Many states have consumer protection laws enabling consumers to get their defective purchases replaced, reduced in price, or refunded. These are often called “lemon laws,” after the slang term for a bad car.
If you think you have a lemon, never agree to arbitration – no matter how manufacturers try to convince you that it’s faster and easier. Always consult a Lemon Law attorney first.
What Is a Lemon?
How does lemon law work? Lemon is a new motor vehicle with one or more problems that significantly impair the car’s use, value, or safety. These problems must occur within the first year or 18,000 miles (whichever comes first). The vehicle must be subject to a manufacturer’s warranty and must have had at least one attempt at diagnosis and repair by the dealer during this period.
If you have a lemon, the law requires you to notify the manufacturer and dealer of your problem, give them reasonable opportunities to repair the vehicle and provide the dealer with a fully itemized written work order for each attempted fix. It includes what repairs were made and the parts that were used.
You must also submit the vehicle’s odometer reading and any applicable Lemon Law claim categories. You can find more information about these claims in the Lemon Law booklet provided by the Attorney General’s Office and on the Lemon Law website.
Some exceptions are available for members of the armed forces stationed in Washington, and vehicles brought here from other states. In addition, the Lemon Law does not apply to options or modifications requested by the consumer as part of a sale or lease or to vehicles altered by any person the manufacturer does not authorize.
How Do I Know If I Have a Lemon?
Typically, a lemon law case will involve the vehicle having a significant defect that requires it to be in the shop for an unreasonable amount of time for repairs. The specifics of the law will vary from state to state, so it is essential to review your local laws on this site or consult an attorney for guidance.
In most states, if your vehicle has a significant defect and remains unfixed for 30 days, you may be entitled to a refund or a replacement. The defect must occur within a specific period, often 24 months or 24,000 miles. However, if you were provided with a comparable loaner vehicle during the repairs, the time it was in the shop won’t count towards 30 days. It’s worth noting that some states have similar laws that apply to other types of products, such as appliances and boats.
During this process, you must keep detailed records of the problems with your vehicle, any work performed on it, and any correspondence between yourself and the manufacturer. It will make it easier to prove your claim later on. A legal professional can assist you in negotiating with the manufacturer to ensure you receive total compensation for your troubles. If you are unsuccessful in negotiating a settlement with the manufacturer, you may need to file a lawsuit. However, this is a much more lengthy and expensive process.
How Do I Find a Lemon Lawyer?
When looking for a Lemon Law attorney, choose one who specializes in this area of the law. Also, ensure the attorney has experience handling similar cases and is available to take on your case.
To begin the process, it is recommended that you get in touch with a qualified attorney and schedule an initial consultation. It lets the lawyer understand your case’s facts and determine whether you have a valid Lemon Law claim.
After verifying your eligibility for a claim under the lemon law, your attorney will aid in collecting all necessary documents and evidence. It may include the contract, warranty, repair orders, and other correspondence with the manufacturer. All these records must be saved, as they can prove you have a lemon.
Many states have laws that protect car buyers from serious problems that significantly affect the vehicle’s use or value. These laws usually require the manufacturer to refund or replace the car once you have given them reasonable chances to fix the defect.
Manufacturers often try to convince consumers that arbitration is a cheap, quick, and easy alternative to going to court over a Lemon Law claim. Accepting arbitration is never a good idea, as the manufacturer can use the arbitrator’s decision against you if you bring your case to court.
How Do I Win a Lemon Case?
Winning a lemon law case can significantly impact monetary compensation to improve future consumer protection. However, results vary depending on the unique facts of each case. Therefore, consulting with an attorney specializing in lemon law cases is advisable.
When consumers purchase a vehicle, they expect it to function correctly and provide value for their money. Unfortunately, defective vehicles can often leave them frustrated and unable to get where they need to go. Luckily, lemon laws are in place to protect consumers.
Keeping detailed records is one of the most essential things when filing a lemon law claim. It includes repair orders, maintenance logs, and correspondence with the dealership or manufacturer. Contacting the manufacturer before formally filing a complaint is also a good idea. It can help start the process and may result in the manufacturer offering a refund or replacement.
If the manufacturer doesn’t offer a satisfactory solution, it’s time to file a lemon law lawsuit. Before you can do this, though, you must first undergo arbitration.
An arbitrator will review your evidence and decide your compensation during this process. Having an experienced lemon law attorney on your side increases your chances of receiving the maximum compensation for your case. In addition, a skilled lawyer can negotiate the best settlement and ensure you’re not paying for unnecessary expenses.