New Hampshire’s Crappy Lemon Law

In New Hampshire, if you buy a car rated for over 9,000lbs, and that car is a lemon, you’re in trouble. New Hampshire’s lemon law has a loophole that classifies any vehicle over the 9,000lbs limit as a commercial vehicle, and thus ineligible for consumer protection. So what do SUV buyers do with their lemons? “They either have to fight it out with the dealership or perhaps even file a civil claim depending on the defect,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Motor Vehicles. Fun.

An example of a non-commercial SUV that’s not covered—the Toyota Sequoia. Good job, New Hampshire. —MEGHANN MARCO

Consumer advocates eye change to lemon law [Boston Globe]

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  1. NeonCat says:

    According to Toyota.com, the heaviest curb weight for a Toyota Sequoia is 5345 lbs. I’m not sure where they got their figures from. Nine thousand pounds is pretty freakin’ big. Indeed, having now RTFA, the unfortunate interviewed was using the Chevy truck for commercial purposes. Really, the law seems to designate businesses that own large vehicles as unworthy of protection, which is pretty odd to me. But the average consumer probably will never own a vehicle that heavy.

  2. bravo says:

    yeah, the curb weight of a Sequoia is around that figure and it’s probably only rated for a less than 2000 lb payload. I don’t know where this 9000 lb number related to a Sequoia is coming from. Even a Hummer H1 only weighs around 8000 lbs.

    A 9000 lb vehicle is GINORMOUS, and there really is no reason for the average consumer to buy a vehicle that large for personal use. An RV would be an exception, I guess.

  3. aestheticity says:

    bravo said: “and there really is no reason for the average consumer to buy a vehicle that large for personal use”

    There, uh, isn’t for any of these SUV’s.

  4. MeOhMy says:

    Perhaps they go by GCWR which is 12000 lbs on the Sequoia. That’s a nutty loophole. I wonder how many Sequoia owners tow that kind of load.

  5. MeOhMy says:

    After reading the article again…talk about crappy/uneducated reporter.

    Has nothing to do with the curb weight. Looks like it’s based on GVWR – 9200lbs for the Silverado (which coincidentally, the owner appears to be using for commercial purposes…not that the manufacturer should be off the hook based on this, but if the current law is intended to exclude commercial use…well…it’s doing just that).

    Right on Toyota’s website, the GVWR for the Sequoia is 6700lbs. Not even close to 9000.

    GVWR is the maximum weight of the entire vehicle (i.e. the curb weight) plus cargo, fuel, passengers and whatever else is on board.

  6. Papercutninja says:

    What’s the problem? Most of these SUVs are classified as such so that they don’t have to submit to official EPA gas mileage testing. You can’t have it both ways. Either classify it as a passenger vehicle and pay a gas-guzzler fee or deal with the lack of a lemon law.

  7. Kornkob says:

    Does GVWR include the possible trailer weight? That might push it over.

    In this day and age, though, I suspect reporters rarely actually fully understand the subject matter they are writing about. The number of mistakes I’ve seen/heard in the press that relate to my own areas of knowledge are almost a daily occurance, even taking into account ‘common usage’ terms that are frequently misused even by hobbyists.

  8. saikofish says:

    What Papercutninja said.

    According to Slate, here in California our heavy-vehicle threshold is 6000 pounds, rather than 9000lbs, and this allows SUVs all sorts of commercial vehicle perks that normal vehicles won’t have. Tax breaks (you can write off the use of the car if you drive it to work!) and dodging mandatory emissions regulations is a pretty cushy deal already. Want consumer protection? Here’s an idea, why don’t you buy a smaller car that’s friendlier to the environment and everyone around you?

  9. MeOhMy says:

    @Kornkob:
    GVWR doesn’t include towing (that’s where the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) comes into play). It’s 12k lbs on both the Silverado and the Sequoia, but the article makes specific mention of 9200 lbs. for the Silverado, which is the GVWR based on what I looked up.

    The sad thing about this is that while the actual meaning of terms like Curb Weight and Gross Vehicle Weight Rating may not be common knowledge, it would only take the reporter (or the fact checker whose job it is to…you know…check the facts…) 3 seconds and Google to get it straight! Sad state of affairs, there.

  10. pestie says:

    That’s OK – they’ll make up the difference in the “farm machinery” tax break they get on vehicles that size.

  11. Jesse in Japan says:

    Do people who buy SUVs really deserve “consumer protection?”

