What is the Magnuson-Moss Act?

The Magnuson-Moss Act is also known as the “Federal Lemon Law”. It is a very broad law that covers many types of products. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act protects consumers who purchase any product that costs over $25 and comes with a written warranty. This can include an item as small as a radio, and an item as large as an RV. The other caveat to the Magnuson Moss Act is that the product must be solely for personal use, such as a Television or the vehicle that you drive to work. The Act does not apply to Commercial Use products, such as a roofer’s work truck or the professional landscaper’s lawnmower. If your personal use product suffered a substantial defect while under the original manufacturer’s warranty, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is similar to many states’ Lemon Laws in many regards. I practice law in Pennsylvania, so I can say that it is very similar to the Pennsylvania Lemon Law. The Magnuson Moss Act provides for a free replacement of the defective product or a full refund of the purchase price, and further provides for recovery of all associated costs including Attorney fees. If the purchaser can show that the product suffered a substantial defect or non-conformity during the warranty period, and the manufacturer was unable to remedy that defect after a reasonable number of attempts, (in Pennsylvania, the number is three (3)) the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act will provide the choice of the aforementioned relief to the purchaser. The Magnuson-Moss Act is an act that was designed to ensure that manufacturers (of any product) who offer a written warranty on that product abide by and honor the terms of any warranty that they give. In practice, Lemon Law Attorneys have used this Act very successfully in Pennsylvania to protect purchasers of defective cars, trucks, vans, SUV’s, motorcycles and RV’s. If your vehicle has suffered a defect while still under the original manufacturer’s warranty, you may be entitled to a full refund or free replacement, plus free legal representation.

Greg Artim is an Attorney based in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He handles Lemon Law and Breach of Warranty matters in all of Pennsylvania. Visit his website at http://www.pittsburghlemonlaw.com

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14 Responses

  1. I located your site on the internet. I am a retired 73 yr.old rancher , residing in a remote area 30 mi. SW of Quemado, NM, off the power grid and dependent on satellite for internet access, and generators for electricity.

    I do not know if New Mexico “lemon laws” apply to the purchase of items other than motor vehicles. My research does indicate a Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act does apply to other items, so I am interested if my problem falls within that arena, and whether or not my predicament might warrant contingency fee legal work.

    Needless to say, the stress from my situation I will describe below borders on or is now a personal injury matter, as it is affecting my health. I am a New Mexico resident, 19 miles east of the New Mexico-Arizona state line.

    On July 14 (’08) I purchased online a Homelite 6000 watt portable generator brand new in the box, from Power Equipment Direct, Inc., dba Electric Generators Direct, 600 Territorial Drive, Suite B, Bolingbrook, IL 60440 by way of an immediate cash payment by Visa bank card, through Wells Fargo Bank.

    It was shipped on July 14 to me c/o of the Quemado store, where I picked it up several days later. I bought this generator because Electric Generators Direct advertised it as being a 6,000 watt generator with an 11,000 watt surge for starting electric motors. This is also stated on the large box it came in, which I have saved for evidence.
    (Having worked several years as a paralegal for a Hilo, Hawaii law firm over 20 years ago, though it was a tax law firm, I do appreciate gathering together the full story
    if litigation is a prospect.)

    I bought this unit to use to supply power to my 1.5 Hp deep well submersible irrigation pump where we farm 40 acres, primarily for its 11,000 watt starting surge and 6,000 watt running capacity, also to act as a standby generator for my home in winter months. I paid $699.99 for it, delivered.

    This Homelite Model H6 6000 (Serial BJJ2190111) generator did not work our of the box. The owner’s manual that came with it in the box states it is a 22.9 amp Rated output generator of 5,500 watts, and 6,000 watts maximum output, and fails to mention any surge capacity at all.

    The warrant stated in the owner’s manual says: “Baja Motorsports warrants to the original retail purchaser that this HOMELITE brand outdoor product is free from defect in material or workmanship” and agrees to repair or replace, at their discretion, etc. I contacted Baja Motorsports (Tempe, Arizona) on or about July 20 that I had a defective generator, that would barely run, and certainly would not start either my 1.5 horsepower irrigation pump or even my 1/2 horsepower domestic well pump both of which had been satisfactorily operated by a 4,000 watt Generac EXL model with 6,000 surge starting watts, that had been discontinued in manufacture, which turned my attention to the purchase of the Homelite Model H6 6,000 watt generator.

