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My New Car is a Lemon

On a Monday, you sign on the dotted line and get the keys to a new – or new to you – car. By Thursday, your new ride is pouring smoke from under the hood. You feel like you’ve just been taken advantage of, you’re frustrated, and you’re mad. You just cannot believe that you paid a lot of good money for this hunk of junk. The main question is: what can you do about it?

The answer depends on whether your new car has a warranty. Nearly all brand new cars (that is, zero miles on the odometer at sale) are purchased with a warranty, and Mississippi’s lemon law requires the manufacturer to take reasonable steps to fix any mechanical problem with the vehicle at no cost to you. If the vehicle cannot be repaired after several attempts, the law presumes your new vehicle to be a “lemon,” entitling you to make a claim for damages or replacement. Lemon law claims are technical, so you should hire a lawyer to guide you through the process. In most instances, you can claim reimbursement of your legal fees from the manufacturer for its breach of a consumer warranty.

If you purchased a used vehicle, your options are likely more limited. Check to see if your vehicle is still under the manufacturer’s warranty. If so, you may have a claim for the manufacturer to repair your vehicle. Also, check to see if the seller of the vehicle issued a warranty as part of the sale, which may cover the cost of repair. Unfortunately for many consumers, Mississippi follows the rule of “buyer beware.” This means that no warranty was issued by the seller as part of your purchase, you will likely be footing the bill for the cost of repair of your newly purchased used car.

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