Q: What happens if I buy a car in the US and it’s a lemon once I take it overseas?
A military couple from Georgia learned the hard way that the Toyota Rav4 they thought was a peach when they bought it was actually a lemon once they got it to Germany. But that was just the beginning of their lemon law troubles.
Lemon Law claims result when a consumer purchases or leases a new car and the vehicle subsequently requires unreasonably frequent repairs or service for the same defective warranty part or system such that the problem impacts the safety, use, or value of the vehicle.
Each state differs in the amount of time during which the problems must occur to constitute a lemon law claim, with Pennsylvania being within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles and New Jersey being within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles. Even if your troubles occur after the lemon law time frame has expired, you may have a case under the consumer fraud statutes.
So what happens if you take your new car overseas and the lemon repeatedly dies, leaving you stranded in the deserted German countryside in winter? This happened to an Army man and his wife.
According to the wife, the car repeatedly broke down in Germany and a dispute with Toyota over providing repair parts resulted in the couple being unable to use the vehicle for months. She claims the car was subsequently determined by a panel of arbitrators to be a lemon and that Toyota was ordered to take it back and replace it, but refused to do so and instead took legal action against the couple.
In frustration, she reportedly started an online petition to bring attention what she claimed was Toyota’s attempt “to get away with selling defective new cars to military families in our country without having to honor the warranties if the families are later stationed outside the U.S. and take the cars with them.” She felt Toyota was “cheating U.S. military families” by taking a position that when military families take new cars they bought in the US overseas that the auto maker “does not have to comply with Georgia’s auto lemon law”. The couple has since relocated to Georgia and is reportedly still driving the now-repaired vehicle.
Toyota wouldn’t comment on the pending litigation, but stated that its policy with respect to U.S. military members serving overseas is to provide them with “goodwill warranty coverage, including for services performed outside the geographic region of a specific limited warranty."
If you are driving a lemon in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, you need an attorney who specializes in lemon law claims and consumer fraud cases to help you get your money back and get out of a bad deal quickly and painlessly. You may be entitled to a full refund of your down payment, monthly payments and taxes, trade-in, and a brand new car. Call Timothy Abeel & Associates for a free consultation at 888-830-1474.