Utah’s lemon law: Why the rules could leave you in a financial squeeze

Feb 15, 2024, 10:38 PM | Updated: Feb 16, 2024, 7:58 am

WEST VALLEY CITY – There are motorized vehicles we buy for need, such as a car or pickup. Then there are the motorized vehicles we buy for play, such as an ATV, a side-by-side or a golf cart.

Vehicles built for recreation can be just as expensive as a car. But if you believe Utah’s consumer laws protect you if your expensive toy turns out to be a complete lemon, Bryan Jorgensen’s experience might leave you with a sour taste in your mouth.

A lemon of a golf cart

“It has literally less than 90 miles on it,” Jorgensen said of his new golf cart with a kaput engine.

Jorgensen bought the gas-powered vehicle from a Texas supplier. When it died, he hauled it to a local repair shop. They told him the engine was in such horrible shape, that it was beyond repair.

“They said that when they were building the cart, they must have done something wrong with the engine,” Jorgensen said. “And like the flywheel busted off, and a bunch of different things.”

Bryan Jorgensen with Matt Gephardt

Bryan Jorgensen shows KSL’s Matt Gephardt a golf cart he says was rendered a lemon by a manufacturing default. (Winston Armani, KSL TV)

The supplier that sold Jorgensen the machine asked him to ship that engine back to them in Texas, so they could inspect it. It was sent last July, but it’s been nothing but back-and-forth since he said.

“I’ve spent 7,500 bucks on this thing,” he said. “And it doesn’t work or operate.”

Now, Jorgensen says he can’t get any clear answers on when he may actually get to drive around in his pricey toy.

“I said, ‘You can come pick it up and refund my money.’ They didn’t want to do that,” he said. “I said, ‘Give me an engine then, so I can get it up and running.’ They haven’t done that.”

Frustrated, Jorgensen asked me to investigate.

Limits of Utah’s lemon law

We specifically looked into the laws and rules you might assume would cover you if a motor vehicle purchase goes awry.

Katie Hass

Katie Hass, Utah’s Consumer Protection Division director, explains what is covered under Utah’s lemon law. (Jeffrey Dahdah, KSL TV)

“The lemon law is designed to protect consumers who bought a brand-new car that continues to have issues,” said Katie Hass, director of Utah’s Division of Consumer Protection, the agency that oversees Utah’s lemon law.

But there is an important caveat.

“This law covers vehicles that are approved for highway use,” Hass said. “It would not cover an ATV that’s not approved for highway use. A golf cart would not be covered.”

Even when dealing with cars intended for the highway – cars, trucks and SUVs – Utah’s lemon law has a very narrow scope. The car must have been bought in Utah, weigh less than 12,000 pounds, have undergone unsuccessful repairs for the same defect at least four times, and it must have been bought brand-new.

But that doesn’t mean Jorgensen has no recourse.

“Even if it doesn’t fall under the lemon law, people are welcome to come and complain to us about something that they feel like was inherently deceptive,” Hass said. The definition of deceptive, under the Utah Consumer Sales Practices Act, can include things like not honoring a warranty.

On the road again

Before going down that road, the KSL Investigators reached out to the Texas-based golf cart supplier on Jorgensen’s behalf.

By phone, the manager told me they believe the engine was further damaged in shipping, to the point it could not be repaired, and must be replaced. But due to supply chain issues, they’re having trouble getting their hands on a new one.

But after our calls, the manager told me they would pull an engine out of another golf cart and send it to Jorgensen.

After KSL’s Matt Gephardt reached out to the supplier, repairs were finally completed on Bryan Jorgensen’s golf cart. (Tanner Siegworth, KSL TV)

So finally, after spending the better part of a year parked, his cart is back on the road.

“Once you got involved, Matt, they said, ‘We don’t want the bad publicity from NBC. We want this done right,’” Jorgensen said. “And they’ve worked well with us ever since then.”

Utah’s lemon law has been in place since 1975. Hass said she isn’t aware of any talk in state government to expand it to include other motorized vehicles like side-by-sides or golf carts.

KSL 5 TV Live


A fire to one of the top suppliers of eggs in Utah has sparked the question whether egg prices and ...

Dan Rascon

Will a fire at a egg supplier in northern Utah cause prices to increase? The company president says no

A fire to one of the top suppliers of eggs in Utah has sparked the question whether egg prices and supplies will be impacted. 

2 hours ago

A billboard advertising mortgage rates for buying a house in April 2024....

Daniel Woodruff

‘I got frustrated and gave up’: High mortgage rates keep some Utah homebuyers on the sidelines

Some Utah homebuyers are beginning to give up on owning a home as mortgage rates continue to gatekeep them.

3 hours ago

A Ford sign is shown at a dealership in Springfield, Pa., Tuesday, April 26, 2022. Ford is recallin...

Chris Isidore, CNN

Ford just reported a massive loss on every electric vehicle it sold

Ford’s electric vehicle unit reported that losses soared in the first quarter to $1.3 billion, or $132,000 for each of the 10,000 vehicles it sold in the first three months of the year, helping to drag down earnings for the company overall.

4 hours ago

FILE - The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) building in Washington, on Jan. 28, 2015. The Federal Tra...

Christopher Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

The FTC voted to bar ‘noncompete’ agreements for most employees

The Federal Trade Commission voted to ban measures known as noncompete agreements, which bar workers from jumping to or starting competing companies for a prescribed period of time.

1 day ago

Peggy Lundberg tells KSL’s Matt Gephardt about her experience of having her travel credit stolen....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Thieves stealing airline travel credits: How you can protect them

If someone steals your credit card or hacks into your bank account, federal law says you should get most of your money back. But what protections do you have when someone steals your airline travel credits?

2 days ago

Homes that were lost as part of a land collapse on April 22, 2023. (Chopper 5, KSL TV)...

Shelby Lofton

A look back 1 year after 2 Draper homes collapsed in a landslide

One year ago, a landslide in Draper took two houses with it, destroying them and forcing the evacuation of other homes in the area.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Utah’s lemon law: Why the rules could leave you in a financial squeeze