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New Mexico Lemon Law – Consumer Rights

August 18, 2011 Leave a comment

The other day my aunt had asked me about how New Mexico’s lemon law works. As an Albuquerque business lawyer, I figured that this subject would be of interest to many consumers who have purchased a vehicle in this state. Believe it or not there exists a lemon law with regard to both used and new vehicles. The lemon law comes from the Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act (NMSA 1978, 57-16A-1 to 57-16A-9).

With regard to newly purchased vehicles the lemon law applies to new and demonstration vehicles sold by New Mexico car dealers. Basically the law applies to force car dealers to repair all defects which have a substantial impact on the market value and of course the use of the car. The time period to which the law applies is the shorter period of either one-year after which the consumer takes possession of the vehicle, or when the manufacturer’s warranty expires. Basically the law will allow a consumer to be eligible for a replacement or repurchase under the law, if during the one-year period the car has been at the dealership for a total of thirty days or more (this is cumulative), or the car has the same problem repaired four or more times.

NMSA 1978, 57-16A-3.1 applies to used vehicles, and applies to vehicles sold by a New Mexico car dealer. Car dealers must include disclosure of the lemon law in the contract for the sale of the vehicle otherwise the purchaser may cancel the contract. The law provides that used vehicles cannot be sold “as is”; any commercial lawyer would recognize the “as is” language as a disclaimer of warranty, but it does not apply in this context. Additionally the law creates a warranty on the vehicle for the time period of whichever occurs first between 500 miles or 15 days. Once the consumer becomes aware of a problem that limits the use of the car, he or she must return the vehicle to the dealer before attempting to have the car repaired. Failure to follow this key point will make the lemon law inapplicable to the dealer; the essence of this is to give the dealer a chance to repair the problem. The car dealer can charge up to $25 for the first two attempts to repair the vehicle. If a dealer refuses to fix a problem that occurs within the short warranty period, then the consumer can cancel the contract, is entitled to get their money back and if a car was traded in, the consumer can get their old car back. Lastly and obviously, the law does not apply when the problem occurs as the result of abuse, off-roading, racing, failure to maintain required fluids or lubricants and other such operator errors. If you have questions about whether the lemon law applies to your situation, contact one of our Albuquerque attorneys.

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Getting Started with Business Legalities

July 17, 2011 Leave a comment

The business formation process can be an very challenging, and one may find regulations, permits and contracts totally confusing. However, all of these are not illogical obstacles towards establishing your company as they are just part of the many requirements that allow authorities to monitor or keep track of every business formation occurring in one place while informing the government that has jurisdiction.

It is greatly important for any business to have its contracts undergo contract review. Contract review is important and is basically done to ensure that each contract is detailed, well-crafted and skillfully negotiated as the contracts protect the business and prevent legal battles and potential lawsuits. Few things must be considered when undergoing contract review.

  • Ask – Do not hesitate to ask rather than simply signing off a contract. This is a good way for you to understand the risks or get a better deal.
  • Read – Take time to read the entire contract before signing to avoid unanticipated issues. Always remember that once you have signed, you will be legally bound to all the terms in your contract, whether or not you have read and understood them; the law imposes upon individuals a duty to read the contracts they sign.
  • Discuss – Address potential problems that may arise. It would be best if you have discussed possible problems along with negotiated resolutions before you sign the contract.
  • Define – Every word in the contract counts and the best contracts are the least confusing ones. Specify each detail and discuss. Every detail tackled and orally agreed upon by both parties should be put in writing; failure to do so can be detrimental should a legal conflict arise.
  • Innovate – Contract negotiations don’t have to involve money at all times. Parties involved may include services, a side service, co-promotion, small project partnership or possible contracts to perform in the future.

These particular business dealings often include the services of a business attorney who could stand as a part of the business team dedicated to legal matters. A business law attorney has expertise that enables him to explain the legalities and limitations of the different business practices of a company. The attorney will also be aware of standard contract provisions that can be included into a contract to protect the parties.

If you are after a smooth start in your business endeavors, dealing with the legalities first would be the best thing to do. It would be more favorable if you have already settled all these legal issues prior to officially opening and running your business. That will most likely help you face less legal battles in the future, if any. Often times, people start a business together and the terms are not clear from the outset; it usually is not until the business is turning a profit that the owners decide to determine what the terms should be; Do not let this happen to you, contact an attorney before you get the business going,