Looking Out for Lemons: Automobile Protection Association pushes for updated terms for ‘seriously defective’ vehicles in Quebec

Quebec City, Quebec – A consumer advocacy group is hoping to change the conditions in which a vehicle is considered “seriously defective,” in Quebec, wherein a car could be deemed defective if it has been off the road for more than 30 days awaiting warranty repairs in the first three years of its lifespan–among other conditions.

In late September, the Automobile Protection Association (APA) appeared before a committee of Quebec’s National Assembly–the provincial legislature–to support legislation that would protect buyers from purchasing a defective vehicle.  APA Executive Director George Iny and lawyer Hubert Lamontagne met before the assembly to suggest a proposed law that would update the conditions under which a vehicle is considered “seriously defective.”  The proposed law suggests that a vehicle would be considered “seriously defective” if it has returned to the dealer three times or more for the correction of a significant problem in its first three years in service; if it has visited the dealership 12 times or more for the correction of various problems; or if it has been off the road for 30 days or more while waiting for a warranty repair in the first three years. 

Under the current ‘lemon law,’ consumers are required to prove that their vehicle is unfit or has a hidden defect. The APA feels that this is a hurdle to making a valid claim because it requires finding a mechanic or engineer to serve as a witness–most of whom are not regularly available to testify in court. 

The APA proposes that refreshing the ‘lemon law’ will make it easier for consumers because the law will be based on numerical  and calendar proof rather than outside witnesses. 

While all 50 states in the United States have lemon laws, Canada has historically had a harder time establishing similar mandates with past proposals in Ontario and British Columbia never making it to law. 

While lemon vehicles still make up a small percentage of total vehicles sold, increases in more advanced technology in newer vehicles means that there are more components that could potentially go a little sour. 


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