In West Virginia, lemon laws specifically apply to new vehicles with defects. It is very common for those looking at new vehicles on a dealership lot to assume that the vehicle is in pristine condition and will be useful with minimal maintenance and service for at least the first few years of their ownership.
Unfortunately, for a tiny percentage of new car buyers, the purchase results in ownership of a lemon. There is something wrong with the vehicle that the dealership or manufacturer cannot repair even after multiple attempts. What are some of the warning signs that a specific vehicle on a dealership lot might be a lemon?
A surprisingly high reading on the odometer
Prospective buyers generally take cars out to test drive them before making a purchase. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that there would be a few hundred miles on even a brand-new vehicle from moving it around the lot and test drives. However, sometimes vehicles may have already come back to the dealership once after going home with a prior buyer. Thousands of miles could be a warning sign that somebody purchased the vehicle and returned it using the lemon law because of some kind of latent defect.
A new car in as-is condition
Technically, listing a vehicle in as-is condition does not absolve the dealership or salesperson of their obligation to disclose issues with the vehicle. Still, it is a common tactic employed by those trying to sell a vehicle in substandard condition without making full disclosures. New vehicles should almost always come with a warranty from the manufacturer or the dealership selling the vehicle. A vehicle with no protection sold in as-is condition as a new vehicle could be a red warning flag for a buyer.
Noises, smells and other strange issues
Maybe the allegedly brand-new vehicle makes a squealing sound once it hits a certain speed. Maybe there is a grinding noise when taking a curve or turning quickly. On the other hand, perhaps there is an unpleasant smell in the vehicle. Maybe the lights don’t stay illuminated, but a few of the warning lights flash on and then off again during the test drive. Any seemingly minor issue out of place with a new vehicle could be a sign of something wrong that would take some time and research to uncover. Buyers looking at new vehicles need to remember to remain skeptical because some new vehicles aren’t in pristine condition.
Recognizing the warning signs of a lemon before or even after a transaction can help individuals in West Virginia stand up for themselves when dealing with dealership misconduct related to a poorly-made vehicle with some kind of hard-to-resolve defect.