What exactly is the Lemon Law? The Lemon Law is a law that was designed to help people who experience repeated issues with a vehicle you just bought. There are of course different parameters or ways in which the law applies from state to state, but the main tenets of the law remain the same across the board: which is to serve as some sort of remedial law to protect consumers from vehicle manufacturers and sellers.
In order for you to avail yourself of the protections of the Lemon Law, any car defects must be reported to the dealer or manufacturer within the first two years of purchase, or before a certain distance has been traveled with the car, usually within 12,000 to 18,000 miles, or whichever of the two options come first. Additionally, the vehicle must also be exclusively be for personal use.
Vehicles that are usually covered by this law will usually be brand new vehicles, while certain stated allow for used and leased cars to be covered. In some states like California, this law also applies to motorcycles, motor-homes and boats.
There are certain due processes that must be followed before anyone can seek the protection of this law. The very first of which is to notify the manufacturer or dealer of this fault and give them enough time to fix this fault.
The law requires that sufficient notice is given to the manufacturer to address any reported issue which often will mean sending the multiple notices to them when necessary, with records kept of these notices. If however, after giving the sufficient notices and time to fix any defect, and they do not fix these faults, then you will have the full protection of the Law.
One of the protections this law affords you is the right to a refund. If after receipt of your written notice to them, the manufacturer fails to take any remedial action within 10 days of this receipt, you would be entitled to a full refund.
On the off-chance that the manufacturer or dealer refuses your request for a refund, then the Lemon law will fully kick in and it will be time to start a dispute resolution process through the Division of Consumer Affairs, and ultimate via the courts failing that.
If the process does get to either dispute resolution or to the courts, then the very first thing you will need to begin doing, as part of the process, or in preparation to begin the process, is to gather all necessary documents, prepare all relevant questions and arrange to take down the testimony of as many witnesses as possible.
When looking for a lawyer, be sure that this lawyer has specialty in this type of legal matters. Oftentimes, the very first consultation you get will be free. The good thing about this is that if you do indeed proceed with legal action and win, the manufacturer will have to pay the legal fees you have incurred in the process. The final point to make about the above is that while the process can very easily go either way, the good thing is that if judgement goes against you for whatever reason, you always have the right of appeal.
At the end of the remedial or legal process, in the event that judgement goes your way, you will have the option of getting a complete refund or getting a replacement vehicle, and the good thing is that the choice is yours, not theirs.
In closing, we should mention that the Lemon Law still remains valid even if you signed a waiver when you purchased the vehicle. You just need to be familiar with the version of the law that is practiced in your state so that you know your rights as a buyer.