A Lemon: Issues With Use, Value, Or Safety
What makes a vehicle a lemon is multiple repair attempts for issues…
To be covered under lemon laws, the defect has to be serious in that it affects the use, value, or safety of the vehicle. However, there are different types of defects. For example, if your car stereo doesn’t work, it’s not the same thing as your car’s engine not working.
If your vehicle makes a noise, the manufacturer would certainly argue that that’s not a serious defect. While it might be annoying, it may not rise to the level of what’s called substantial non-conformity to be able to bring a lemon law claim.
In the event the vehicle continues to have multiple repairs, one after the other, that can’t be fixed, that would in most instances be enough to bring a claim against it.
Three Or Four Repairs, Generally
While each state has its separate requirements, in general, either three or four repairs must be completed to have a lemon law claim, depending on the jurisdiction.
In Georgia, to meet the definition under the lemon law, a vehicle has to have three or more repair attempts or thirty or more calendar days at the shop. Once either of these two conditions is met, then the consumer has enough to make a claim.
A common misconception is that just because the vehicle is in the shop 3 times or for 30 days or 100 days, something automatically happens: the manufacturer automatically gives you either a new vehicle or a refund. That’s not the case.
The law by itself sets forth the guidelines that courts follow to decide on whether the vehicle is classified as a lemon or not. Just because it’s in the shop for more than 30 days doesn’t mean that the manufacturer has to give you a refund or a new vehicle. It does mean you have enough to go to court and have a judge decide.
One Last Chance To Fix: The Final Repair Attempt
Most state lemon laws require that you give the manufacturer one last chance to fix the vehicle after it’s been in the shop the required number of times or days.
The final repair attempt is triggered by sending written notice to the manufacturer, putting them on notice of the defects in the vehicle, and requesting or requiring them to set up an appointment for you at a convenient, authorized repair facility. Or the manufacturer is to have what the law classifies as a final repair attempt.
If the defects continue after the final repair attempt, then at that point the consumer can make a claim in court or arbitration. Some state lemon laws do not require a final repair attempt at all, and some states do not require a final repair attempt if the vehicle’s been in the shop for 30 or more days.
Lemon Proof: The Importance of Documentation
Since the lemon law generally requires multiple repairs, as soon as you start having issues with the vehicle, take it into the dealer, to the authorized dealership for repairs. Make sure that every time you take it into the shop or to the dealership you get documents: the date you brought it in, the date you picked it up, and the issues that you’re complaining about. Once you have multiple repairs or excessive days out of service, you really should then contact an experienced lemon law attorney.
Picking An Experienced Lemon Law Attorney
Once you have either the required number of repair attempts or more, you should contact an experienced attorney for a lemon law consultation. That attorney will need all the documentation relating to the repairs of the vehicle as well as the sales and finance documents and a copy of the registration. These documents will assist the attorney in reviewing your case.
You can also contact an organization such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to file a complaint. The bureau has what’s called the BBB auto lines, self-help arbitration, where you file a claim against the manufacturer.
Once the vehicle starts having multiple repairs or repetitive repairs, even if you only have two repairs, you can still contact the lemon law attorney to get a consultation about what to do going forward. But, if you have multiple repairs or multiple days out of service, you should contact an experienced lemon law attorney for advice, providing the lawyer with all your documents for that review.
For more information on Lemon Law in Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (844) 88-LEMON or (844) 885-3666 today