It’s not a question that often gets asked — especially since the consumer is usually the most important piece of the economic puzzle. After all, without consumer purchasing power remaining as strong as possible, the economy would always be in the gutter. That said, manufacturers and dealerships are important too. If they fail, we have nowhere to go but overseas. What’s the verdict on lemon laws? Do they benefit car buyers more than they hurt auto sellers?
Building a business doesn’t happen overnight. Arguably, the most important part of starting and maintaining a business is building and nurturing trust with consumers over an extended period of time. Trust means consumers will keep buying in the future. Misplaced trust means a failed business.
The same is true for auto manufacturers and dealership owners. It’s in their best interests to sell you a product that works — not just once, but for as long as possible. That’s why it’s also good business practice to take care of a buyer when the product fails. Lemon laws shouldn’t even have to be in place, because all they do is assure the buyer of a seller’s responsibility to their own reputation.
That said, vehicles have become noticeably more reliable since the introduction of widespread lemon laws. This may not be an example of cause and effect so much as a minor correlation, but of course one must always wonder about the connection between events.
That increased reliability means a manufacturer’s reputation is maintained, but the benefits for the seller actually go one step further than that: there’s rarely a need to file a lawsuit.
Lemon law attorney Mark Anderson described the phenomenon of increased reliability: “The manufacturers, understandably, got sick of being sued. If a customer calls, for example, General Motors, they will often just buy back the car. Give them their money back, according to the lemon law. They don’t have to hire a lawyer and it just gets done that way.”
Lawsuits mean more expenditures and fewer profits, which means the lemon law helps everyone in a way. For consumers, they obviously mean less stress. No one likes having a car that breaks down repeatedly, and of course no one likes having to call a lawyer either. The lemon law has reduced the occurrence of both.
There will always be exceptions, though. Disagreements on how to interpret the law can lead manufacturers to refuse to honor the law or lead consumers to bring about a lawsuit that may or may not be justified. If you’re a consumer and you believe your vehicle qualifies as a lemon, it might be time for a consultation with a lemon lawyer.