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Automobiles Auctions   >   Articles   >   Lemons & Title Branding


Lemons and Vehicle Title Branding

When people say a car is a "lemon", this usually just mean the vehicle has had serious, and usually repeated mechanical problems. However, in the vehicle and automobile trade, the word "lemon" (and some alternate words/phrases for "lemon") actually has a very specific technical meaning.

In the United States of America, there is a Federal law, known as the "Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act", or often informally as the "Lemon Law", which protects citizens and consumers in all states and US territories. Additionally, there also many state laws which also protect citizens, and often have some degree of overlap with the Federal law.
  • The Federal lemon law (the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act) covers anything mechnical (although for many people, the key focus is on vehicles).

  • State lemon laws vary between states. They may not cover all types of vehicles, or used or leased vehicles depending on the state.

  • The basis of lemon laws is the manufacturer's (or seller's) breach of warranty. By failing to live-up to express warranties (written promises of performance in adverts, Owner's Manuals, etc.), or implied warranties (that the vehicle meets some minimum standards) - the manufacturer/sell assumes liablity, and has the responsibility to correct the defect, or repurchase or replace the vehicle/product.

  • Lemon laws usually only apply in cases of a sale where there is some form of warranty (express and/or implied) - they often do not apply if the vehicle/product is purchased on an "as is" or "with all faults" basis (although some states may not allow vehicles to be sold on on an "as is" or "with all faults" basis).
In any case, as a result of these laws, what happens is that if a vehicle repeatedly fails with the same problem while under warranty, the manufacturer/seller will often repurchase it. Generally speaking for this to happen, the problem in question must usually be one that makes the vehicle undriveable or unsafeable (such as failing brakes or headlights), rather than a minor issue such as an annoying rattle.

Of course, once the manufacturer/seller has repurchased the vehicle, the question then arises is what they should do with it. In many cases, they will in fact put the vehicle for sale in an automobile auction. So, if you are considering buy a vehicle at automobile auction, you should at least be aware that there is a possibility that some of the vehicles truly are lemons.

One small piece of good news is that many states do require vehicles repurchased by sellers/manufacturers as lemons are branded on their title as being being "lemon" or "buyback". So you should be on the look out for this. Of course, you can not completely rely on vehicle title branding telling you everything you need to know (because of variations between different state laws, as well as practices such as "vehicle title washing"). For this reason, all vehicles should be properly inspected before purchasing, and you might also consider using online services to get more detailed histories of vehicles offered to you - provides vehicle history reports with over 60+ problem checks (based on access to a database of over 40 million records from state DMVs, junk yards, and insurance carriers).

Related Links

Here are some related links and websites:
  • Check Your VIN
    Offers vehicle history reports complete with over 60+ problem checks for a one-time fee of $12.99 per report.

  • How To Buy Cars At Auctions
    With The Present Economic Crisis Theres Never Been A Better Time To Buy Cars At Auctions! This Website Will Provide You With The All Tools You Need To Benefit From The Thousands Of Vehicles Being Sold At Rock Bottom Prices At Auctions.

  • Inspect Before You Buy
    ASE Certified Automotive Technician Teaches You How To Properly Inspect A Used Vehicle.
Here are some related pages on this website:

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