Jumping through the Hoops of Massachusetts Lemon Law

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on March 24th, 2010

Lemon Laws Massachusetts

There are few things more disconcerting than buying a new car and coming to the dawning realization that it’s a lemon. The first trip to the repair shop is simply annoying, but the third trip to the dealer for the same problem is enough to make your blood boil. Yet, like most states, Massachusetts requires that you take your vehicle in for a number of repairs before it can be deemed a “lemon.”

MA lemon law rules say that you must take your vehicle in for a “reasonable number” of repair attempts before it can be defined as a lemon. This means that, within one year of taking delivery of the vehicle or 15,000 miles (whichever comes first), your vehicle has either been in the repair shop three times for the same problem, or has been out of service for a cumulative total of 15 business days for the same problem or a combination of problems. Even after jumping through those hoops, though, the car defect has to persist. In other words, you’ve taken it in for repair and it’s still broken.

Before you’re eligible for a lemon buyback, MA lemon law says that you have to give the manufacturer (not the dealer) yet another chance to fix the problem. Once you’ve sent notification to the manufacturer, they have seven days to correct the car defect. It’s only after this final-final repair attempt – and if the problem isn’t fixed – that you become eligible for a lemon buy back.

What’s a lemon buyback? Basically, Massachusetts lemon law says that you’re entitled to receive either a replacement vehicle or a refund. This doesn’t mean, however, that automakers are eager – or even willing – to provide you with the lemon buyback you deserve. Indeed, car manufacturers often count on the fact that most consumers don’t know their rights, or that people will be intimidated by the teams of lawyers that automakers employ to fight lemon law claims.

That’s precisely why it’s crucial to have an advocate by your side. When you have a lemon law attorney represent you, it sends a clear signal to the automaker that you mean business, and that you’re not going to go away. It’s equally important, however, to contact an attorney before the clock runs out. That’s because manufacturers try all kinds of delaying tactics in the hope that the lemon law eligibility period will expire. The legal team at LemonJustice.com is standing by, prepared to provide you with a free case evaluation and guide you through the final steps to ensuring a successful lemon law claim.

Connecticut’s Lemon Law Arbitration Program Examined

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on March 7th, 2010

Connecticut’s Lemon Law Arbitration Program

Unlike in many other states, Connecticut residents who have defective cars have the opportunity to enter into a state-run arbitration program rather than simply taking auto manufacturers to court. The problem is that, while on the surface arbitration programs look like a good deal for consumers, many people don’t realize how complicated the process is. Let’s take a look at what’s involved.

First, according to lemon law rules, you need to file a request for arbitration. Your application and filing fee may be accepted or rejected. If your application is accepted, it is next reviewed by an arbitration panel, which consists of an arbitrator and a technical expert. There, it may again be accepted or rejected.

For many people, even filling out the application form can be confusing. For example, you need to choose between what’s called a “documentary hearing” or an “oral hearing.” In a documentary hearing, both you and the auto manufacturer have to turn in sworn statements and other evidence and documentation. The arbitration panel will only consider this written material when deciding your case. This process becomes daunting when you realize that the car manufacturer has a team of legal eagles at its disposal to poke holes in your written argument. It’s a bit like a Sampson and Goliath situation.

The same is really true for an oral hearing. As the name implies, you get to make your case verbally before the arbitration panel. But that doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook for written documentation. Indeed, you have to bring all sorts of written material to an oral hearing, including warranties, correspondence, work orders, and so forth. You’ll need to communicate all the conversations you’ve had with the dealer or manufacturer, have a list of questions to ask the manufacturer’s representatives, and prepare a closing argument.

That’s why it makes sense to have a lemon law attorney by your side. Most consumers aren’t Perry Mason, and shouldn’t be expected to go toe-to-toe with a carmaker’s legal team. A good lemon lawyer, like those at LemonJustice.com, is experienced in litigation and can prepare a case that will pave the way for a lemon buyback. Plus, at attorney can give you sound lemon law advice so that you have a strong case when going into arbitration. Alternately, he can approach the automaker directly, and reach a settlement without ever having to enter state-run arbitration.

Lemon Law Rules: Connecticut’s Arbitration Program

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on March 7th, 2010

Connecticut’s Arbitration Program

According to many states’  lemon laws, having a defective car means taking an automobile manufacturer to court. But in CT, lemon law rules provide for what’s known as an arbitration program. Administered by the Department of Consumer Protection, the arbitration program decides whether or not your vehicle meets the criteria of Connecticut lemon laws, and whether you’re eligible for arbitration. Ultimately, the arbitration program decides whether or not you’re eligible for a lemon buyback.

In order to take advantage of the state’s arbitration program, you need to file an application and documents, as well as pay a fee. First, the Department of Consumer Protection will review your application and determine whether or not you’re eligible for arbitration. If so, your application goes on to an arbitrator and an automotive technical expert. These two people will also review your application, and can determine that you’re ineligible for arbitration – even if the Department of Consumer Protection said that you are.

