Lemon Law / Breach Of Warranty

Q: What is a “Lemon”?
A: Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a lemon as “one that is unsatisfactory or defective.” In an effort to further define such a broad term for consumers, the Lemon Law attempts to define certain situations and/or circumstances which would entitle a consumer to a repurchase (their money back) or a replacement of their vehicle (new vehicle). In short, any defect or non-conformity, or combination of defects, which is/are not repaired within a reasonable time or a reasonable number of attempts, may entitle you, the consumer, to Lemon Law relief. Your vehicle does not have to be breaking down or inoperable to be considered a Lemon; in fact, if you are reading this, you ought to take the next step and contact the Law Offices of Matthew W. Kiverts for a free consultation, because you may be entitled to compensation.

Q: Does my vehicle qualify as a “Lemon”?
A: There really is no such thing as “qualifying”, and you the consumer should be wary when speaking with those employed by automobile manufacturers or their authorized dealerships, as they often will not be upfront and have your best interests in mind when advising you of your options with respect to your vehicle; in fact, if you are reading this, you ought to take the next step and contact the Law Offices of Matthew W. Kiverts for a free consultation, because you may be entitled to compensation.

Q: What if I start having problems after the first year?
A: Your state Lemon Law is but one avenue you may have available to you. In addition, there are other laws which govern warranties that may be used to assist you. Despite the fact your state’s Lemon Law period may have expired, you may still be entitled to compensation; in fact, if you are reading this, you ought to take the next step and contact the Law Offices of Matthew W. Kiverts for a free consultation, because you may still be entitled to compensation.

Q: Should I take my vehicle in again for repair?
A: It depends. The facts and circumstances of each case are different, and therefore, it is best to maintain the status quo until you have an opportunity to talk to an attorney. In other words, do not take your vehicle in for repair or allow any additional work to be done to it. The Law Offices of Matthew W. Kiverts will offer you a free consultation; therefore, contact us today so that we can discuss your case and determine the best course of action. However, if your vehicle is dangerous and/or unsafe and you continue to drive it, you do so at your own risk. It is important to remember that if you decide to move forward with a claim for lemon law/breach of warranty, many manufacturers will want to inspect your vehicle. You will have a much better chance of obtaining the relief/compensation that you seek if you can demonstrate the existence of a defect. If you cannot, you may still be entitled to relief/compensation, but it may be reduced.

Q: What if the dealership refuses to repair my vehicle?
A: If you take your vehicle to an authorized dealership and that dealership refuses to repair your vehicle, you may have a claim. When a manufacturer issues a warranty, that warranty will in almost every case require the authorized dealership to do repair work on the vehicle. If the dealership and manufacturer later refuse to do the repair work, you may have a claim under your state Lemon Law, Federal Warranty Law (Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act), and/or other laws.

Q: I purchased my vehicle used—do I still have a case?
A: Quite possibly. The fact that you did not purchase your vehicle “new” does not automatically disqualify you from relief. While state Lemon Laws typically require the vehicle to have been purchased “new”, Federal Warranty Law and other laws do not have such a requirement; therefore, you should contact the Law Offices of Matthew W. Kiverts for a free consultation, as you may be entitled to compensation.

Q: What is a breach of warranty case?
A: A breach of warranty case and Lemon Law case are very similar; but, there are notable differences. The best thing to do is to contact the Law Offices of Matthew W. Kiverts for a free consultation, so that you can speak with an experienced attorney and learn about the differences, and about what avenue would be best for you.

Q: In a breach of warranty case, what is the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act?
A: The Magnuson-Moss Warranty act is a Federal Law that protects the buyer of any product which costs more than $25 and comes with an express written warranty. This law applies to any product that you buy that does not perform as it should.

The Magnuson-Moss law is a federal law that gives consumers considerable rights in dealing with manufacturers of lemon cars. This law guarantees a car buyer that certain minimum requirements of warranties must be met, and provides for disclosure of warranties before purchase. Regarding “lemon cars”, this law greatly affects the rights of car buyers. For any product which has a written warranty if any part of the product or the product itself is considered defective, the warrantor must permit the buyer the choice of either a refund or replacement of the product. A consumer may pursue legal action in any court of general jurisdiction in the United States to enforce his rights under the Magnuson-Moss Law. Attorney’s fees based on actual time spent will be covered if the consumer does prevail. (Source: http://www.autopedia.com)

Q: What documents do I need for a Lemon Law and/or breach of warranty case?
A: Repair orders. A repair order is the document you are given by the dealership each time you take it in for repair. A dealership is required to give you this written documentation. You should always take time to make sure that all of the information on that repair order is correct before you leave the dealership. For example, you should make sure that all of the complaints you made to the dealership about the vehicle are written up exactly how you described them; that the “dates in” and “dates out” are exactly correct; that the mileage is exactly correct; and, that the resolution/repair performed to the vehicle is exactly what the dealership told you it was. This is very important. Often times, dealerships will tell you that they “heard the clunking sound”; but, on the repair order, they will type “NPF-no problem found”. It is up to you the consumer to read the repair orders carefully and ensure their accuracy before leaving the dealership. In addition to repair orders, any TSB’s (technical service bulletins) provided to you by the dealership, notes, receipts (repair/rental), or other written documentation could be of assistance.

Q: What remedies are available in a Lemon Law and/or breach of warranty case?
A: “Repurchase”, “replacement”, or money damages. In a Lemon Law case, “repurchase” (refund) and “replacement” (new car) are the ultimate remedies. When a “repurchase” occurs, you will bring your vehicle back to the dealership where you purchased it, and the manufacturer, through its authorized dealership, will refund your money (minus a mileage offset for the miles/use you got out of the vehicle). When a “replacement” occurs, you will bring your vehicle back to the dealership where you purchased it, and the manufacturer, through its authorized dealership, will replace your defective vehicle with a comparable vehicle (non-defective). In a breach of warranty case, you the consumer will most often receive compensation in the form of a partial refund of the vehicle, though you will retain possession/ownership of the vehicle. The vast majority of cases are settled in this manner, with all attorneys’ fees and costs being paid by the manufacturer.

Q: How much will you charge to represent me?
A: The Law Offices of Matthew W. Kiverts does not charge for consultations. These are free. If we offer to represent you and you decide to retain us and move forward with a claim, we will keep track of the work we do and time spent performing that work. We will keep accurate accounting records. As our client, you may view these records at any time. We have an hourly rate, but we will not ask you to pay it; rather we will bill the manufacturer/dealer/defendant. The defendant will pay your attorneys’ fees and costs in a breach of warranty case. The law was written this way to allow a consumer, such as yourself, the ability to hire an attorney and not worry about how in the world you are going to pay him.