Know Your Legal Rights
Here are some steps you can take if something breaks or doesn't work properly, and you feel the problem is with the product, not with the user.
If you've ever purchased a new boat, only to discover there's something irretrievably wrong with it, you may have thought, "I've got a lemon."
We've all heard about lemon laws, but what most people don't know is that state lemon laws typically don't cover boats.
State lemon laws are often limited to cars, SUVs, and trucks, and vary by state.
Boats fall under the Federal Warranty Law (aka Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act), passed by Congress in 1975, the federal law governing consumer product warranties. The act requires manufacturers of consumer products to clearly describe the terms of a warranty and make that information easily accessible to the consumer. There are two kinds of warranties: express, which is clearly stated, often in writing; and implied, which is usually in the absence of an express warranty and means a product should work.
When a product doesn't work, the first step is to look at the warranty from the manufacturer.
The warranty has the terms and conditions and describes how to get help. It's a promise or guarantee from the manufacturer to the consumer, and as such are governed by general contract law. In the case of a dispute, warranties are typically enforced according to their terms.
If a new product doesn't come with a warranty, it's usually covered by an implied warranty under state law.
All states, with the exception of Louisiana, have enacted Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). Under UCC, sellers, by default, provide buyers of goods with implied warranties, such as warranties of merchantability and fitness.
A warranty of merchantability means the seller promises that the product will do what it's supposed to do — for instance, that a 65-hp outboard will run. A warranty of fitness applies when you buy a product on the seller's advice that it's suitable for a particular use — for instance, that a wakeboat is powerful enough to enable a person to surf behind the boat.