If you buy a car with serious problems that the manufacturer cannot fix, you may be entitled to get a refund or replacement vehicle under lemon laws. However, there are some restrictions.
The most important requirement is that the defects substantially impair the vehicle’s use or value.
Requirements for a Lemon Complaint
If it does not conform to the manufacturer’s express warranty or has substantial manufacturer defects impairing its use, safety or value, buy or lease a new car. You may be eligible for compensation under a state Lemon Law or the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Often, the most successful claims involve significant and repeated problems that occur over time. Our attorney can help determine how does lemon law work and which laws you should apply to your case, and how to proceed most effectively.
The most important thing to do is make sure you keep all service records of the vehicle. Whether the dealership’s service department has full records, you should keep copies of repair orders and invoices. Taking detailed notes of each problem and every attempt to fix it is also a good idea. This can be helpful later in the process, especially when preparing for an arbitration hearing.
Only sign documents related to the vehicle after consulting a Lemon Law attorney first. Some manufacturers will try to trick consumers into signing releases or settlements that will take away their rights to a refund or replacement car. Don’t be fooled by this. A Lemon Law attorney can help you fight back against these tactics.
Time Limits for a Lemon Complaint
When life gives you a lemon, use your state’s Lemon Law to get a refund or replacement vehicle. Some state law covering lemons covers new and used cars purchased or leased. To qualify, the vehicle must have a substantial defect that has yet to be satisfactorily repaired after a reasonable number of repair attempts. A serious safety hazard or an inability to operate the car effectively qualifies as a substantial defect.
Before filing a lawsuit to sue for compensation under the lemon law, you must first participate in the manufacturer’s arbitration program. Check your owner’s manual or warranty booklet for the address and telephone number of the office that will receive complaints. Ensure you report your issue to this entity and maintain copies of all work orders, correspondence, repair bills and other documentation related to the problem.
The manufacturer’s arbitration panel must review your case and determine if you have met the Lemon Law criteria for a refund or replacement vehicle. You can appeal the arbitration award if you are unsatisfied with the results. A skilled Lemon Law attorney can help you present the most compelling case possible to increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
Reimbursement for Expenses
Some states require a manufacturer to provide compensation under their lemon laws for the cost of repairs, a replacement vehicle, or cancel a sale. In addition, successful consumers are entitled to attorney’s fees.
Typically, a lemon law complaint is filed in an informal arbitration process. An experienced lemon law attorney can help you navigate the procedure and collect all necessary documentation. They will also be able to assist you with negotiating a possible settlement and handling the arbitration hearings.
Most lemon laws state that the manufacturer has a duty to refund or replace a defective car after a reasonable number of repair attempts. However, many of these laws have exceptions for vehicles that are not considered lemons, such as if the problem does not substantially impair the value of the car to the consumer or is a result of abuse or neglect.
If you want to pursue a claim under your state’s lemon law, you must first participate in the manufacturer’s arbitration program or a program certified by your state. If your request for arbitration is rejected, you can file a lawsuit directly against the manufacturer.
An experienced lemon law attorney can review your case and assist you with submitting a request for arbitration or filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer. A good lawyer will also understand what evidence to present at the arbitration hearings to increase your chances of a successful outcome.
Requirements for an Arbitration Hearing
Suppose the manufacturer cannot fix your vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts or after your car spends many days out of service. In that case, your state Lemon Law may allow you to recover a replacement vehicle, a refund of part or all of the purchase price or a financial settlement. In many cases, a lawyer with experience in lemon law can help you through the arbitration process.
Regardless of whether your state Lemon Law or another law protects you, you should report any problems with the vehicle to the manufacturer as soon as possible. The owner’s manual or warranty booklet usually tells you how to contact the manufacturer or dealer. If you lease the vehicle, write and inform your leasing company that you are applying for Lemon Law arbitration and keep a copy of the letter for potential inclusion with your case.
During the arbitration process, you must be prepared to prove that your car had serious defects and that you gave the manufacturer a fair number of chances to repair it. In most cases, you must also document how long the vehicle was out of service and any attempted repairs. A lemon law attorney can help you prepare for an arbitration hearing.