The Law Can Vary From State To State
Additionally, an auto lemon is just one type of product covered in some states, as you may also be entitled to a refund or replacement for devices like motorized scooters, newly purchased puppies who suffer from medical conditions, dysfunctional appliances or defective computers.
How Long Have You Owned The Vehicle
The second step in evaluating your car's law lemon eligibility is to consider the timing. In most cases, there must be documentation of a defect within the first year or 18,000 miles following the purchase. This documentation usually comes in the form of a repair receipt and vehicle check-up. It is very important that you hold onto all this evidence and keep detailed records of repairs and phone conversations with the dealer to strengthen your case.
It is also wise to take your car directly back to the dealer or manufacturer to ensure that there is no finger-pointing between your local mechanic and the seller, with no one claiming responsibility for the defects. Generally, your car is protected by the state lemon law for the length of your warranty, although some regions place a 1 to 5 year limitation on when you are allowed to file a claim.
How Many Times Has The Vehicle Been Repaired
Thirdly, you should consider the attempted repairs and time spent off-the-road in your law lemon case. Most automobile lemon laws say that four or more repairs or up to 30 days of down-time are allowable before the case can be actively pursued. Be aware that dealers have found some ways around this. For instance, if you are offered a rental car by the dealer while your vehicle is being repaired, this time does not count toward the "30 days" off-the-road.
Also, if you take your car to mechanics other than the dealership where you bought the vehicle, the manufacturer may reject the repair claims and you may need to receive four repairs from the dealership to qualify for protection by law. Lastly, the four repair attempts may not qualify if you have not sent the manufacturer a letter stating that this is the last repair attempt before you pursue litigation.
What Type of Defect Do You Have?
Lastly, the success of your law lemon trial may depend upon the type of "defect" or "nonconformity" your vehicle has. This is often where help from an experienced, lemon law lawyer comes in handy. It's up to them to make the case to the court that your car was, in fact, compromised in "use, value or safety."
The manufacturer may argue that you can still drive with your clanking muffler and that it doesn't necessarily diminish the value or safety all that much. With the right attorney advice, you can demonstrate that this problem has, in fact, compromised all three categories.
The most commonly litigated "defects" involve the brakes, transmission, steering column and starter, but many more nonconformities can fit the bill, so it's best if you seek legal help and get a free consultation to determine your case.