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Phone: 804-282-7900
The Consumer Law Group, P.C.

When buying a used car, how can I tell if it was returned under the Lemon Law?

Purchasing a used vehicle is often a good economical decision. Unfortunately, doing so comes with certain risks. One risk that many consumers may be unaware of is the chance that the used vehicle they are considering may have formerly been a lemon that was returned to the dealer under Virginia’s Lemon Law.

Protect Yourself From Purchasing a Lemon Law Buyback

What can you do to protect yourself as a consumer? Consider the following four tips:

  1. Use the car’s Vehicle Identification Number to confirm its repair history. This can be done via a request for a repair history to the dealer selling you the car. Some, but not all repairs can be discovered through a Car Fax, so get a Car Fax and an Autocheck vehicle repair history report. If you see that the car has undergone frequent repairs, this may indicate that it was a lemon. At that point, you can call the vehicle’s manufacturer and use the VIN to obtain the vehicle’s defect history.
  2. If you are buying or leasing the car from a dealer, ask for a copy of the vehicle’s defect history from the dealer. It is important to do this before finalizing the transaction.
  3. Remember that the Lemon Law imposes disclosure obligations on the manufacturers and dealers who are involved in the resale or lease of returned vehicles.
  4. Always ask the sales manager what damages and defects the vehicle has. Ideally, you should have a witness with you who will be able to confirm that he told you there are no damages or vehicular problems, since later, if problems do arise, he may deny saying that the vehicle had no problems.

If you already purchased a used vehicle and have since discovered that it was a lemon buyback, you may have a claim if the dealer did not disclose the vehicle’s defect history. First, it is important to contact an experienced attorney who can explain your rights and help you pursue compensation. Next, consider contacting the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board at 804-367-1100. The MVDB may suggest that you file a claim with the Virginia Motor Vehicle Transaction Recovery Fund. This Fund is designed to reimburse consumers who have suffered losses or damages in connection with the purchase of a motor vehicle due the actions of licensed or registered car dealers or salespersons, often having obtained a judgement versus the dealer for fraud.

If you purchased a vehicle that turned out to be a lemon, we encourage you to act quickly, because strict time limitations apply. Contact us today at 804-282-7900 for more information.