Bought a Lemon? Five Things To Know About Oregon's Lemon Law

Auto Fraud and Lemon Law cases are often tragic.  For many people, a vehicle is the biggest purchase of their lifetime.  They spend thousands of dollars on a vehicle and then the vehicle breaks down.   Most of these people hit the internet and attempt to learn as much as they can about Oregon's lemon law and become misinformed.  I field too many calls from uninformed or misinformed consumers.  The five issues below should dispell many myths about Oregon's Lemon Law and help consumers get a basic understanding of Oregon's lemon law.  Remember if you have questions about Oregon's Lemon Law call an Oregon Lemon Law attorney.

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1) Oregon's Lemon Law Only Applies in Very Limited Circumstances:  Oregon's lemon law does not cover all of Auto Fraud.  It only covers a limited number of vehicle purchases and has certain hurdles that a consumer must jump through.   Basically, Oregon's lemon law may apply if a person is a "consumer" (see below) under the lemon law; the new motor vehicle does not comply with the manufacturer's express warranties; the consumer reports each non-conformity to the manufacturer (think agent or authorized dealer), with the purpose of allowing the manufacturer to repair or correct the defect or non-conformity. The consumer must report the non-conformity during the two year period after the consumer took original delivery of the motor vehicle, or during a period that ends on the date which the vehicle's mileage reaches 24,000 miles, whichever ends first.  The law also requires the consumer to provide direct written notification to the manufacturer and provide the manufacturer the opportunity to correct the non-conformity.  A written request directed to the manufacturer for "informal dispute resolution" can be considered "Notification" to the manufacturer.   In summary, just because you bought a car that broke down does not mean it is a lemon.

2) Oregon's Lemon Law ONLY applies to NEW Vehicles:  Oregon's lemon law only applies to new vehicles.  The law specifically defines who a "consumer" is under the Lemon Law.  Oregon Law defines a "Consumer"  as,  " the purchaser or lessee, other than for purposes of resale, of a new motor vehicle used for personal, family or household purposes. "  The good news with this definition is that it means that the lemon law protects people that buy and lease vehicles.  The bad news for most people is that the law only applies to brand new vehicles.   That doesnt' mean people that bought used vehicles do not have a remedy.  They just can't use the lemon law.  Instead, they may have to bring an action under the Unlawful Trade Practices Act, Magnuson Moss Act, Contract Law, or common law Fraud.  

3) Oregon's Lemon Law Does NOT Give You An Automatic Opportunity to Unwind The Deal:  People often call and tell me they have a thirty day right to return their vehicle after the purchase.  Some consumers say they have three days to return the vehicle, but the dealer won't take the vehicle back.  In most cases that is incorrect.  Oregon's Lemon Law does NOT have a provision that permits a person to automatically unwind the deal within a specified period of time for any reason.   

4) The Vehicle is Presumed a Lemon In Some Circumstances (Think 3 repairs or 30 days):  Oregon's Lemon Law presumes that a vehicle is a lemon if either of the following occurs: 1) the manufacturer (agent or an authorized dealer) has been attempted to repair or coorrect the non-conformatiy three or more times and had an opportunity to cure the defect, OR; 2) the vehicle is out of service for more than 30 calendar days (60 Days for motor homes) for the purpose of making repairs, OR; 3) the non-conformity involves a defect that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury and the manufacturer (agent or authorized dealer) has had at least one chance to repair or corrcect the issue and made a final attempt to correct it and it still exists.   This presumption has certain time limitations and only applies if the manufacturer has received prior direct written notification from a consumer and had the chance to repair the defect.  If the presumption doesn't apply your vehicle may still be a lemon, it just becomes a more difficult case.  

5) If You Have a Lemon You May Receive A Substantial Amount of Money:  If the manufacturer forces the matter to court, did not act in good faith, and you win, then the manufacturer may have to pay the consumer up to three times the amount of any damages.  This amount is capped at $50,000.00 though.  The manufacturer may also be required to pay the consumer's court costs, expert fees, and attorney fees. This provision in the law permits lemon law lawyers, such as myself, to take these cases on a contingent fee

Auto Dealer Fraud and Oregon's lemon law is a complicated area of law.  The law is always changing and much of the rights and obligations of the parties are found in the contracts between them.   What this means is that most consumers are going to need to discuss their matter with a lawyer rather than jumping to conclusions after some brief internet research.  If you have questions call Oregon Lemon Law Lawyer, Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658.  Ross law handles Oregon Auto Fraud and Lemon Law cases in Portland, Salem, Astoria, Hood River, Pendleton, Umatilla, Medford, Roseburg, Bend, and throughout Oregon.

REMEMBER!!! There are exceptions to the five issues above and many of the areas addressed are considered gray areas.  Therefore PLEASE do not rely solely on this post.  The law is constantly changing.  This post is not intended to be legal advise and is attorney advertising.