Consumer Rights/Lemon Law

A wide variety of federal and Illinois laws exist to protect buyers from unscrupulous sellers and from scrupulous sellers where the buyer has far less access to information about the product than does the seller. Federal laws exist on debt collection practices, securities transactions, franchise purchases, and sweepstakes, among others. Illinois laws exist on new and used car purchases, money lending, home repair, and telephone solicitations, among many others.


Here's a look at some of the Illinois laws:


New Vehicle Buyer Protection Act. Known more popularly as the Illinois Lemon Law, the Illinois New Vehicle Buyer Protection Act applies to new cars, pickup trucks, and vans purchased (or leased for at least four months) in Illinois that are used at least 40% of the time for personal, family, or household reasons. In effect, it enforces warranties that manufacturers and sellers provide to car buyers and gives buyers remedies if the manufacturer or dealer is unable to fix the problem.


The law applies for the first year or the first 12,000 miles, whichever happens first. Thus, if the car is 16 months old, but only has 6,000 miles on it, the law won't apply because the car is more than a year old. In addition, the law applies only as long as the warranty is in effect.


As long as the problem is reported within the time limits, the law continues to apply, no matter how long it takes to fix the problem. Thus, if the problem is reported six months after purchase, while the car has only 4,000 miles on it, the law continues to apply, even if the problem isn't fixed until more than a year after purchase.


One important aspect of the law is that it gives the buyer the right to a new car or a full refund after several unsuccessful attempts to fix it. Consult an attorney as to what constitutes enough unsuccessful attempts (four is usually enough) and the proper procedure for getting a new car or a refund.


Fairness in Lending Act. The law prohibits financial institutions from denying a loan (or varying the terms of it) on the ground that the property used as collateral is located in a specific geographical area. Some financial institutions have used the practice, called redlining, as a discriminatory tool. The law also prohibits lenders from denying a loan, or varying the terms of it, without considering the income of every person liable on the loan; denying or altering a loan on the basis of the applicant's or the applicant's spouse's childbearing capacity, or using any other discriminatory tactic that doesn't have an economic basis.


Home Repair Fraud Act. Home repairers are forbidden from using deception or false promises to induce someone to enter into a home repair contract. Home repair fraud includes acts such as intentionally damaging someone's property in order to enter into a contract to fix it, pretending to be a government official in order to induce someone to enter into a home repair contract, and charging amounts for work or materials that are unreasonably above the value of what was provided.


Telephone Solicitations Act. Anyone soliciting goods or services by phone to someone in Illinois is required to abide by certain rules. Callers are required to state their name, the name of the organization they represent, and the purpose of their call. They must also ask the person whether he or she consents to being solicited. No calls can be made to someone in Illinois between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. The person or organization doing the calling cannot take any steps to impede the person's caller ID.


This IS NOT intended to be legal advice or in any way replace the advice and judgment of a licensed lawyer. Every case and situation is unique and only a licensed lawyer can offer legal advice which is appropriate for your situation