Auto manufacturers must repurchase thousands of defective cars annually because of repair difficulties. Even some new cars are defective and have issues that affect reliability, safety and/or value. If the consumer proves their case, the manufacturer usually must buy the car back. Those lemon vehicles are resold by the car manufacturer, whether or not they are fixed. They can yet again be on the roads and in repair facilities.
Many people think that the titles of these cars note that they are lemons. If so noted, future shoppers would know that the history of the car is questionable. But this is not always true.
Each state has a lemon law that establishes minimum guidelines for car repairs under warranty. If a car or truck cannot be fixed after several tries, or in a certain period of time, the auto manufacturer needs to buy it back from the owner or replace it.
In many states, these lemon cars are resold to auto consumers, and many buyers are unaware of the history of said vehicle.
A vehicle with a non-standard history may have a special sort of title. In some states, the titles are noted to tell owners or buyers that the car has a history. If the car was sold as salvage because an auto insurance company deemed it a complete loss, ‘salvage’ may appear on the title.
But the ways that the various states handle branding of titles can differ. Did you know that fewer than one-third of U.S. states mandate any title branding when a car is rebought under the lemon law for a state? As not every state brands titles, a transfer of the vehicle to a state that does not brand titles can get that notation removed from the title.
Carfax and similar title-tracking companies should be able to identify a car that had a branded title at some point. However, few states that brand titles will refer to them as lemons. They may use an odd phrase, such as ‘manufacture repurchase,’ which may not alert the buyer that the car was a lemon. Many companies will gloss over such things and note that the car was sold at an auction by the dealer, and the buyer should not worry about it.
Reporting companies also may state that the repurchased car did not ever have a branded title, even though it was repurchased under the state’s lemon law. There not being a brand on the title only means it was returned to a state that does not brand titles.
Thus, you should never assume a used car with a ‘clean’ title is not a lemon. Check the title history and look for any sign that shows the vehicle was owned or sold by the auto manufacturer after it was sold to a consumer.
If you think that you may have unknowingly bought a lemon car or truck in California, contact the lemon law attorneys at Neale & Fhima today for a free case consultation.