If you recently bought a new vehicle, but you are spending more time at the dealership for diagnosis and repairs than driving your new vehicle, you may have bought a lemon. The lemon law requires proof that the vehicle has been in the shop for repairs for an unusual number of times or that there have been repeated repairs for the same problem. If you suspect your vehicle may be a lemon, here is what to expect during your claim and what results you may expect.
Visiting the Dealership
When you take your vehicle to the dealership for repairs, it is important that you thoroughly describe the problems you are experiencing, including when the problem started and any smells or sounds that you may be experiencing from the vehicle. If you have to repeatedly take the vehicle in for the same problem, make sure you describe the issues the same way each time you take it in. Being consistent with describing the issues will make it easier for you to file a lemon law claim. One of the first and important things you’ll need to do is make sure the documentation given to you by the dealership is complete. Ask the service manager when they are preparing the service order to include and explain in detail all of the problems with the vehicle and make sure it is written in the order before you sign it.
What to do After Repairs are Done
When you pick the vehicle up after repairs have been made, review the documents that describe the work/services performed, including any parts that needed to be replaced and why they were replaced. This is especially helpful if the vehicle warranty expires, but you are still experiencing the same issues you had prior to the warranty ends. It is helpful for verifying that the part replaced was defective and that the second repair should be free of charge. Also, make sure that the dealer’s paperwork has included all of the dates that you took the vehicle to the shop for repairs. Although the vehicle may have continuously had the same issue, the dealership may do different repairs in an attempt to repair it. However, as long as the vehicle continues to have the same issue, it may still qualify as a lemon. When filing a lemon law claim it is important that the dealership paperwork shows the amount of time the vehicle was out of service.
Making a Claim
When making a lemon law claim, you’ll have the option of replacing the car or getting a refund, however, regardless of which option you choose, you can only be charged a minimal fee for the number of miles you drove before the initial repair that qualified for coverage under the lemon law. If you opt for a refund, it will include the sales tax, registration, and other fees incurred at the time of purchase, plus any incidental fees that were caused by the lemon vehicle, such as a rental car or towing charges. Making a lemon law claim means there will be a great deal of time and paperwork involved, so it’s recommended that you retain the services of an experienced lemon law firm, such as Neale & Fhima, to assist you with your claim.
Gather Documentation and Submit Claim
One of the most critical aspects of filing a lemon law claim is to have thorough documentation of your problem. In addition to the service documentation, you will also need to have the original lease agreement or purchase agreement; all warranty information, including the extended warranty agreement if it was purchased, and all of the invoices, bills, and receipts for the repairs. The next step is to submit your claim to the manufacturer. It typically takes about four to six weeks after you submit your claim to find out the decision of the manufacturer. The manufacturer will either approve the claim and offer to repurchase or refund, or they will deny the claim by stating that the vehicle doesn’t meet the definition of lemon or that your vehicle is no longer under warranty.
Arbitration or Litigation
A lemon vehicle is a vehicle that has the same issue over and over, and the dealership must be allowed a reasonable number of chances to repair the problem. By the time legal action is taken and your attorney gets involved, all chances for repair have been exhausted and the case is opened. If you are attempting to represent yourself in a lemon law claim, the manufacturer will generally encourage arbitration in order to resolve the claim, which means the manufacturer may be given another chance to fix the problem. There are a few advantages that come with arbitration: however, you are under no obligation to use this as a solution. You are free to file a lawsuit in civil court and in most situations, a lemon law attorney is critical for receiving a favorable settlement.
When you file a lemon law claim, there are a variety of resolutions that may come about. For instance, you may be offered a refund of the purchase price, a replacement vehicle, an additional attempt for repairs, an extended service contract, reimbursement for incidental expenses, or an offer of cash and keep, which means you receive some cash for your troubles, and you keep the vehicle. However, there is also a chance that nothing will be gained from making a lemon law claim. Although the lemon laws are generally consumer-friendly, there is a chance that it may not work for you. If you are considering filing a lemon law claim, navigating the legal system can be overwhelming and difficult, so it is recommended that you retain the services of an attorney experienced in lemon laws.