What do I need to do if I have a Lemon?

In order to benefit from the law, you need to prove your car is a lemon. The usual requirements include:

  • a substantial defect that seriously impacts the use, value, or safety of the vehicle appearing within one or two years of purchase or within a certain mileage period;
  • a minimum number of visits to a mechanic within a set period after purchase for the same problem; or a set number of nonconsecutive days out of service due to various problems; and
  • arbitration between the consumer and the manufacturer.

In jurisdictions that require arbitration, the consumer usually must submit to the arbitration procedure established by the particular vehicle manufacturer. The established procedure might involve a state consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau, or may be as seemingly one­-sided as programs run internally by the manufacturer or by the National Automobile Dealer's Association. Whatever the configuration of the panel, it generally must issue a decision within sixty days. The decision will include a finding as to whether the vehicle is a lemon, and if so, what relief the buyer should receive. Typically, the arbitration decision legally binds the manufacturer, but the consumer may take an unfavorable decision to court for further review.

To help bolster your claim, you should also save all warranty and service paperwork and receipts. Brochures and advertisements about the vehicle may also help support your Lemon Law claim.

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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