Anytime someone purchases a big-ticket item it brings a sense of excitement and achievement. This is especially true with the purchase of a new motor vehicle. It is reasonable to expect that a new motor vehicle will last well in excess of 100,000 miles and be something we can rely upon for everyday transportation. However, this is not always true. Sometimes a motor vehicle will not even make it a few hundred miles before needing multiple or lengthy repairs. When this happens, you have likely purchased a “Lemon” and, under federal and Illinois law, you may be entitled to compensation including a refund, a replacement vehicle or a cash settlement.
Federal Law Overview
All states have adopted what are known as “Lemon Laws” which are an offshoot of the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act or better known as the federal “Lemon Law.” Essentially, the federal Act was created to increase transparency in written warranties and to increase the consumer’s protection from unfair warranty coverage for defective products. For more information on the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, please visit our website here.
Illinois’ Solution to Protection Consumers from Lemon Motor Vehicles
Illinois enacted the Illinois New Vehicle Buyer Protection Act, 815 ILCS 380/1 in 1984. This law has become known as the “Illinois Lemon Law.” It provides that a car manufacturer must (1) refund the consumer’s money or (2) replace a “new” motor vehicle if there is a non-conformity in that vehicle which substantially impairs its use, safety, or value.
While the provisions of Illinois law are not triggered unless the non-conformity occurs within the motor vehicle’s first twelve months or the first 12,000 miles, the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act supplements the protections of Illinois law and is not limited to only the vehicle’s first twelve months or 12,000 miles. Accordingly, even if your vehicle has not been subject to repair four (4) or more times for the same non-conformity within either the first year or 12,000 miles or even if it has not been out of service for thirty (30) business days, you may still have recourse under the federal Act.
Additionally, while the Illinois Lemon Law does not apply to all motor vehicle purchases in Illinois, as it only applies to new cars, light trucks, vans under 8,000 pounds and certain recreational vehicles, the federal Act applies to all “consumer products.” Accordingly, federal law can be used to supplement the protections of the Illinois law to bring claims for:
- Used cars;
- Conversion vehicles;
- Boats; and
- Any other consumer product!
It is also important to understand that you do not have an unlimited time to bring claims under either Illinois or federal law. While the Illinois Lemon Law provides that a consumer has only eighteen (18) months to bring a claim, federal law provides a much larger time period and allows consumers four (4) years from the date of a breach of warranty to bring suit for a violation of the federal "Lemon Law."
The experienced attorneys at Krohn and Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center ® have many helpful resources regarding the Lemon Law. We have been successfully representing consumers of lemon products since 1995, and have a long list of successful stories to share with you, including personal testimonials regarding Lemon Law cases. We offer a FREE CASE REVIEW for you to assess whether we can assist you with your matter and a free and quick Lemon Law case evaluator. Please do not hesitate to contact us toll free at 1-800-875-3666 or visit our website at http://www.yourlemonlawrights.com/.