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Beware of the Lemon Law Buyback

A lemon law buyback is when a manufacturer buys a car back from a consumer for defects that are not fixable. These cars, or lemons, are new and still under warranty.

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Once a reasonable number of repair attempts has been made, the manufacturer is required by law to buy the car back or replace it.

Many manufacturers then take the car, replace the defective part, and resell it.

Some states require a lemon law buyback designation, while others do not recognize that classification.

There have been cases where major manufacturers in the United States have sold these lemon cars as used vehicles without letting the consumer know they were lemons. In some cases, this practice has caused severe injuries because of faulty safety equipment.

This practice, known as lemon laundering, is illegal. Yet despite the law, lemon law buyback cars keep making their way onto the streets!

Lemon Law Buyback Requirements—Manufacturers

In some states, such as California, any car that has been bought back by the manufacturer must be labeled as a lemon if it is resold. The title must also identify the car as a lemon. Unfortunately, many states do not recognize this designation.

Lemon law buyback cars are often shipped to one of these states, where the designation is taken off the title and the car is sold to someone who has no idea that it's a lemon.

Lemon law buyback cars are usually sold as used cars, and as such often do not come with a warranty. The people who buy these cars end up having to pay large repair bills to try to fix the same unfixable problem with their car.

Auto makers will say that they have fixed these cars before selling them, but if the car could be fixed that easily, the manufacturer would never have had to buy it back. Yes, some are fixed, but a majority continue to have the same problems.

How Do I Know That I'm Purchasing a Lemon Law Buyback?

If you're looking to buy a used car, there are ways to make sure it's not a lemon law buyback. CARFAX and AutoCheck can help you find the history of the car.

Or, you can get the vehicle identification number (VIN) off the car and take it to a dealer that services that kind of car. They can look in their computer and find the complete repair history of your car and find out if it was bought back for any reason.

Unfortunately, vehicles come out of the factory with defects. The car companies don't want to foot the bill for these mistakes any more than you do. But you could be protected from these mistakes if they try to resell these lemon law buybacks as quality cars.

Always be careful when buying used cars and, when buying new, be sure to report it if your car is a lemon.

NOTE:The information here is not legal advice and is only presented to you so you can know your options if you purchased a lemon. As with any legal issue, you should seek the advice of a qualified attorney.


 

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