Lemons Have Status Washed Clean By Switching States

Illustration for article titled Lemons Have Status Washed Clean By Switching States

In Flannery O'Connor's The Violent Bear It Away, the character Tarwater is a "prophet sent to burn your eyes clean." (Yes, we're going to throw in a plug for The Finest American Novelist Who Ever Lived every chance we get). However, cars given official lemon status need no such prophet to burn their citrus taint clean; simply selling the car in another state is usually enough for a fresh start...


All 50 states have lemon laws mandating that the manufacturer buy back a new car after some threshold of problems is reached during a certain time period; at that point, the title of such a car is supposed to be slugged "LEMON," much like salvage-title cars. However, unscrupulous slimeballs enterprising car sellers have found that an out-of-state move removes the scarlet L from the record; a recent study by Experian Automotive indicates that 80% of cars branded as lemons no longer maintain any sign of that status once moved out of state. [New York Times]

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@danio3834: Not really, but I suppose it depends on the thresholds set.

With any other consumer product, you get to return it if it's not functioning properly. I guess you'd argue that the warranty to fix whatever's wrong should fulfill that, but it's not that simple. Every service trip burns half a day of work and deprives you of your car.

There has to be some recourse against that, if only as a punitive measure to spur quality and thorough service out of the manufacturers and dealers, respectively.