Does The Lemon Law Protect You When You Buy Something Other Than A Car Or Truck?

Michigan’s Lemon Law protects buyers of new car or trucks in the state of Michigan. People often ask, “What if I buy a motorhome or boat that is defective?” Since the lemon law does not apply to such a sale, “Am I out of luck?” The answer is NO, there are many things you can do if you have purchased a defective product in the state of Michigan which is not covered by the Lemon Law.

There are two sources of protection which are of great interest to consumers: the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the Consumer Protection Act. Keep these in mind when ANY product you buy does not perform as it should. The Magnuson Moss Warranty Act (“The Act”) is a Federal law that protects buyers of virtually any goods sold in the US which came with an express written warranty. The law is sometimes called the “Federal Lemon Law” but do not think that it applies only to cars and trucks. It applies to any consumer goods which cost more than $25.00, if those goods came with a warranty. Under the Act, a manufacturer may designate its warranties as “Full” or “Limited,” but they must do so clearly. If a manufacturer, or someone else who is obligated under the warranty, fails to remedy a defect as spelled out in the warranty after a reasonable number of repair attempts, the Act requires the manufacturer to either refund the purchase price or replace the product.

If the manufacturer refuses to refund or replace as required by the Act, as they often do, you may have to file suit to get satisfaction. However, the law is very strong, and allows you to not only recover your damages, such as your purchase price, but also your attorney fees and court costs. This means that an attorney skilled in this area should be able to evaluate your situation and take your case without charging you anything out of your pocket for your fees.

The Consumer Protection Act also protects you when you buy something that doesn’t work, or when you get trick, misled or swindled in a transaction. This State law prohibits a whole laundry list of activities, some of which we have discussed in this column in the past. However, the most important for the purchasers of defective warrantied goods is the provision that makes it illegal to fail to provide “promised benefits.” The courts of this state have ruled that a warranty is a promised benefit, and that a manufacturer or seller that fails to honor its warranty is violating this section of the MCPA. Further, remember that a warranty is not a promise to work on your product; it’s a promise that they will fix it. This distinction is important, because otherwise, the seller could keep working on your boat or RV, never fix it right, and just waste your time in giving you the runaround.

The MCPA also allows for you to recover your damages (or $250, whichever is greater) as well as your attorney’s fees and costs. Again, This means that an attorney skilled in this area should be able to evaluate your situation and take your case without charging you anything out of your pocket for your fees.

These two laws have been used successfully by buyers of cars, trucks, boats, RV’s, motorcycles, personal watercraft, computers, appliances, furniture, and photocopiers which did not work right. Remember: it doesn’t have to be a car or truck. If you own any consumer product which is defective, these other laws will protect you.

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