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Nevada’s Lemon Laws

A “lemon” is a vehicle that has substantial problems. Nevada has passed tough lemon laws to protect consumers, who often make large investments with the expectation their vehicle will work properly. When it doesn’t, a consumer could see tens of thousands of dollars go down the drain.

Nevada’s lemon laws are strong, and consumers can rely on them to get a replacement vehicle or reimbursement of the purchase price. Far too many Nevadans are unaware of their rights, however, so our Las Vegas car accident lawyer provides the following overview.

When Lemon Laws Apply

These laws can be found in the Nevada Revised Statutes §§ 597.600-597.688. They apply to motor vehicles, which is defined to include any self-propelled vehicle apart from electric scooters and electric bicycles. The laws generally do not apply to motorhomes or off-road vehicles.

Manufacturers are targeted by the laws. If you purchase a defective vehicle from a used car dealership, for example, you might have certain rights. But you won’t have them under the lemon laws discussed in this article.

Who Nevada’s Lemon Laws Protect

NRS 597.600 states that “buyers” are protected and defines the term to include people who purchase or have a contract to purchase a motor vehicle for personal or family/household use. Buyers also include anyone entitled to enforce the terms of the warranty or anyone who receives transfer of the vehicle while the manufacturer’s express warranty is applicable.

A Manufacturer’s Obligations to a Buyer

The laws explain what the manufacturer must do in the event there is a defect. NRS 597.610 states that the manufacturer must make necessary repairs so that the vehicle actually conforms to the express warranties.
When the manufacturer cannot adequately repair the defect after “a reasonable number of attempts,” the vehicle is a lemon. The laws state the manufacturer must do one of the following:

  • Replace the defective vehicle with one that is the same model with comparable features
  • Accept the return of the vehicle and refund the full purchase price, including all taxes, fees, and government charges, less an allowance for the use of the vehicle

The law also defines what qualifies as a “reasonable number” of attempts to repair the vehicle:

  • At least four unsuccessful attempts to repair the same defect within one year or within the express warranty, whichever occurs earlier
  • The vehicle is out of service for at least 30 days within the express warranty or within a year, whichever occurs earlier

Here are some examples. Melissa’s steering column is defective, and it has been in the shop for more than 30 days getting fixed. Because the defective column substantially impairs her ability to use the car, she has rights under Nevada’s lemon laws.

The same is true if a problem with the axle prevents Michael from using his new pickup truck. If the manufacturer has made four unsuccessful attempts to fix it, he has been sold a lemon. His truck should be replaced or, if it can’t be, he should be reimbursed for his purchase.

Making a Claim Under Nevada’s Lemon Laws

It is critical that a consumer properly notify the manufacturer of any defects so that they can be corrected. Proper notification is also necessary to preserve your rights under the lemon laws.

A manufacturer might have created a program for handling complaints. If so, you must go through them first before you can file a lawsuit in court. If there is no special program, you must provide a complaint to the manufacturer in writing that describes the vehicle defects. We recommend sending any letter certified mail, return receipt requested to prove that the letter was received.

Deadlines for Making a Complaint to the Manufacturer

Consumers don’t have an indefinite amount of time to make a complaint. Instead, NRS 597.610 states that consumers must notify the manufacturer in writing before the earlier of these two deadlines:

  • The expiration of the manufacturer’s express warranties
  • One year from the date the vehicle is delivered to the original buyer

For example, there might only be two months left on the express warranty. This means that you must provide proper notice to the manufacturer within this window.

Note also that the one-year deadline begins to run from the date of delivery to the “original” buyer. This might not be you. Hold onto all paperwork and quickly contact an attorney if you have a question.

Manufacturer Responsibilities after Buying Back a Lemon

Three different provisions lay out additional duties that the manufacturer has after it buys back a lemon: NRS 597.682, 597.684, 597.686. Generally, the manufacturer must do the following:

  • Reimburse the dealer for the costs of the repairs
  • Retitle the vehicle in the manufacturer’s name
  • Affix a decal on the vehicle
  • Request that the title documents read “Lemon Law Buyback”
  • Inform the vehicle’s new buyers that it is a lemon
  • Decline from requiring a confidentiality agreement that would prohibit discussing the problems with the vehicle

These duties are designed to protect a new purchaser by providing notice that the vehicle is a lemon, even if the manufacturer ultimately was able to fix the vehicle.

Filing a Lawsuit for Lemon Law Violations

If a manufacturer violates any of the duties outlined in the immediately preceding section (NRS 597.682, 597.684, or 597.686), they could be sued by a consumer who is harmed. For example, a consumer might buy a lemon that is not identified as such on the title document, or the required decal could be missing. This person would likely not have bought the vehicle had they known it was a lemon.

Under NRS 597.688, a plaintiff in this situation can sue for actual damages, attorneys’ fees, and any punitive damages for egregious conduct like fraud. Damages can include things like the cost of repairs or the cost of alternate transportation.

A person can also sue if a manufacturer violates other lemon law provisions. For example, a manufacturer might refuse to replace the car or issue a refund, in which case they have violated the law. A consumer has 18 months to bring a lawsuit, which begins from the date the vehicle was delivered to you.

Settling a Claim

If you have a lemon law dispute, you might be able to settle the claim without having to go to court. Many manufacturers will agree to a settlement if you have a valid claim because it saves them time and money. They also will pitch in attorney’s fees, so obtaining legal help is realistic.

However, it is critical that you find an attorney who understands all facets of the law. Manufacturers aren’t eager to settle; instead, they do everything possible to pass on the cost of a lemon to you. For example, they might argue that the vehicle has not been in the shop for 30 days, or they could claim that the manufacturer’s warranty has expired when it really hasn’t. Many consumers realize they are in over their heads when they try to take on a gigantic company, so legal help is a necessity.

Is Your Car a Lemon? Give Us a Call Today

Naqvi Injury Law has been voted the #1 Las Vegas personal injury law firm, and we provide top representation to all of our clients. If you believe your rights have been violated, please contact us today. A member of our team can meet with you to discuss your legal dispute and determine whether you have a solid claim. We can also discuss your likelihood of success and whether you can sue for compensation. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.