What is the ‘Lemon Law’?
Lemon Laws are consumer protection statutes. These laws are enacted by the states to give legal recourse to purchasers of defective automobiles. Typically, within a short period of time after purchasing or leasing a new automobile, if a consumer has had their vehicle repaired a certain number of times, or if the vehicle has been out of service for repair for a certain amount of time, then the consumer is entitled to have the vehicle repurchased by the manufacturer.
What do I stand to gain by asserting a claim under the Lemon Law?
Depending upon how many repairs you have, or how many days out of service the vehicle has been out for repair, you may possibly be entitled to a repurchase of your vehicle, a brand new replacement vehicle, or monetary compensation. In those cases where you keep the vehicle and are compensated monetarily, we can often negotiate an extended warranty as well.
How many repairs or days out of service do I need to establish a viable Lemon Law case?
Each state Lemon Law has different requirements for the number of repairs or days out of service necessary to establish a claim. In New York, you would typically need to demonstrate either 4 repairs for the same defect (with the defect continuing to persist), or 30 days out of service for repair for all defects in the aggregate, within 2 years or 18,000 miles from taking delivery of your vehicle. However, even if you do not have sufficient repairs within that time period, there are other statutes that we can often utilize to address your situation.
Who is the Defendant in a Lemon Law Case?
Although you have had your vehicle repaired at the dealership, it is actually the manufacturer of your vehicle who is responsible under the various state Lemon Laws. Some states, such as New York, have used car lemon laws where the dealership would be the responsible party.
What is the process for asserting a Lemon Law Claim?
The first step is to determine whether or not you have a viable claim under your state’s Lemon Law. You can click on the Free Case Evaluation at the bottom of this page, or call us toll free at (877) 50-LEMON so that we can evaluate your case.
If you have a viable case and you agree to allow us to represent you, then our first step is to issue a demand letter to your vehicle’s manufacturer. Most of our cases are resolved by directly negotiating a settlement in this manner.
If we are unable to negotiate a settlement of your matter, then the next step may be a lawsuit or arbitration. We will discuss these options with you, detailing their pros and cons.
What other laws protect my rights?
Beside the various state Lemon Laws, there is another important law that protects the rights of automobile owners. The Magnusson Moss Warranty Act is a Federal Law that applies broadly to most consumer goods that come with an express warranty. This law takes into account repairs that occur throughout the entire period of the manufacturer’s warranty. The various state Lemon Laws, by way of comparison, often take into account repairs that occur within the first 10,000 to 18,000 miles. In many instances where a state lemon law will not apply because of the mileage on the vehicle when the repairs occurred, the Magnusson Moss Warranty Act can be utilized to obtain recourse against the manufacturer.
Additionally, there may be other state specific laws that can be utilized under some circumstances.
Are there any time limits for bringing a Lemon Law case?
The time limit for bringing a case under the Lemon Law, known as the ‘statute of limitation’ varies by state. In New York, the statute of limitations is 4 years for a Lemon Law case. Usually the time limit begins running on the date that you purchase or leased your vehicle, although that can vary. As a practical matter, it is always best to address legal issues sooner rather than later, as evidence can be lost or grow ‘stale’ over time, and moreover, a claim brought late can give rise to an inference that the problems with your vehicle did not cause undue hardship at the time they were occurring.
What if I have only had 3 repairs within the first 18,000 miles?
You should not assume that you do not have recourse if you are unable to show enough repairs under your reading of the law. First, there are other laws besides the state Lemon Laws that we rely upon to obtain compensation for you. Second, we find that people often misread the requirements of the law, or can even be looking at an outdated statute which has been amended. Finally, as a practical matter, even if you do not have sufficient repairs to have your vehicle repurchased, often times you can obtain a monetary settlement from your vehicle’s manufacturer.
Who pays your attorney fee?
The New York Lemon Law and other consumer protection statutes that we utilize contain ‘fee-shifting provisions’ that allow us to collect an attorney fee directly from the defendant automobile manufacturer. If your case is strong enough, and the manufacturer will not voluntarily repurchase or replace your vehicle, we will sue the manufacturer and collect our fees and expenses from it if we win the case or settle it. In situations where the circumstances of the case do not allow us to obtain a repurchase or replacement, but do allow for monetary compensation, we are paid a percentage of that monetary amount – but only if we get results.
How do I get started?
If you believe you may have a case, and you live within one of the states we service, we would be happy to evaluate your case for free, with absolutely no obligation. You can either call us at (877) 50-LEMON or you can provide us information by clicking the ” Free Case Evaluation” button below.