Laundered Lemons

Do You Have a Laundered Lemon?

Car Manufacturers Are Putting "LAUNDERED LEMON CARS" Back on The Road!

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Ever wonder what happens to all those lemon cars and lemon trucks and lemon motorcycles the manufacturers buy back? They often end up right back on the street.

These repurchased cars and repurchased trucks are often called laundered lemons. Most states require that a consumer who buys a vehicle that was repurchased under the Lemon Law must be told about the repurchase. Still, some dealers don’t tell consumers that they are selling a laundered lemon.

If your new motor vehicle turns out to be a laundered lemon car or a laundered lemon truck, you’re not alone. Call us at 1-888-331-6422 or email us today for a Free Laundered Lemon Case Review!

What is a "Laundered Lemon"?
Your Right to Laundered Lemon Warnings
How They Try to Get Around the Law
Faking Legal Compliance
Are You a Victim?
How Can You Avoid Buying Someone Else's Lemon?
What's a Laundered Lemon Worth?
How Many Lemons are Bought Back?


What is a "Laundered Lemon"?
A Laundered Lemon Car is any vehicle that has been repurchased by the manufacturer (because of endless complaints and/or deadly defects) and then resold to an unsuspecting consumer without divulging all the defects or the vehicle's history.

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Your Right to Laundered Lemon Warnings
The Lemon Law in Ohio (like most states) prohibits lemon laundering. Ohio law requires manufacturers to do three things after repurchasing a vehicle.

1. Brand the Title as a Lemon;
2. Warn the Buyer with a Written List of the Defects before the sale; and
3. Give the Buyer a One Year Warranty.

Plus, if the vehicle had a deadly defect, it's not allowed to be resold in Ohio at all - ever!

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How They Try to Get Around the Law
One popular method of bypassing the law is for manufacturers to call their repurchase of a vehicle a "goodwill" buy back, so they can claim that the vehicle is not covered by the Lemon Law.

Another method is to ship the vehicle out of state where it is then sent to an auto auction and purchased by a car dealer. When it is finally sold to a consumer, the dealer will usually deny any knowledge of its lemon history, despite the availability of the complete warranty repair history.

After buying back a vehicle in states like Ohio, where title branding is required, car manufacturers can move the lemon vehicle to a state that does not require branding or one that does not recognize the prior state's brand. Consequently, the title is left unmarked.

Even in cases where the title is branded, consumers may still remain at a disadvantage, because they do not actually see the title until weeks later.

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Faking Legal Compliance
Occasionally, manufacturers and car dealers do feign compliance with the law by identifying only one or two of the many complaints made by the previous owner of the lemon car. Other evasion techniques include removing the word "WARNING" from the top of the disclosure document and placing the disclosure document within a large stack of documents, then spreading the stack out in a way that leaves the signature lines visible while the top half of the document is hidden by the stack itself. As a result, buyers often unknowingly sign a form acknowledging that the vehicle is a lemon, when in fact, they had no idea. In such a case, the signed form should have no legal effect on your rights.

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Are You a Victim?
Because car manufacturers have found a number of ways to conceal the lemon history of repurchased vehicles, you may find yourself to be another unsuspecting victim of lemon laundered cars.

If you discover that you have unknowingly purchased a laundered lemon vehicle, seek legal counsel immediately.

Ronald Burdge has effectively represented a number of clients in laundered lemon car cases, from Kia to Corvette, and regardless of their law-dodging method, manufacturers and dealers are being held accountable for the part they play in this lemon laundering saga.

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How Can You Avoid Buying Someone Else's Lemon?
Check the car's prior ownership history before you buy it. Ask the dealer where they got the vehicle or who owned it. If the dealer says they can't tell you that information, be careful. There is no law that prevents a car dealer from telling the truth.

Write down the "Vehicle Identification Number" and do a free Internet title search on the Free Experian Auto History Lemon Detector, which can turn up a Lemon Law Buyback in the title history. You can cross-check the results on AutoCheck, to be sure you don't end up with someone else's lemon.

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What are Laundered Lemon Cars Worth?
Think you paid too much for what may be a laundered lemon? Check out NADA's consumer guides to vehicle values, where you can get current valuations or older editions of the NADA book over the Internet. If it rolls, floats or flies, they know what it's worth.

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How Many Lemons are Bought Back?
No one knows for sure, but in one lawsuit it was discovered that Chrysler alone bought back 45,000 Lemon Cars in about four years-and resold them all over the country for a total of $1 billion.

Who knows how many Ford, General Motors, and the importers have bought back . . . one thing is clear-reselling lemon cars is a big business.

But you don't have to be the victim in their Lemon Laundering scheme!

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