What Is The Lemon Law?

The Lemon Law states that a manufacturer has a legal duty to repair a new motor vehicle. A lemon is defined as a new motor vehicle (it does not include newly leased or demonstrator vehicles, motorcycles, RVs, or mobile homes) that has a defect which substantially impairs the use and/or market value of the vehicle. This does not include defects caused by consumers abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modification of the vehicle.

In addition, a lemon automobile is one which does not conform to the express warranty and cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts ­ at least four repair visits to correct the same malfunction during the warranty period or within one year of delivery of the vehicle; or if the vehicle has been out of service for repair for a combined total of at least 30 days during the same period. If the defect still exists, the manufacturer shall replace the lemon with a new vehicle or give a full refund.

However, a buyer must first use the free mediation or arbitration procedures that the manufacturer has set up to deal with complaints. In mediation, the manufacturer tries to satisfy the customer through a settlement. If the customer is not satisfied, the two parties will proceed to the second step, arbitration. Here an impartial third party will make a decision without the intervention of lawyers. Consumers should be prepared for arbitration procedures by keeping all receipts for car maintenance and repairs, letters from mechanics, and all maintenance records on the vehicle.

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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