State lemon laws give car buyers and leasers a legal remedy for cars that turn out to be defective. Generally, the law requires manufacturers to repurchase or replace vehicles that don’t conform to the terms of their written warranty after a reasonable number of repair attempts.
Consumers can participate in a certified informal dispute resolution program and sue the manufacturer directly. If successful, the plaintiff may be entitled to attorney’s fees.
You Have 30 Days to Report a Defect
Used car lemon laws require dealers to buy back a vehicle or refund its purchase price (to the buyer or lienholder, less certain taxes, fees and charges) if it can’t be repaired within a reasonable number of attempts.
Lemon laws are based on two types of warranties – express and implied. Express warranties are written statements by manufacturers, distributors and sellers that guarantee specific product characteristics. Implied warranties are broader in scope and can be based on common law or statute.
State lemon laws generally protect consumers from defective cars, trucks, minivans, SUVs, boats and RVs. In addition, they protect buyers of leased vehicles.
To invoke the state’s lemon law, a consumer must submit a Request-for-Arbitration form. The request is then reviewed for eligibility to be heard by an arbitrator. The reason(s) are provided to the consumer if the request is rejected. The consumer then has the option to resubmit the bid. Sometimes, the dealer may have an arbitration program that complies with the state lemon law and federal regulations. If so, determining a dealer-run program is generally binding on a consumer.
You Have a Right to a Refund
If you purchased a used car and it turns out to be a lemon, the dealer must refund your money or provide you with a replacement vehicle. But how much of a refund you receive will depend on the severity of the problem and whether or not your state’s lemon laws cover it.
Before a car can be deemed a lemon, most states require that the manufacturer give you reasonable chances to repair the problem. This amount varies from state to state, but many allow for at least three repair attempts. If your used car is a lemon after this number of repairs, you will be entitled to a full refund or replacement.
However, a problem can only be considered severe enough to qualify as a lemon if it substantially impairs your vehicle’s use, value or safety. During your free consultation, your attorney will assess whether or not the defect in question meets this criterion.
You must first submit a Request-for-Arbitration form to be eligible for the Lemon Law program. This is reviewed promptly by the Attorney General’s Lemon Law Unit to determine if an arbitrator can hear your case. If your claim is accepted, the dealer must agree to abide by the Arbitrator’s decision.
You Have a Right to a Replacement Vehicle
If the dealer cannot make satisfactory repairs within a reasonable number of attempts, you have the right to a replacement vehicle. However, you must be willing to accept a car in a different condition than the one you bought or leased. The law also allows dealers to sell you an extended warranty to cover defects that the used car lemon law does not. This additional protection must be disclosed to you before you buy the vehicle. Any contract clause that seeks to waive your rights is void.
Your lemon law lawyers in Tennessee can evaluate whether your car qualifies for protection under the statute. Your attorney can help you complete an arbitration claim form if it does. If the claim is accepted, an arbitrator will be appointed to hear your case. You have an absolute right to an oral hearing and to be present during any presentation by the manufacturer or its representative.
A qualified lemon law attorney can guide you through seeking compensation from a dealer and the manufacturer. Most states require you to try and resolve your dispute through an arbitration proceeding before pursuing legal action in court. During the arbitration proceedings, an impartial arbitrator will listen to your complaint, review evidence from both sides and make a ruling. If you are successful, your lawyer can negotiate compensation for your losses.
You Have a Right to an Arbitration Hearing
As a consumer, you have the right to an arbitration hearing under New York’s Lemon Law. You may also be entitled to different remedies under other laws. If you choose to participate in your manufacturer’s arbitration program, a decision in that forum cannot be used against you in court. The attorney general’s office will review your Request for Arbitration form to determine if your claim qualifies under the Used Car Lemon Law. If accepted, the Administrator will appoint an arbitrator and schedule a hearing. If it is rejected, the Administrator will send you an explanation of why.
The Arbitrator will examine the evidence you present and hear arguments from both sides. If the Arbitrator finds that your vehicle meets the statutory definition of “lemon,” you will be awarded your choice of remedy. If the Arbitrator doesn’t see that your vehicle meets the statutory definition of a lemon, you will receive a written decision detailing why.
If the Arbitrator grants a refund, you will receive the money you are owed plus interest and any applicable legal fees. If the Arbitrator gives a replacement vehicle, you can pick your dealer from a list approved by the state. If the Arbitrator denies your claims, you can appeal the decision to a judge. If you participate in manufacturer-sponsored arbitration, anything an arbitrator rules against you can be used in a court of law to hold the manufacturer liable for damages.