How To File A Strong Lemon Law Claim in 5 Steps

Vehicles with repeated, irreparable problems, commonly referred to as “lemons,” can be a significant source of anxiety and financial hardship for automobile, motorcycle, and other vehicle owners.

Luckily, each state in the United States has statutory protections and remedies in place for these situations, known as Lemon Laws.

Despite the existence of these laws, it can be challenging for consumers to know whether or not their vehicle qualifies as a lemon and how to file lemon law claims.

How to File a Lemon Law Claim

Before filing a lemon law claim, there are a series of steps all vehicle owners should follow.

1. Determine Whether Your Vehicle is a “Lemon”

Before filing a claim, vehicle owners need to identify whether their vehicle is, in fact, a lemon. Under United States law, vehicles are considered to be “lemons” when they have a substantial and irreparable defect. However, each state has specific requirements for outlining eligible vehicles.

Pennsylvania Lemon Law Requirements

Under Pennsylvania Lemon Law, all new vehicles purchased or leased for personal, family or household purposes are eligible for lemon law protections for problems arising within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles of ownership.

Used automobiles, motorcycles, RVs, off-road vehicles, and commercial vehicles are not covered under Pennsylvania lemon laws.

New Jersey Lemon Law Requirements

The New Jersey New Car Lemon Law applies to all passenger vehicles and motorcycles purchased, leased, or registered in the state of New Jersey, with an irreparable defect which substantially impairs the use, safety, and value of the vehicle.

Vehicles are covered by New Jersey lemon law for the first 24 months or 24,000 miles of ownership, lease, or registration. Emergency vehicles and mobile homes are also covered under NJ New Car Lemon Law; commercial vehicles and the living quarters of mobile homes are not.

The Used Car Lemon Law (U.C.L.L.) allows owners to file lemon law claims for used vehicles, purchased from licensed dealers, which develop repeated parts-related problems (covered under the required limited warranty). Used Car Lemon Law does not cover motorcycles, commercial vehicles, leased vehicles, or private sales.

New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law claims require:

  • The vehicle be 7 model years old or less
  • The vehicle be purchased for at least $3,000
  • A maximum vehicle mileage of 100,000 miles (at time of purchase)
  • Problem to be related to the engine, transmission or drive-train

New York Lemon Law Requirements

New York State Lemon Law protects purchasers and lessees of both new and used vehicles, which do not meet the terms of their written warranties or have irreparable issues.

New York New Car Lemon Law claims require:

  • The vehicle to have been purchased within the earlier of 18,000 miles or 24 months from original delivery
  • The vehicle is used primarily for personal purposes

New York Used Car Lemon Law claims require:

  • The vehicle to be purchased for at least $1,500
  • Maximum vehicle mileage of 100,000 miles (at time of purchase)
  • Vehicle was purchased after 18,000 miles or 24 months following delivery
  • Vehicle was purchased from a New York dealer

2. Conduct a Reasonable Number of Repair Attempts

Vehicle manufacturers must participate in a reasonable number of unsuccessful repair attempts for the same, recurring issue, in order for a vehicle to be classified as a lemon.

As such, vehicle owners who identify a potentially irreparable issue with their vehicle must have multiple documented instances of repairs prior to filing a lemon law claim.

The number of attempted repairs required varies by state.

Pennsylvania & Maryland Lemon Law claims require:

  • At least 3 unsuccessful repair attempts or 30 days (cumulative) of repair

New Jersey New Car Lemon Law claims require:

  • Manufacturers be provided a “final opportunity” to repair the defect
  • A letter sent (certified mail, return receipt requested) notifying the manufacturer of a potentially valid lemon claim
  • At least 2 unsuccessful repairs or a 20 (cumulative) days of repair (only one attempt required if the issue is a “serious safety defect”)
  • 10 calendar days to complete “final opportunity” for repair

New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law claims require:

  • At least three unsuccessful repair attempts or 20 (cumulative) days of repair

New York New Car Lemon Law claims require:

  • Immediate reporting of the issue (upon discovery)
  • At least 4 unsuccessful repair attempts or 30 (cumulative) days of repair

New York Used Car Lemon Law claims require:

  • At least 3 unsuccessful repair attempts or 15 (cumulative) days of repair

3. Ensure the Irreparable Issue is Documented in All Repair Orders

Repair orders are an essential aspect of every lemon law claim.

They are the primary piece of evidence used to establish a recurring and irreparable issue. As a result, prior to signing any repair order from a vehicle dealer or manufacturer, vehicle owners should make sure that the issue is accurately described and documented.

In the event of an inaccurate repair order, ask the service advisors to the correct the repair order before signing it.

Pennsylvania lemon law claims require:

  • Repair invoices provided to owners for all repairs
  • Dealer notification of manufacturers for repeated repairs
  • Documentation of problem within first 12 months or 12,000 miles of ownership

New York New Car Lemon Law claims require:

  • Owner to have kept careful records of all complaints, work orders, bills and correspondence related to the issue

4. Collect All Relevant Documentation

Dealers and manufacturers should not be relied upon to produce accurate or complete paperwork in lemon law claims.

As a result, prior to filing a claim, vehicle owners should collect and verify all of the relevant documentation for their claim.

These documents include:

  • Vehicle repair orders
  • Service invoices
  • Receipts
  • Proof of purchase
  • Vehicle warranty

5. File Your Lemon Law Claim ASAP

Regardless of an individual’s state of residence, there exists a time limit for filing lemon law claims.

Additionally, while there exists a wide variety of remedies in lemon law cases, all of them are dependent upon the value of the vehicle in question.

To maximize award amount and ensure claims are evaluated in time, it is essential that vehicle owners file their claims as soon as possible following the completion of the final required repair attempt.

Questions Regarding Lemon Law Claims?

Whether you are looking for an attorney to handle your lemon law claim or simply need some advice, the passionate and highly qualified team of attorneys at Robison Lemon Law Group LLC is here to help.

Contact us today via email or call us at (844) 214-6053 to schedule your free consultation.