    When I called Baja Motorsports to see about warranty repairs I was told they no longer warrant the item, that I should contact Homelite directly. I then called the vendor,
    Electric Generators Direct, and was told the same. So my third call went to Homelite at their customer service line: 800-242-4672. I was asked to provide my zip code and was told to take the unit to their nearest warranty repair center at St. Johns, Arizona, some 70 miles from my residence.

    I did so on July 23rd or 24th, and was called a week later to pick up the generator as being repaired. I took it home for one day and then returned it to the repair center, known as Saw World, in St. Johns, AZ. Although the repair center got the engine operating at normal rpm, the generator still did not make enough electricity to start either of the aforementioned water pumps that had been run for years on the Generac 4000 watt generator. It is now December 11, 2008, and the generator still sits at the St. Johns repair facility, almost 6 months from the time I took it there for repair.

    After repeated phone calls to Mike Kilmer, owner of Saw World, and his head technician, Ryan Penrod, weekly, with no assurances they were going to fix my generator, I re-contacted Homelite at their customer service office in So. Carolina and at the urging of Mike Kilmer, spoke to George Bekko, Homelite’s lead technician, on a weekly basis thereafter. George claimed he was in contact with their warranty service center in St. Johns regularly, but Kilmer and Penrod both denied this, saying that when this transaction was completed they were dropping their association with Homelite due to unsatisfactory relationship with Homelite. This went on back and forth until; November, when it was ascertained the electrical components of the generator portion of the unit had been tampered with at the factory (which I later established as being in China) by a person conducting sabotage, and both Kilmer, Penrod, and George at Homelite alluded to this. So George sent a new generator head to Saw World which was delivered there November 20, 2008 by Fed Ex and signed for by Penrod. I spoke with Mike Kilmner of Saw World around November 30 and was advised they had never received the new generator head from Homelite. I then called George at Homelite who gave me the Fed Ex tracking number to check for myself that Penrod had signed for it ten days earlier whe it was delivered. I then called Saw World and told Kilmer I had information the new generator was signed for by Penrod on November 20, and he confirmed they received it, but that now they found the bell housing to which it mounts was cracked and needed replacing, that they could not install it. I then called George at Homelite, relating this to him, and he called Saw World and was told they had an extra bell housing and would be installing it. I called Saw World Dec. 3 regarding the bracket and they said they didn’t have a spare bell housing.. I then called George at Homelite December 4 and was told that Saw World had not requested a new bell housing, or he would have sent it to them.
    (I had a friend drop by Saw World to inquire about my generator, and he found that Saw World was using it to power their welder !)

    My assessment of this potential case, in view of the circumstances that Saw World is obviously a small 2-man shop to which I was sent by Homelite, that the deep pockets among these crooks is Homelite itself, and Electric Generators Direct (Power Equipment Direct, Inc.). I am a victim of fraud, being lied to by both Homelite and their warranty service people whom they sent me to, have been deprived of the use of my equipment under warranty for a very unreasonable length of time. I mentioned to George Bekko, lead technician at Homelite that I purchased the unit specifically because of its advertised 100,000 watt surge, and his answer was simply “that’s a misprint on the box”. The extreme frustration dealing with this matter has me under medical care with anti anxiety medication. I do not have resources to underwrite a civil law action without contingency basis, and frankly, at this point 6 months later I could care less about my $700 plus loss (purchase plus phone calls, travel to and from St. Johns, AZ. three times) and would get greater satisfaction seeing this pack of criminals in jail for consumer fraud and whatever else would put them there. Of course,
    I would accept my money back, or my generator in operating condition. The unit was sold to me with a cancelled warranty by BajaMotorsports, and all it seems is the Homelite is behind the attempt to keep the unit out of service and not fix it until the one-year alleged warranty expires in another six months !
    And probably hopes I would take no legal action.

    I write you first, since I am a resident of New Mexico who purchased and paid for the item online. If you think the matter should be approached in Arizona instead, or at Homelite’s location in So. Carolina, or in federal court or otherwise, please advise.

    Sincerely, Frank Belcher
    HC 32, Box 220
    Quemado, NM 87829 Tel. 575-773-4272

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