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Arizona Lemon Law for Used Cars

Updated on August 19, 2011
Photo courtesy of Johannes Pribyl, via wikimedia.
Photo courtesy of Johannes Pribyl, via wikimedia.

I am a law librarian and one of the most common legal questions I get concerns the Arizona Lemon Law. I find that there are some common misconceptions about how the law works when it comes to car purchases. The most common myths about the Lemon Law follow:

Myth: There is one lemon law that applies to all types of vehicles.

Fact: In Arizona, there are two separate standards: one for new cars (Read) and another for used cars (Read).

Myth: If a used car has a lot of problems, it's a lemon and the dealer has to give me my money back.

Fact: The Arizona used car lemon law allows the dealer a "reasonable" number of attempts to fix the vehicle before other remedies should be sought.

Myth: Any time my used car has problems, it's up to the dealer to fix it.

Fact: Only significant problems within the first 15 days or 500 miles (whichever comes first) are within the responsibility of the dealer. This means anything that significantly limits the normal use or safety of the vehicle.

Myth: The dealer has tried to fix is X number of times-- that's more than reasonable.

Fact: The Arizona lemon law does not specify what a "reasonable" number is. This is what they call a question of fact which means if it were to go to court, the court would decide whether it is a reasonable number or not.

Myth: I think I have given the dealer enough chances to fix the car. I am legally entitled to get my money back if I leave the car at the dealership with the keys in it.

Fact: There is no basis in law for that course of action. The dealer is not legally required to return your money in that situation.

Even though the Lemon Law may not apply in your situation, you still may have other remedies available to you under the law. An attorney would be able to advise you on the best course of action in your situation.


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