louisiana lemon law by findalawyer


									This is TEL-LAW Tape #6058

                                   The Louisiana Lemon Law

       In mid 1980, the Louisiana legislature enacted what is commonly referred to as the

“Lemon Law”. The purpose of the lemon law is to provide for consumer protection for those

who purchase or lease new motor vehicles that do not conform to the manufacturer’s express


       The act defines a consumer to be a purchaser or lessor of a new motor vehicle normally

used for personal, family or household purposes. It appears that occasional business use would

not extent one from the definition as long as the vehicle is normally used for personal, family or

household use. While this definition does not cover the purchase of used car, there is law known

as “redhibition” that protects such purchasers. The definition of consumer also requires that the

vehicle be purchased or leased “subject to a manufacturer’s express warranty”. The

manufacturer’s express warranty means “the written warranty of the manufacturer of a new

vehicle of its condition for fitness and use” and therefore the extent and nature of the warranty is

decided by the written terms of the manufacturer. Generally cars, vans, and trucks are covered

but not motor homes, trailers or motorcycles.

       The act defines “non-conformity” as “any specific or generic defect or malfunction,

where any defect or condition which substantially impairs the use and/or market value of the

motor vehicle.”

       If the vehicle does not conform to an express warranty and the consumer reports this to

the dealer or manufacturer, the vehicle must be repaired although the act does not provide for

damages to the consumer when the repair is refused. Even so, the consumer must make the

vehicle available for repair before the expiration of the warranty or before one year from the date
the consume takes possession of the vehicle, whichever is earlier. Since most vehicle warranties

are in excess of one year, the standard being three years or 36,000 miles, the consumer usually

only has one year within which to utilize the lemon law. However, if the warranty is only six

months, then the lemon law applies only for those six months.

       A non-conformity is presumed if a vehicle is out of service for a cumulative total of thirty

days or more or is the same non-conformity has been the subject of repair four or more times.

That means, any one or group of non-conformities that cause the vehicle to be out of service for

over thirty days can constitute non-conformity. However, fewer than thirty days can lapse if a

single problem is attempted to be repaired four or more times without any result.

       It is unfortunately arguable that the thirty-day out-of-service period of four or more

time’s repair occurs within the warranty term or during the one year following the date of

original delivery.

       If either way of non-conformity occurs, the dealer has the option to replace the vehicle or

rescind the sale. That is, you get a comparable vehicle or your money back. If the manufacturer

rescinds the sale, the purchaser is entitled to any amounts paid at the point of sale such as

governmental charges such as taxes and all other collateral cost, less a reasonable allowance for

the use of the vehicle.

       If a manufacturer establishes an informal dispute settlement procedure a consumer cannot

bring a lawsuit until the procedure is completed. The manufacturer must establish what is called

an “informal dispute mechanism” and advise the consumer of its availability. This is usually

done within the owner’s manual supplied with the vehicle. The manufacturer must pay for and

completely inspect the mechanism and cannot charge consumers for any fee of its use. The

mechanism established written operating procedures, shall investigate, gather and organize all
information necessary for a fair decision, and must render a decision within forty days. If the

consumer is dissatisfied with this decision, then the consumer can sue in court.

       The consumer must surrender a clear title to the manufacturer once its decides whether it

will refund or replace the vehicle. The manufacturer is obligated to return the purchase price or

provide a comparable new vehicle within thirty days after title is transferred or within thirty days

of the decision by the informal dispute settlement mechanism.

       All other rights or remedies provided to a consumer are available in addition to the rights

and remedies of the lemon law. As a consequence, the laws of “redhibition”, ___________”,

“Fraud”, and “failure of consideration” actions are always available in addition to the lemon law.

These different causes of actions may provide a consumer with protection when purchasing used

vehicle or vehicles that otherwise do not fit within the lemon law and an attorney should be

consulted. Lemon law also provides the consumer with reasonable attorney’s fees if suit must be

filed and a judgment is rendered in the consumer’s favor.

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