SW Legal studies in Business

Lemon Law Damages Based on Value of Auto Lease to Date Vehicle Returned
Description Appeals court held that when a lemon is returned to the car manufacturer, if it is a leased vehicle, the damages are double the cost of the lease incurred up to the time of the return, not the entire value of the lease, since the consumer did not incur the cost of the entire lease.
Topic Consumer Protection
Key Words Lemon Law; Damages
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Riley leased a car from Ford Motor through a Ford dealer. He had problems with the car and, after taking the required steps to allow Ford to bring the vehicle up to standards, he demanded a refund from Ford under the state Lemon Law. Ford did not contest that the vehicle was a lemon, but did not refund Riley's money within the 30 days specified by law, so the damages were doubled. The trial court awarded Riley $100,000–double the value of the entire lease, attorney's fees and costs. Ford appealed.

Affirmed in part; reversed in part; remanded. Ford violated the law by failing to provide a refund to the consumer within 30 days. However, Riley does not get damages equal to the full value of the lease. "The consumer's pecuniary loss does not include the termination value of the vehicle because the consumer is not out that amount of money." Rather, Riley recovers twice the amount of his loss in addition to other expenses. That amount is the sum paid to date on the lease, plus any sales tax and other costs, less a reasonable allowance for use of the vehicle.

Citation Riley v. Ford Motor Co., 2001 WL 1042662 (Ct. App., Wisc., 2001)

Back to Consumer Protection Listings

©1997-2002  SW Legal Studies in Business. All Rights Reserved.