experiences problem after problem," McDaniel said. "Car buyers may be eligible for a replacement or a refund if troubles persist and it is clear that the vehicle is a lemon."

The state's Lemon Law covers most vehicles titled and registered in Arkansas that are less than two years old or have fewer than 24,000 miles. Exceptions are for mopeds, motorcycles, motor-home living quarters, most vehicles weighing more than 6 ½ tons, or vehicles that have been substantially altered after being purchased from the dealer.

Generally, a vehicle is considered a lemon if there have been multiple, unsuccessful attempts to fix a problem that impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle. In addition, if the problems persist to the point that the vehicle has been in the shop for an extended period of time, the Lemon Law may apply.

McDaniel encouraged consumers to immediately report any defects to the dealer or manufacturer, and, keep receipts and records of all problems.

The Attorney General's Office offers a Consumer's Guide To the Arkansas Lemon Law, which offers a detailed explanation of the law and provides helpful tips to Arkansas consumers who believe that their new vehicle may be a lemon.

The guide, which can be downloaded for free from www.GotYourBackArkansas.org, offers consumers a way to assert and complete a Lemon Law claim without having to hire an attorney.

For more information about the state's Lemon Law, or for other consumer-related concerns, call McDaniel's Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982, or visit www.GotYourBackArkansas.org.

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