The next time you go RV shopping on a dealer’s lot, remember these nine words that may give RV lemon law protection:
“We give buyer a 24-hour warranty against defects.”
You may not expect that shiny new RV sitting on a dealer’s lot to turn into a lemon. But if it does, as long as you have this phrase hand-written on your sales contract, you might have protection under the law.
Nine Words That May Give RV Law Lemon Protection
Aside from RV inspections, those nine words are one of the best ways to protect your rights when buying from RV dealers, according to lemon law activist and lawyer Ron Burdge. That phrase may give what you want from the dealer, should things go wrong later on down the road.
“It gives you that 24-hour warranty,” explained Burdge in a recent RV Show USA podcast. But that’s not all, he said. With those words added in writing to any standard contract, the federal consumer protection act known as the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act will kick in. This automatically gives the buyer an “implied warranty of merchantability” that may be good for as long as four years in most states.
Hand-written words on a contract may seem like a gamble, but Burdge went on to explain that legally, any hand-written phrase written on a contract by the seller will over-ride any pre-printed words – like the ones that proclaim that a dealer isn’t giving the buyer a warranty. With the nine words added to your contract at closing time, you automatically get a warranty under the federal consumer law. That warranty may often be better than the RV lemon law protection offered by your state.
“If you want to get a quality RV that someone is going to stand behind, then you need to make sure your legal rights are set up so that they have to,” the Dayton, Ohio lawyer explained in this podcast.
What to Do If You Have a Lemon RV
Every U.S. state has some type of lemon law. Some of them are better for consumers than others. But when it comes to RVs, most of these lemon laws don’t cover anything other than a RV’s engine and chassis. Even worse, most states exclude towable RVs from protection.
But if you suspect you bought a lemon RV, don’t despair. The federal Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAP) statutes apply to all states, Burdge explained. These protections can act in the RV buyer’s favor in states with deficient RV lemon laws. UDAP statues offer protection for any consumer product. This entitles the buyer to a full refund or repairs on the failed product.
Here’s how to get started on the path to fixing your lemon RV:
Use different communications methods to contact the dealer. Reach out on the telephone, send written letters by certified U.S. mail, private courier and email. Alternate methods and do this daily and consistently until you receive an adequate response.
Keep a log of your interaction with the dealer. “Keep a diary of what’s going on. So that when you talk to somebody on the phone from the factory or from the dealer, you make a note of what they’re saying and what you are saying. So you have a record of what’s really happening,” says Burdge.
Contact your state attorney general’s consumer protection division. At best, you will receive a copy of the letter they send to the dealer, asking for an explanation of why they are not complying with your requests. It’s that response which will help you understand how to argue the case.
Be firm, but don’t be a jerk. Let the dealer know you aren’t going away, but be calm and reasonable with your language.
Finally, avoid using the phrase “attorney” until you are absolutely certain that you are not making progress with your case. Know for sure that you have an attorney who agrees to represent you. Otherwise, you risk cutting off communications with the dealer.
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Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.