What Is The Lemon Law And How Does It Work?

New cars and other new motor vehicles are covered by manufacturers` warranties. These warranties must follow the rules set by the federal Magnuson­Moss Warranty Act and the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) (refer to the section on WARRANTIES for more information). The manufacturer`s warranty is provided at no extra cost to the buyer. Sometimes, despite the best efforts of a dealer`s service department, a defect cannot be satisfactorily fixed. These un­fixable vehicles are popularly referred to as lemons. New Hampshire`s lemon law provides a method for the lemon owner to satisfactorily resolve the problem.

New Hampshire`s Lemon Law (RSA 357­D) applies only to new vehicles purchased from New Hampshire dealerships. New Hampshire consumers who find themselves with a defective new vehicle which the dealer has been unable to repair may turn to the Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board (MVAB). The MVAB will decide whether the motor vehicle is so impaired by its defect that the manufacturer should take the vehicle back. The MVAB, a five­person panel of consumers, auto dealers and certified mechanics, has been in existence since January 1, 1992. The MVAB reviews consumer complaints about defective vehicles and holds evidentiary hearings which typically include inspecting and/or test driving the vehicle. If a majority of the panel members find that the vehicle is substantially impaired due to defects covered by the manufacturer`s warranty, the board will order the manufacturer to either buy the lemon back from the consumer or, at the consumer`s option, trade the lemon for another vehicle of equal value. The MVAB can also award damages which can include license and registration fees as well as the finance charges (interest) for the loan to purchase the defective vehicle. Either the consumer or manufacturer can appeal MVAB decisions to the Superior Court.

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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