While Connecticut lemon law supposedly designed the lemon law arbitration process so that consumers don’t have to hire an attorney, the reality is that it’s a very complex and intimidating process. It doesn’t help that auto manufacturers show up for arbitration with or submit documents from teams of attorneys who do nothing but fight lemon law claims. One slip-up by the consumer – either in terms of the paperwork filed or in not countering the arguments of the manufacturer’s legal team, and the idea of justice is out the window.

Whether you live in Connecticut –  or any other state with an arbitration program – it’s important to have an attorney by your side. The right lawyer can give you lemon law advice, and can often get you a settlement or a lemon buy back without ever going through the arbitration process. Often, an auto manufacturer will back down because having a lemon law lawyer sends the message that you’re serious about your claim, and that you’re not willing to put up with a defective car.

If you think you have a lemon vehicle, it’s important to contact an attorney early. In lemon law cases, timing is everything. A lemon law lawyer will consult with you and guide you through the process of substantiating your claim, collecting the proper documentation, and bringing the auto manufacturer to justice. 

Used Cars Lemon Laws and New York

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on February 19th, 2010

In today’s economy, more people than ever before are in the market for used cars. It can be a vulnerable feeling to buy a used car, because you always have a sneaking suspicion that you may just be buying someone else’s problem. Car dealers can be disingenuous at best, and sometimes a hard sell works – even if you have lingering doubts.

Once you get home with your new purchase, you may find that you’ve bought a lemon. Luckily, New York lemon laws are some of the most stringent in the country. While this isn’t the case in many states, in NY, used cars are covered by lemon law rules. In other words, even if you’ve made a lemon purchase, you do have an avenue of redress.

As we’ve said, New York’s defect automobile laws cover used cars, too. But it’s important to know how the law defines a used car lemon. NY law says that, in order to be considered a lemon, a used car must met every one of five criteria. First, you have to have purchased, leased, or had the vehicle transferred to you after there were 18,000 miles on the odometer or after two years from the original date of delivery. Second, you have to have purchased or leased the vehicle from a New York dealer. Third, you have to have paid at least $1,500 for the vehicle. Fourth, there had to have been 100,000 miles or less on the odometer when you bought or leased the car. Finally, the car has to be driven for personal use (as opposed to business purposes) over fifty percent of the time.

If you think that you’ve purchased a NY lemon, the first thing you should do is contact a lemon law attorney. The lawyers at LemonJustice.com specialize in New York lemon law, and can walk you through the process of establishing the status of your vehicle and work toward getting you a refund. Anytime you purchase a vehicle – whether new or used – you have the right to a ride that’s free of defects. Remember that the law is on your side, as are the attorneys at LemonJustice.com. When you stand up for your rights and demand justice, you not only get a refund, but you hold dealers accountable. Doing so means it’s less likely that other consumers will be taken for a ride.

New York Lemon Laws: How to Get Your Money Back

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on February 11th, 2010

New York Lemon Laws: How to Get Your Money Back

If you’ve purchased a defective car, you may be covered under NY lemon laws for new cars. The car has to meet a number of criteria in order to be considered a lemon, but if it meets those requirements, you are entitled to what’s called a lemon buy back. This means that the manufacturer has to either refund your money or take back your defective car and provide you with a comparable make and model.

New York’s motor vehicle lemon law
says that, if you purchased your vehicle and opt for a refund, the refund you receive from the manufacturer should include the purchase price – both the cash you paid and any trade-in allowance you received. Moreover, you’re entitled to a refund of the registration and title fees. You can also receive a refund of state and local sales taxes, but in order to receive this part of the refund, you have to submit a form to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Many consumers who use New York’s car return law for a lemon buyback don’t realize that defective automobile laws stipulate that the manufacturer can deduct certain amounts from the money refunded. For example, if the vehicle has over 12,000 miles on the odometer, the manufacturer can deduct a certain amount from the refund. That amount is calculated by taking the number of miles over 12,000, multiplying that by the purchase price, and dividing the resulting number by 100,000. As an example, if you bought a $20,000 car and it had 15,000 miles on it at the time of the lemon buyback, the manufacturer will deduct $600 from the refund. In addition, the manufacturer can take a deduction if there’s damage to the vehicle that’s not caused by normal wear and tear.

In lemon buy back situations, some consumers opt not to get a refund, but instead to get a comparable vehicle from the manufacturer. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that you’ll receive a brand new car. Rather, it means that the manufacturer can provide you with the same make, model, and year, providing the mileage on the vehicle you receive is about the same as the mileage on the lemon buyback.

If your vehicle has a car defect, your best bet for getting your money back is to engage the services of an attorney specializing in lemon law. The attorneys at lemonjustice.com have a wealth of experience in fighting the legal teams hired by auto manufacturers. Their services shouldn’t cost you a dime, since the manufacturers are required to pay for your attorney’s fees.