Tennessee Lemon Law
The lemon law in Tennessee only applies to certain vehicles. Eligibility is based on the vehicle’s defect, the manufacturer’s warranty and the vehicle type. The law helps protect new buyers from faulty cars still under the vehicle warranty. A consumer may file a claim if several attempts have been made to fix the problem. Alternatively, a consumer may file if he or she has been unable to use the vehicle for 30 days due to the defect. Only new vehicles qualify for benefits under the law. Used car lemon law policies are not recognized in Tennessee.
What is the Lemon Law in Tennessee?
The Tennessee lemon law grants vehicle owners the right to request refunds or replacements for defective cars still under warranty. However, not all vehicles qualify. The following criteria must be met before a claim may be filed:
- The vehicle was sold or leased in or after 1987;
- The vehicle is newly purchased or leased in the state of Tennessee; and
- The defect significantly affects your ability to operate the vehicle as designed.
In addition to the above new car lemon law rules, the owner must also make repeated attempts to fix the issue through the manufacturer. There are two repair procedures for eligible vehicles:
- The owner must make three attempts during the lemon law warranty period to fix the issue; or
- The vehicle must be non-operational for 30 days or more as a result of the defect.
A 30-day used car lemon law allowance is not given to second-hand vehicles. The vehicle must be new for a lemon law claim to be processed.
How does the Lemon Law work in Tennessee?
Once a vehicle has been classified as a lemon, you have the right to process a lemon law claim to the manufacturer. The following steps must be completed to initiate the process.
- Submit a written notification to the manufacturer detailing the malfunction. This letter must be sent via certified mail. Fees may apply.
- Allow 10 days for the manufacturer to repair the defect.
- Follow the guidelines that are laid out in the manufacturer settlement policy, if applicable. In some cases, you may be contractually obliged to follow specific arbitration rules before applying the state’s lemon law to your case. However, these decisions are not final. State lemon law policies allow consumers to seek further legal action if they are not satisfied with the manufacturer’s settlement.
Lawsuits must be filed within six months of the lemon law warranty’s expiration date or within one year of purchasing the vehicle.
Consumers are entitled to a full refund or replacement vehicle if their claim is successful. However, depending on the situation, a lemon law buyback may not include the full price. A manufacturer may deduct a reasonable amount of money for the use of the vehicle between purchasing it and returning it.
The state’s lemon law definition separates leased vehicles from purchased ones. Both types of vehicles follow slightly different refund rules. If a leased vehicle is refunded, the consumer and the lessor will both receive refund payments. Customers who purchased a vehicle will be refunded the sale price plus any incidental costs. These costs may include taxes, service fees and insurance payments. If a lienholder is present, the loan will be paid back in full.
Replacement vehicles must be the same make and model as the first vehicle issued. Furthermore, all accessories and adjustments must be present in the replacement car.
Tennessee Lemon Law Lawyers
Consumers have the right to fight unsatisfactory lemon law verdicts. Seeking legal advice early on in your claim will help you build a stronger case and gain a better understanding of your options. Lemon law attorneys are equipped with the experience and knowledge to collect the right evidence, file the proper paperwork and utilize all areas of the law.
It is worth noting that in certain cases, the consumer may recoup legal fees if a claim is successful. Therefore, hiring a lemon law lawyer to build your case will not only help you win the claim but may also leave you with zero to little out-of-pocket legal costs.
Additional New and Used Car Laws in Tennessee
There are additional Tennessee used car laws to help protect consumers when purchasing vehicles. See below for a brief outline of three of these laws.
- Title and registration violation law – Sellers or buyers who knowingly enter false information on a new or used car title application will be subject to a class c misdemeanor. Having the correct information on a car’s title protects sellers and new owners alike.
- Chop shop used car law – This law prevents people from altering and storing stolen parts in order to sell or disguise the identity of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part.
- Disclosure of personal information law – It is illegal for a consumer’s personal information on his or her motor vehicle record to be unlawfully disclosed by an employee or departmental office, unless consent is given.
How to Tell if Your New Car Is a Lemon in Tennessee
Not all cars are classified as lemons. Find out if your vehicle is protected under the state’s lemon law by asking yourself the following questions after buying a car.
- Did I buy my vehicle in Tennessee and is it new?
- Does the defect impair my ability to operate the vehicle as promised?
- Have I tried to fix the defect more than three times or has my vehicle been out-of-service as a result of the defect for more than 30 days?
If you answered yes to all of the above questions, you may be eligible for a refund or replacement vehicle. Federal lemon laws are different for each state. Make sure you are aware of Tennessee’s specific rules before you begin the claim process.