If you have purchased a used car with numerous problems, Lemon Law might help you.
The law states that you can get a refund or comparable replacement vehicle if the manufacturer fails to make a reasonable number of repair attempts within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles, whichever comes first. This process is often settled through arbitration.
Requirements for a Lemon Law Claim
If you purchase a new vehicle with numerous problems. You may be entitled to have the manufacturer buy back or replace your car under the lemon law. To qualify, you must meet several requirements. To qualify for a repair or replacement under warranty. Your problems must be significant, and you must have given the manufacturer a reasonable number of attempts to fix them. It is essential to report the issue in writing to the manufacturer or dealer and keep copies of all communications. You must also keep records of repairs or defects, including details on the issue. When you took your vehicle in for repairs, and when it was returned.
Many states also require that you be willing to accept a refund offset in the form of mileage or time on the vehicle. The offset cannot exceed 10% of the original purchase price or $.10 for each mile driven before the first reported issue. If the manufacturer cannot replace your car, they must offer you a comparable vehicle.
A qualified lawyer can assist in assessing your eligibility for a lemon law lawsuit and navigating the legal process. The attorney will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve under the law. The arbitration process can take up to six months or more, depending on the state.
Filing a Claim
Suppose your vehicle has been in the shop multiple times for problems you have reported. That remains there after a reasonable number of repair attempts. In that case, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement under the lemon law. Most states have specific requirements that must be met before a vehicle can be considered a lemon. But an experienced lawyer should be able to tell whether your case has merit quickly.
To qualify for a refund under lemon laws, the problem must substantially impair the car’s value, usability, or safety. The defect could be a single significant problem or several more minor problems that add to a substantial impairment. A defective airbag, molding in the air conditioner, power steering malfunctions, and cruise control failure are typical examples of lemons. Once you have reported the defects to the manufacturer, and they have had a reasonable number of attempts to fix them, you can ask for arbitration. An attorney can assist in preparing and submitting necessary documents and evidence to an arbitrator.
If the manufacturer can not provide a refund or replacement, you are entitled to a comparable vehicle of the same year and model. A lemon law attorney can also help you ensure that the settlement proceeds cover any rental vehicle costs incurred while your lemon was out of service.
Most states’ lemon laws do not protect consumers who have purchased used vehicles. However, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act can help in these cases.
Unlike new car lemon laws, which require several repair attempts before filing a claim, the law covers any vehicle that is not road-worthy. Generally, this means any used car that has so many defects that keeping it running is no longer feasible. These problems may also include severe safety and liability risks.
An experienced lemon lawyer, like those at Timothy Abeel & Associates, can help you take the first steps to file a claim. They will ensure you have the appropriate documentation, including a letter from your mechanic detailing the problems and any repair attempts. Keeping a copy of this letter in case the arbitration panel needs it for evidence is essential.
The next step is to request an arbitration hearing from the state’s attorney general. Once this is done, the administrator will ask you to pay a filing fee and schedule a hearing date. Both you and the dealer will receive a notice for the hearing. Pre-hearing discovery is usually conducted during this time.
Once your attorney determines that you have a valid lemon law claim, the next step is usually arbitration. Manufacturers will try to convince you that this is a cheap, quick, and painless alternative to a lawsuit. However, the reality is that arbitration is an excellent way for them to get rid of your lemon and rip you off.
The arbitration process involves the consumer and manufacturer selecting arbitrators to hear their case. This person will then review the evidence and issue a ruling on whether the vehicle meets the requirements for being a lemon. This decision will then be sent to the manufacturer, who must either repurchase or replace the vehicle.
Before the hearing, your lawyer will want to meet with you and confirm that all documentation is appropriately organized and ready for the hearing. This is also an excellent opportunity to review the trial game plan with your attorney.
Throughout the discovery process, which typically only takes place shortly before your lemon car trial, your attorney will gather information about your vehicle and the problems it has been having. This is often done through formally written questions (interrogatories) and document requests. It may also include depositions, where the witnesses or parties are questioned under oath by attorneys for each side. This information will be used at trial to show inconsistencies or holes in the manufacturer’s arguments.