What Is The Manufacturer's Duty To Refund Or Replace?

The law has special refund and replacement provisions for cars that have substantial defects or problems, commonly called lemons. Under the law, if the manufacturer or the authorized dealer has been unable to repair a car`s problem after a reasonable number of attempts, the buyer or lessee may go through a manufacturer`s arbitration program, or to court, to seek a full refund of the car`s purchase price (minus a deduction for the use of the vehicle). The law considers a reasonable number of attempts to be any one of the following:
  • Four or more unsuccessful attempts to repair the same defect; or
  • One unsuccessful attempt to repair a defect which has caused the complete failure of the steering or braking system and which is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury; or,
  • A car which has been out of service due to warranty repairs for 30 or more cumulative business days.

In each case the initial defect must occur within the warranty period, or two years, whichever comes first, but the manufacturer`s repair attempts may extend to the end of the third year. Even if you do meet one of the above categories, you may still have a lemon law claim, but it will be harder to prove.

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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