New Mexico Lemon Law
The New Mexico lemon law aligns with federal policies to offer owners of new vehicles consumer protection in the case that they are sold a defective automobile from the manufacturer or a licensed dealer.
While the law primarily refers to new cars, the NM used car lemon law regulates consumer protection policies for some classes of owners of used vehicles as well.
To be deemed a lemon, vehicles must meet certain standards as laid out by applicable New Mexico statutes and as overseen by the NM Automobile Dealers Association.
Once classified as defective, the vehicle owner has the right to receive either a replacement vehicle of equal or higher value or a refund of the original purchase price, minus any deductions.
In many cases, a lemon law attorney can be helpful to owners of new or used vehicles who suspect that they have been sold a lemon seek recourse from the dealer or manufacturer that originally sold the vehicle.
Lawyers can help consumers understand how to qualify for protection under the NM car lemon law and how to petition the car seller for fair reimbursement once the process begins.
While any new or used vehicle can turn out to fit the NM lemon law definition, there are some issues that typically result in a lemon classification. Attentive consumers can watch out for these common problems when buying a car.
Drivers can keep reading for more information about compensation for a defective vehicle under state legislation.
What is the Lemon Law in New Mexico?
In order to qualify for a lemon law buyback in New Mexico, vehicle owners must be able to demonstrate that they meet certain qualifications and that their vehicle is covered under the necessary warranties.
Unlike the 30 day lemon law for a used car found in some states, the basic federal lemon law that forms the basis for New Mexico policies applies to vehicles that are still under their manufacturer’s original warranty or that have been in their owner’s possession for less than one year, whichever is sooner.
According to the law, manufacturers and licensed dealers are required to address any issues with the vehicle in a practical amount of time during this period to make the vehicle conform to the guarantees laid out in the original warranty.
The new car lemon law of New Mexico only applies to vehicle owners that meet certain conditions. This law applies to buyers of automobiles who can meet at least one of the following definitions:
- The person who purchased the vehicle for personal or household use.
- Any person who is transferred the vehicle while it is still under its original vehicle warranty.
- Any person specifically allowed rights under the bylines of the vehicle’s warranty.
Both new and used car laws in New Mexico require that manufacturers and dealers make a reasonable number of attempts to repair the covered problem before the consumer can make a request for compensation.
Once the vehicle meets these conditions, the consumer can petition for compensation. In most cases, a reasonable number of attempts for owners of new vehicles according to the NM Automobile Dealers Association is considered:
- Sending the vehicle to the shop four or more times to repair the same issue OR
- Having the vehicle sit out of service for a cumulative 30 days due to the issue.
Does the New Mexico Lemon Law apply to used cars?
The state lemon law of New Mexico offers limited consumer protection policies for owners of newly purchased used vehicles.
In New Mexico, a limited lemon law warranty is automatically provided to used car purchasers under what is known as the implied warranty of merchantability.
The implied warranty of merchantability provides all purchasers of used cars with a 15-day or 500-mile window to lodge complaints about issues with the vehicle that inhibit its ability to be operated safely on public roadways.
Dealers who attempt to limit this warranty will render the sales contract as voided and be required to reimburse the buyer.
The steps required to meet the used car lemon law criteria are different from those needed for the reimbursement of the cost of new cars.
To begin, the used car laws in New Mexico require consumers to lodge a complaint about issues covered under warranty within 30 days of the appearance of the problem to be able to qualify under consumer protection policies.
Before the vehicle owner can request recourse under the used car lemon law, he or she must have allowed the seller at least two attempts to repair the vehicle of which 50 percent of the costs are the responsibility of the car owner (up to a maximum of $25 for each repair).
Once a used vehicle has been deemed a lemon, the owner is entitled to compensation for the purchase price of the vehicle minus any eligible deductions for use or additional damage.
How does the Lemon Law work in New Mexico?
Consumers can take advantage of the lemon law in New Mexico if they think they have purchased a defective vehicle by contacting the manufacturer or dealer about the serious problem with the vehicle at the first sign of trouble.
According to NM car lemon laws, the seller of the vehicle must be alerted to the problem within the 18 months after receiving the new vehicle and must be given at least four chances to repair the vehicle (unless it has been out of service for 30 days).
Used car lemon law requirements provide for an even shorter window of time to make the initial complaint to the car dealer.
Proof of this correspondence and all repair requests made (and dealer or manufacturer responses) should be kept by the vehicle owner so that he or she can demonstrate having met all necessary requirements of the law before requesting due compensation.
Once a vehicle owner is sure he or she meets the lemon law definition, he or she can request a refund or replacement vehicle under the law’s provisions.
Some manufacturers and dealers have their own dispute resolution process to handle these issues, while others prefer that all such cases are handled by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Vehicle owners should remain aware that both the New Mexico used and new car lemon laws allow for the dealer or manufacturer to subtract deductions for excessive use or additional damage to the vehicle not related to the issue causing it to be declared defective.
In this way, some consumers receive less compensation than they were originally expecting. Hiring a lawyer with experience in the sector can help prevent these sort of issues.
New Mexico Lemon Law Lawyers
Hiring a lemon law attorney is seen as the best option for many vehicle owners who find themselves saddled with a lemon.
In essence, this is because a lemon law lawyer is able to advocate for the rights of the vehicle owner in the legal arena in a way that the typical consumer without experience is unable to do.
While not all cases require professional legal representation, there are several situations that can be easily handled only by those with experience in the area. Some vehicle owners, for example, struggle to get their defective vehicle classified as a lemon.
This could be because the problem is not easy to identify, the number of repair attempts or days out of service is in dispute or any other number of reasons.
Whatever the situation, a trained legal representative is the vehicle owner’s best chance of understanding how to make his or her case to the authorities.
New Mexico lemon law attorneys can also be extremely helpful in situations when the vehicle owner and the manufacturer or dealer who sold the vehicle are in disagreement over the amount of fair compensation due to the owner.
While the purchase price is usually used as a basis in NM lemon law buyback cases, the amount of allowed deduction for usage or additional damage can easily be up for debate.
Legal advocates who are familiar with the laws and legal procedures required to receive compensation generally cost a small fee, but sometimes work only on commission to be received after the buyer has gotten a fair outcome.
How to Tell if Your New Car Is a Lemon
For most consumers, the lemon law warranty that is automatically included in most car purchases is a protection plan they hope they will never need.
Surprisingly, tens of thousands of vehicles end up meeting the lemon law definition every year, requiring manufacturers and dealers to pay back millions in lost revenue.
Every New Mexico consumer should get the vehicle he or she is considering buying checked out by a professional before making the final purchase.
If shopping for a new car, looking into recent recall notices and consumer complaints about the type of vehicle to be purchased may be able to prevent future problems.
When buying used cars, a vehicle history report can inform the consumer of previous issues. When checking for serious issues, consumers should watch out for the most common issues like:
- Gas and mileage defects.
- Electrical system defects.
- Engine defects.
- Shifting defects.
- Steering defects.