the Amer­i­can way

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Cover Story -

Most US states de­fine a lemon as a ve­hi­cle with a sig­nif­i­cant fault that can’t be fixed in three or four at­tempts, or is out of ser­vice for 30 days, in the first 12-24 months.

Some states al­low only one at­tempt to fix a safety re­lated fault, on the ba­sis that a con­sumer should not have to risk his or her life sev­eral times for a safety de­fect.

Cal­i­for­nia passed the first lemon law in the US in 1970 af­ter a Ford lob­by­ist, who was asked how many times was rea­son­able to re­pair a ve­hi­cle un­der war­ranty, an­swered that some­times even 40 was not enough for an elu­sive elec­tri­cal prob­lem.

Be­fore the lemon laws, Amer­i­can con­sumers ob­tained only 500 re­funds from man­u­fac­tur­ers an­nu­ally. To­day there are more than 100,000 ‘‘buy­backs’’ each year.

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