Better Business Bureau: Lemon law protects new-car buyers – Topeka Capital Journal

The frustration of paying a hefty price for a new vehicle only to find that it doesn’t live up to the promised standards can be extreme. Fortunately, Kansas, like all states, has a lemon law in place to help those who purchase new cars with unfixable flaws. Lemon laws hold manufacturers responsible for vehicles that don’t meet performance and safety standards.

Here is a look at Kansas’ law protecting new car buyers. The law doesn’t apply to used cars.

What is covered

Kansas’ lemon law applies to new vehicles with a gross weight of 12,000 pounds or less. Since most modern cars weigh between 4,000 and 6,000 pounds, practically all fall within the range. Pickup trucks fit the category, as well.

The vehicle must have been purchased within a year of when its defective status is found. The defect must be major enough so that it “substantially impairs the use and value of the vehicle.” Examples of such defects would be:

■ Stalling in traffic

■ Failure to stay in alignment

■ Overheating

■ Anything that is a safety concern

■ Anything that renders the vehicle inoperable

It should be noted that these are just examples. Other flaws could also qualify the vehicle as a lemon.

Small problems like cosmetic defects, a bad radio or a faulty air conditioner aren’t covered. Dealers, however, are required to honor warrantees for such issues. Also worth noting: To qualify for the lemon law, the problem can’t be the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized modifications by the consumer.

A “reasonable number of attempts”

Under Kansas law the car fits the lemon category if:

■ There have been four unsuccessful attempts made to repair the same problem

■ The vehicle has been out of service at least 30 days during the warranty period

■ There were 10 or more attempts made to repair various defects during the warranty period

Different manufacturers’ contracts say varying things about how the situation should be handled from here. Either the vehicle must be replaced, repurchased, or arbitration must begin.

Your BBB has a free arbitration program called BBB Auto Line that has aided nearly 2 million consumers over the last 30 years. Find out more about this helpful program by visiting and clicking on the “Is your car a lemon?” button. Alternately, you may call (800) 955-5100. In many cases the arbitration process is greatly streamlined with the help of the BBB Auto Line staff.

What you will need

Consumers would be wise to keep all paperwork involved in every repair made to the vehicle in question. Here is what should be documented:

■ Phone calls and trips to the dealership, repair department and manufacturer

■ Dates and reasons for each visit

■ What is wrong with the vehicle and what attempts to repair were made

■ Time lost from work

■ Expenses you have had to pay

■ Towing receipts

For the Auto Line process you will need the vehicle identification number, make, model and year of the vehicle and the current mileage.

Hopefully your new car was a sweet deal. But if instead there is a sour lemon in your garage, be advised that there are steps you can take to put the squeeze on its manufacturer. If you have questions or concerns about your new car and the Kansas lemon law, contact your BBB at (800) 856-2417, or visit our website at

This article was not written by Michigan Lemon Law.
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