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The New York New Car Lemon Law


The New York New Car Lemon Law provides a remedy to owners (or lessees) of new vehicles purchased / leased or registered within the state. The New Car Lemon Law should be distinguished from the Used Car Lemon Law, as that statute applies only to vehicles that are purchased second hand. This office typically does not handle Used Car Lemon Law cases.

Typically, in order to meet the requirements of the New York New Car Lemon Law, a consumer must demonstrate either 4 repairs for the same defect (with said defect continuing to persist thereafter), or 30 days at the dealership for repair, during a 2 year / 18,000 mile (whichever comes first) presumption period.

Manufacturers are entitled, under the statute, to raise several defenses to a New York New Car Lemon Law case. First and foremost, the defects that form the basis of the case must be substantial in nature, which is usually interpreted to mean defects that impact the safety of a vehicle, or its ability to function as a transportation device. So for instance, it would be doubtful that you could use a radio defect as the basis of a New York New Car Lemon Law case, as that doesn’t impact operation of the vehicle in terms of transport, nor safety of the vehicle.

Additionally, abuse or neglect of a vehicle by a consumer can be raised as a defense in a New York New Car Lemon Law case. Examples of abuse might include driving the vehicle at excessively high speeds, performing “neutral drops”, or installation of aftermarket equipment (such as exhaust systems or aftermarket chips or vehicle programming) that is intended to cause the vehicle to exceed specified performance. An obvious example of neglect that can be raised in a New Car Lemon Law case is failure to perform required periodic maintenance such as oil changes. A less obvious example includes the negligent installation of aftermarket equipment such as remote starters, dvd players, and alarm systems, which might cause electrical issues such as parasitic draws upon a battery. Manufacturers can raise this defense in New Car Lemon Law cases, even when their dealership installed the aftermarket part. Dealerships are not considered an agent of the manufacturer in New York.

If you do have a meritorious Lemon Law New Car case, you are entitled to your choice of a refund of your money (repurchase), or a brand new vehicle (replacement). Calculating a repurchase under the New Car Lemon Law can be complicated at times. For instance, there is a reduction of the repurchase proceeds due to mileage on the vehicle exceeding 12,000. Additionally, certain items that are purchased along with the vehicle, such as extended warranties, are usually excluded from the repurchase calculation. Finally, sales tax is usually (but not always) refunded by New York State, and is thus excluded from the repurchase calculations.

Replacement transactions under the New Car Lemon Law, theoretically, should be less complicated. You are typically given a credit of the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the existing vehicle, which can be used towards the new vehicle you are choosing. So if you choose essentially the same vehicle, MSRP should be about the same and there should be no additional cost to you. On the other hand, if you choose a more expensive vehicle then you would pay the difference in MSRP between the two vehicles. Unfortunately, replacement transactions are often complicated by the existing finance or lease company, which may need to sign off on the transaction. The larger financial institutions are rarely a problem, but smaller banks are sometimes not familiar with the New Car Lemon Law, and thus do not wish to participate. Also, it is sometimes difficult to simply find a suitable replacement vehicle on the dealership’s lot.

While all of this information might sound complicated, fortunately, in New York, you are typically allowed to recover attorney fees from a manufacturer in the event that you meet the requirements of the New Car Lemon Law. Thus, it is almost always worthwhile in those cases to retain an attorney, as you are essentially getting the benefit of his or her expertise without cost.

We hope that you have found this article informative, and if you think you have a case, ask that you consider clicking on the “Free Case Evaluation” button below. We will always try our hardest to help you.

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