Utah Auto Lemon Laws and 3 Day Returns

Utah vehicle buyers are generally unaware of Lemon Laws and 3 day right-to-rescind(return) laws regarding a car purchase in the state of Utah. There are lemon laws to protect NEW car buyers in the state of Utah, however there are NO existing “three day right to cancel” laws in Utah regarding a vehicle purchase. The three day statutory right to cancel a contract applies only to direct solicitation sales in Utah and not purchases from stores OR purchases of an automobile. Dealers are not required by law to give used car buyers a three-day right to cancel. The right to return the car in a few days for a refund exists only if the dealer grants this privilege to buyers. Dealers may describe the right to cancel as a “cooling-off” period, a money-back guarantee, or a “no questions asked” return policy.

Utah has has very specific laws regarding car purchases. Here is the break down.

The Utah Department of Commerce: Division of Consumer Protection outlines it very clear on their website:

Recissions/Returns on New Car Purchases: When purchasing a new automobile, please be aware that there is NO three-day rescission law that applies to motor vehicle purchases.  You do NOT have a right to return the vehicle because you regret purchasing it, or have decided it doesn’t meet your needs, or you cannot afford it. Once you purchase the vehicle, you assume responsibility for it.  Some automobile sellers may have policies that allow you to return the vehicle within a certain number of days, but usually you may return the vehicle only for credit towards the purchase of a different vehicle.  Please note that this is a policy set by the seller and is NOT required by law.

Utah Lemon Laws:

The New Motor Vehicle Warranties Act applies to new cars and motor homes under warranty in Utah. Used vehicles are NOT protected under the Utah lemon law. Under the law, the buyer is entitled to a refund or replacement if the vehicle meets all of the following criteria:

  • The vehicle must have been bought in Utah.
  • It must be new and under warranty.
  • It must weigh under 12,000 lbs.
  • The manufacturer must have tried to resolve the defect at least 4 times OR the buyer must have been unable to use the vehicle a total of 30 days, whichever comes first, during the first 12 months of the warranty.
  • The defect must not be caused by owner neglect, abuse, or unauthorized vehicle modifications.

NOTE: Be sure to keep records of any vehicle service orders, receipts, or correspondence you may have had with the vehicle manufacturer or the authorized dealer/service facility that has worked on your car.

Edmunds.com has a great article regarding whether you can return a car in any state. Here are some highlights from the article:

“I Have Buyer’s Remorse” If you have buyer’s remorse, you can call the salesperson first as a courtesy, but be prepared to contact someone higher up the dealership food chain, such as the sales manager, general manager or owner. It’s in the dealer’s sole discretion to undo the purchase.

“I Got Ripped Off” If the salesman didn’t keep his promises, or you suspect fraud, you might have a case. But don’t make wild, unfounded accusations. Instead, use any documentation you can find. If you feel you paid way too much, reference Edmunds.com True Market Value (TMV®) pricing as proof of an acceptable price. Consumers who cry foul on price are at least partially to blame. Perhaps a pushy salesman exploited their lack of knowledge. Preparation and research are essential for such a large purchase and, clearly, these two were unprepared to enter the arena. Once at the dealership, they should have simply walked out rather than buying the car and then arguing — after the fact — that they’d paid too much.

“I Bought a Lemon!” It takes time, and repeated visits to the service bay, to legally establish that a car is a lemon. However, buyers may quickly feel their car is defective and want to return it or exchange it for a different one. This is particularly true in the case of used cars. In situations where there is a clear problem with a new or newly purchased used car, the dealer will probably fix it under warranty. If no warranty exists, as with many used cars, you can still lobby to have the car fixed. The dealer’s incentive is that by doing so, he’ll build good will and attract repeat customers.

The viewpoint laid out in “Unwinding a Deal, an article in a dealer publication, F&I Showroom, Marv Eleazer the finance director at Langdale Ford in Valdosta, Georgia, writes, “There is no problem that can’t be resolved when people take a mature approach. Dealerships really are looking for repeat business and make great strides to create an environment that promotes long-term relationships with their customer base.” He adds: “The best way to resolve these misunderstandings is to simply return to the dealership and ask to speak to the manager in a calm tone. Drama and shouting does not impress. Asking for help does.” In cases of buyer’s remorse — perhaps if a person bought too much car for his budget — Eleazer writes that the dealer might be willing to place him in a more affordable car. But dealers are “under no obligation to do so either legally or morally.” To read more of the Edmunds article click HERE

When purchasing a car make sure to ASK questions and READ all documents. Consumer’s must be responsible for being informed and educated. It is a sellers responsibility to answer questions but sellers cannot do so without questions being asked. 

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