  12. Sudonum says:

    I’m sorry we can’t all buy a Prius, but some of us actually run a business that requires a large vehicle that will seat 7 and go virtually anywhere. And yes, for that we get tax breaks. Because we do not use our vehicles to simply go to and from our houses to our places of employment. If we used these behemoths for that we would not get any tax breaks. PERIOD. I am in Construction and drive a full size pick-up truck. There are times when I wish I didn’t have to drive that sucker, but I never know when I’ll have to go to the lumber yard, or tow a trailer full of crap. My wife is in Real Estate and has to ferry customers AND their children/friends/relatives along when showing them houses.
    That being said, I am against car makers using the “truck” loophole in emissions and mileage to sell what are basically large passenger cars. If I could afford a new truck right now I would buy the Chevy Silverado Hybrid. Imagine that, a US manufacturer making a hybrid truck.
    One last thing, I thought this was a consumer forum, not a political one.

  13. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    The NH lemon-law should cover heavy commercial vehicles. There’s certainly no reason why an automaker wouldn’t make heavy trucks that suck as badly as their cars do.

    People who use their 10-wheel dump-truck/SUV to pick up groceries and drop off the kids at daycare should get nothing, but honest commercial/business users should get the same protection of non-suckiness as they would for passenger cars.

  14. velocipenguin says:

    “I’m sorry we can’t all buy a Prius, but some of us actually run a business that requires a large vehicle that will seat 7 and go virtually anywhere.”

    If you really need an SUV for work or off-roading (ha ha), fine. I have no beef with those who use trucks for what they are intended to do. People who buy massive SUVs to use as commuter vehicles, however, deserve all the abuse they receive. This goes double for all the idiots who regularly endanger my life by failing to realize that a three-ton truck cannot and should not be driven like a Porsche.

    “My wife is in Real Estate and has to ferry customers AND their children/friends/relatives along when showing them houses.”

    Has your wife considered a minivan? They seat just as many people as a large SUV, but they are much safer and far more fuel efficient. As an added bonus, the reasonable ground clearance will likely please elderly or disabled prospective buyers; even I hate climbing three feet to get into an SUV, and I’m young and able-bodied.

    “One last thing, I thought this was a consumer forum, not a political one.”

    Stop forcing me to consume your extra carbon output and I’ll quit bitching.

  15. MeOhMy says:

    “People who buy massive SUVs to use as commuter vehicles, however, deserve all the abuse they receive.”

    I was wondering if you could loan me your crystal ball, because while I agree with you in theory, I currently can’t tell the difference between the guy that is using his big SUV solely as a commuter car and the guy that tows his boat, wife and 3 kids on weekends and doesn’t have the money/space/wherewithal to get another car to use daily.

  16. Sudonum says:

    velocipenguin, I never said “off roading” I’m just trying to avoid getting stuck in the mud at a new construction site. Ditto for the mini van. Even though there are some AWD models out there AWD is not the same as 4WD. And have you ever tried towing a trailer full of tools and supplies with a mini-van? Good luck.

    There isn’t a stock truck or SUV out there that I know of where you have to climb 3 feet to get into. Those belong to the idiots that want them to look like they ran the Baja 1000, but would bitch the moment they got a scratch on their precious toys.

    And this is still a consumer blog regardless of what I am alegedly forcing you to do.

  17. Sudonum says:

    Troy F, Well said. I am sick of people’s prejudices based on the vehicle you drive.
    IE: SUV=carbon guzzling, environmental hating, idiot. This is a trait that these same people detest in others. I guess there is no tolerance when it comes to their perceived stereotypes.

  18. MattyMatt says:

    I think businesses that use big vehicles SHOULD have consumer protection, so I agree that it sucks of NH to leave businesses with few options for redress. But I consider it a good thing that non-business purchasers of giant trucks don’t have access to the same protection, since it discourages them from buying cars that hurt the environment, negatively impact urban planning, and really only a business should have in the first place.

  19. loraksus says:

    Calling Lemon Laws “consumer protection” is a bit of a joke because the bar is set so high.

    Do you really feel protected if the state finally steps in after your car is at the dealership for 90 days (4 months) in the first year of ownership? (That’s the policy in Lousiana)
    I call that getting screwed twice, not being protected.

    NH is 30 business days at the dealership – weekends don’t count.

  20. theglassrat says:

    But shouldn’t sales of these vehicles be banned outright? In addition to just about no vehicles weighing over that…