The Virginia Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act, better known as the Virginia Lemon Law, establishes consumer protection provisions for vehicle owners and lessees who believe they were sold a “lemon” – a vehicle with a recurring and irreparable manufacturer defect – to seek vehicle repurchase or replacement.
Included within the Virginia lemon law are a series of eligibility requirements that must be strictly adhered to in order to successfully file a lemon law claim.
These requirements include the types of vehicles eligible for coverage, the types of defects that qualify for coverage, the reasonable number of unsuccessful repair attempts a vehicle must undergo, written notice provisions, and the time period in which a claim must be filed.
Consulting with a qualified and experienced lemon law attorney, like those of the Robison Lemon Law Group, can play a significant role in the eligibility, success and financial award of lemon law claims.
To ensure your claim is filed properly and results in the maximum compensation you’re entitled to under Virginia lemon law, contact our dedicated team of attorneys for your free consultation today.
How Virginia Defines What a Lemon Car Is
A lemon car, generally defined as a vehicle with a serious, recurring and irreparable problem or defect, is explicitly defined by the Virginia Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act (Virginia lemon law) as a new vehicle that has:
- A failure to conform with a warranty, defect or a condition, including those that do not affect the driveability of the vehicle
- A significant impairment to the use, market value or safety of the vehicle
Vehicles covered under Virginia lemon law are new:
- Passenger cars (used primarily for transportation of less than 10 people)
- Pick-up and panel trucks
- Motor homes (non-living components)
Virginia lemon law protections apply exclusively to new vehicles and do not extend coverage to used cars, recreational or aquatic vehicles. The one caveat to this rule is that certain used vehicles may be classified as “new” vehicles under the law, if the defect arises within 18 months of the original purchase date of the vehicle (by the first owner).
Despite their ineligibility for state lemon law protections, used vehicle owners who believe they’ve been sold a lemon may be eligible for financial compensation and federal protection under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
Virginia Lemon Law Requirements
While federal laws such as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act govern product liability and warranties, Virginia lemon laws provide specific protections for owners of new (and used) vehicles that are defective.
Virginia lemon law includes a series of strict requirements outlining the types of impairments eligible for coverage, the “reasonable” number of unsuccessful repair attempts a vehicle must undergo, written notice provisions, and the time period in which problems must be identified and claims can be filed.
New Car Lemon Law in Virginia
The Virginia Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act (Virginia Lemon Law) requires that all new vehicles:
- Have a “significant impairment” which renders the vehicle unfit, unreliable or unsafe for ordinary use
- Be the subject of written notice by the owner to the manufacturer regarding the defect
- Undergo (at a minimum) the first unsuccessful repair attempt within the lemon law rights period of 18 months following the original delivery date of the vehicle
- Undergo at least 3 unsuccessful repair attempts for the same issue (only required 1 unsuccessful repair attempt for a life-threatening safety defect)
- Be out of service for a cumulative total of 30 days
To ensure Virginia lemon law eligibility, vehicle owners should maintain all service, repair and warranty records related to the vehicle defect and immediately notify (in writing) the manufacturer when a defect has been uncovered.
Breach of Warranty
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is an alternative method of protection and financial remedy for breach of warranty issues not covered under Virginia lemon law, including those experienced by used vehicle owners and “new” vehicles outside claim filing period.
Breach of warranty takes place when:
- A vehicle manufacturer or dealer fails to fulfill promises made in the warranty provided at time of purchase
- A vehicle has undergone at least 3 unsuccessful repair attempts for the same issue
- A vehicle has been out of service for 30 or more cumulative days (during repair)
Breach of warranty claims have a filing period equal to that of the duration of the manufacturer’s original warranty; which, in Virginia, is very likely to exceed the eighteen-month time period for filing lemon law claims.
Exceptions to Virginia Lemon Laws
Virginia new vehicle owners are ineligible to bring lemon law claims if:
- They are attempting to file more than 18 months following the original delivery date of the vehicle (absent extensions by the manufacturer for repairs)
- The nonconformity is determined to be the result of abuse, modification, alteration or neglect of the vehicle
- Advanced written notification of the defect was not provided to the manufacturer
Virginia Lemon Law Cases
The Robison Lemon Law Group has successfully litigated lemon law cases related to a wide range of vehicle defects, including engine and electrical failure, brake defects, leaky windshields, engine noise and vehicle shaking.
While past success is not a guarantee of future outcomes, hiring an experienced and qualified lemon law attorney is an essential component of winning your lemon law claim.
Talk to an Experienced Lemon Lawyer in Virginia and Get a Free Case Evaluation
If your vehicle has suffered from a recurring and seemingly irreparable defect, it may be time to begin considering filing a lemon law claim.
Consulting with an experienced lemon law attorney to confirm your Virginia lemon law eligibility and help you navigate the claims process is an important first step towards maximizing your success and financial award in any lemon law case.
Contact the Robison Lemon Law Group for your free consultation today.
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