State lemon law and Federal Lemon Law are principally the same: they exist to protect consumers against owning products that fail to live up to the manufacturer’s warranty, establishing rights and remedies that allow consumers to recover all or a significant portion of their investment. From a consumer perspective, the most significant difference between state lemon law and Federal Lemon Law regards reimbursement for lemon products. While state lemon law entitles consumers to receive either a free replacement product or a refund of the defective product’s purchase price, Federal Lemon Law only entitles consumer’s to receive a cash award.
Another difference between state and Federal Lemon Law is that the latter is typically less restrictive of the circumstances under which a product can qualify as a lemon. For example, whereas state lemon law establishes that a consumer vehicle must undergo a certain number of repairs within a certain range of miles after its original delivery date to achieve lemon status, Federal Lemon Law states that, as long as a consumer vehicle is under the manufacturer’s original warranty, it can qualify as a lemon. Concerning vehicles, a third major difference between state and Federal Lemon law is that Federal Lemon law covers certain types of vehicles that lemon laws in many states do not, including: motorcycles, mobile homes, speed boats and used cars.
Although manufacturers are usually motivated to settle lemon law cases out of court for financial reasons, reaching a favorable settlement usually requires the aid of a lemon law attorney. Because only attorneys can file lawsuits, simply displaying to a manufacturer that you are aware of lemon laws usually won’t motivate a settlement. Due to the prevalence of Federal Lemon Law cases, many attorneys that concentrate in state lemon law are also skilled in the Federal Lemon Law.