What Should I Do If I Think I Qualify For Arbitration?

  1. Letter to manufacturer. Send a letter by certified mail, return receipt requested to the manufacturer within the Lemon Law Rights Period. Send it to the address given for the manufacturer in the Lemon Law Statement of Rights form which should have been given to you when you purchased your car. You may download and use the sample letter provided by the Legal Resoure Center.
  2. Allow time. Although not required, it is reasonable to allow the manufacturer 10­14 days from the date it receives your notification, to cure the problem.
  3. Make payments. Continue to make your monthly payments on your financed or leased car. Failure to do so may result in a repossession which may adversely affect your Lemon Law rights.
  4. Allow inspection. The manufacturer has a right to inspect your car after you have submitted a demand for arbitration and a case has been initiated. The manufacturer should arrange a mutually convenient time, date, and location with you. During the inspection, the car may be test driven and tests with diagnostic equipment may be done. However, there should not be another repair attempt. You have the right to request to review any test results before the arbitration.
  5. Keep records. Keep a complete record of all your dealings with the manufacturer and dealer, including copies of repair orders, letters, and records of phone calls or conversations. If it would help to prove the existence of the nonconformity, take photographs (for example, of a water leak problem) or make a tape recording (for example, of an intermittent noise).
  6. Decide if you want an attorney. Most consumers present their own cases. Manufacturers usually send a local representative or participate in the arbitration by telephone. However, if a manufacturer has an attorney or you feel uncomfortable without one, you may want to be represented by an attorney. If you so choose, you must notify the SCAP Administrator well in advance of the arbitration date. The SCAP Administrator is NOT your representative and will NOT be present with you at your arbitration.
  7. Decide if you need an expert witness. You may need an expert witness such as a mechanic to testify that the problem is one that is a serious safety defect or to testify that the problem constitutes a substantial impairment of the use, safety, or value of the car.
  8. Fill out the form and enclose your documents and check. Use the Demand for Arbitration form provided in this booklet. Enclose 3 copies of all the documents requested. You must also send a $50 filing fee with your request. If your case goes through arbitration and the final decision is in your favor, your $50 will be refunded to you. Your request for arbitration will not be processed until it is filled out completely and accurately and all requested documents are provided.
  9. Wait for notification of initiation of case. The SCAP Administrator will notify you by letter when your case is initiated. After your case is initiated, the arbitration will be scheduled and the arbitrator`s decision will be due within 45 days.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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