Navigating The Utah Lemon Law: Your Rights As A Motor Vehicle Owner
There’s nothing more frustrating than buying a car only for it to turn out to be a complete dud.
Not only have you spent a load of cash on your new car, but you’ve also spent time and energy finding the perfect vehicle.
Lemon is a term used to describe a defective car. In other words, you purchased a car that you thought was in great condition but turned out to be a nonconforming vehicle, meaning it doesn’t operate as it should or needs significant repairs.
It is estimated that around 150,000 cars sold in the U.S. each year are lemons, which is about 1% of new vehicles.
Source: PR Newswire
The good news is that if you purchased or registered a car in Utah, you have certain rights if you find out your new vehicle is a lemon. This is called the Utah Lemon Law.
🍋 What Is the Utah Lemon Law?
The Lemon Law came into effect back in 1975 when the Federal government signed off on something called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
The purpose of the act was to protect consumers in all states from deceitful warranty practices.
Although not all products are required to have a warranty, if your car has one, it must comply with the details of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
In Utah, the Lemon Law is in place so that if you buy a defective car, you can get a refund for your purchase, or the vehicle must be replaced.
The law states that an arbitration process must take place between the person who purchased the car and the manufacturer to determine the refund or replacement details.
|⚖️ What Is Lemon Law Arbitration?
Arbitration is a legal process where disputes are resolved outside of a court. In terms of the Lemon Law, both the owner of the vehicle and the manufacturer must agree to arbitration. An arbitrator will then make a decision to resolve the dispute.
You can check your car’s owner’s manual to learn more about pursuing arbitration with the manufacturer.
Keep reading, as we will share more information on the Lemon Law arbitration process later in this article.
What qualifies as a lemon car?
The Utah Lemon Law applies to vehicles in the following scenarios. The vehicle must:
🚗 Have been purchased in Utah.
🚗 Be intended for use on highways.
🚗 Be under warranty.
🚗 Must weigh less than 12,000 pounds.
🚗 Must have a defect that would impair the car’s use, safety, and market value.
🚗 Must have undergone repairs for the same defect at least four times.
It’s worth noting that any defect as a result of abuse, neglect, or modifications doesn’t fall under Utah’s Lemon Law. In other words, if you’ve accidentally hit a curb and it has caused issues with your car, the Lemon Law won’t apply.
The Lemon Law for a new motor vehicle
The Utah Lemon Law covers new cars if they meet the requirements listed above and are covered by an express warranty.
Also, any repairs must have been carried out within the Lemon Law rights period.
In Utah, the period is either two years after the date you received the vehicle or the first 24,000 miles of operation—whichever comes first.
The Lemon Law for used vehicles
Unfortunately, Utah’s Lemon Law doesn’t apply to a used motor vehicle, even if it is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.
The Lemon Laws in this state don’t protect the:
❌ Purchaser of a used car.
❌ Lessee of the vehicle.
❌ Transferee of the car.
Lemon Laws for used cars are only applicable in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Minnesota.
The Lemon Law for leased vehicles
In Utah, the Lemon Law does apply to leased vehicles. However, to qualify, the car must be:
✅ A new vehicle.
✅ Currently under a manufacturer’s warranty.
The Lemon Law for a motor home
Lemon Laws in Utah don’t cover motor homes that are used for:
❌ A mobile dwelling.
❌ Office space.
❌ Commercial space.
The Lemon Law for motorcycles
If you purchase a new motorcycle in Utah and it turns out to be a lemon, it is covered by the Lemon Law.
However, remember that one of the main requirements for a lemon is that the vehicle—a motorcycle, in this case—is intended to be driven on highways.
So, off-road motorcycles and mopeds aren’t covered by the Lemon Law.
🍋 What Is the Reasonable Number of Repair Attempts?
If you want to file a Lemon Law claim in Utah, you must have taken your car for repairs at least four times for the same defect.
The only exception to this rule is if the issue with the vehicle poses a safety risk. If this is the case, the Federal Lemon Law reduces the number of failed repairs to three attempts.
The manufacturer must provide you with the name of a reasonably accessible repair facility to take your vehicle to for the final attempt at repairs.
If, after all the repair attempts for a vehicle have been completed, your car is still not running as it should, you are entitled to return it for a cash refund or receive an identical product in return.
Lemon laws also stipulate how many days your vehicle is in for repairs. In Utah, this is 30 days.
In other words, if your car is at a repair shop for any warranty-covered defects for more than 30 days—which don’t have to be consecutive—you can also get a refund or a new vehicle.
🍋 What is Consumer Protection in Relation to the Utah Lemon Law?
Although each state in the U.S. has its own version of the Lemon Law, one basic part of it stays the same throughout the country: vehicle owners are entitled to compensation if they purchase a lemon.
Consumer protection means that the manufacturer must do one of the following if a vehicle has been deemed a lemon:
✅ Buy back the vehicle and pay the owner the full purchase price for the car. An amount may be deducted from the purchase price to account for mileage.
✅ Replace the vehicle with an identical car that is in working condition. It will typically be the same model and make.
✅ Provide a cash settlement.
For more information, you can visit the Utah Department of Consumer Protection website or call them at (801) 530-6601.
🍋 A Step-by-Step Guide for Lemon Law Claims
If you decide to make a Lemon Law claim in Utah, here are the steps you must follow.
📃 Gather your evidence
You will need to be able to prove that your vehicle has defects and that you completed the reasonable number of repair attempts.
For this reason, you need all the records that detail your service history and any repair work carried out.
📞 Get in touch with the vehicle manufacturer
Once you have all your proof lined up, it’s time to contact the manufacturer of the vehicle you believe is a lemon.
If the manufacturer doesn’t provide you with a refund or a new car, you will need to enter the arbitration process mentioned above.
👨⚖️ Take legal action
You will need to apply for arbitration. You don’t need an attorney for arbitration, but you may want to hire one to help you navigate the complexity of the Lemon Law.
There are two types of arbitration you may need to follow:
State lemon arbitration
This type of arbitration is black and white. Either you will get a full refund or no reward at all, which will be decided by the arbitrator.
In this process, the arbitrator can award additional repairs, a partial refund, or even a full refund, depending on the circumstances.
If you are not happy with the outcome of manufacturer-sponsored arbitration, you can request state arbitration.
|⚠️ How to Avoid Buying a Lemon
Ensure that the vehicle you buy has a warranty and that you know the warranty period.
Inspect the car thoroughly and always take it for a road test.
Make sure that the dealer has completed something called ‘dealer prep,’ which is certain services that need to be performed on the car before it is delivered to you.
Check that the car you receive is exactly what you ordered. You can compare the receipted bill of sale against the car and the window sticker.
⭐️ Avoid a Lemon with Expert Advice from Burt Brothers
As a family-owned business, we care deeply about our customers. We want you to have the best and safest driving experience from a vehicle that will last a lifetime.
If you are concerned that your car might be a lemon or if you require any repairs, visit our website to schedule an appointment for your vehicle.
With us, you get an expert opinion on any defects your car may have and reliable repairs at an affordable price.
Schedule a zero-commitment appointment
to get the help you need, fast.