WCAX in Burlington, VT, recently published a report about a Vermont woman who – in an homage to the days before the first lemon law was enacted – puts a lemon sign on her car and parks it in front of the Hyundai dealership each morning.

About eight months after she purchased the car, it wouldn’t start. She took it into the dealership several times, and then availed herself of the state’s lemon law arbitration board. The arbitration board ruled that, because the car’s malfunctioning DVD player was draining the battery, it was not a lemon under the law.

While state-run arbitration panels have their place, all too often the consumer gets the short end of the stick. While the woman’s vehicle might not have qualified as a lemon in the board’s eyes, she was certainly inconvenienced on the numerous occasions when her car didn’t start, and when she had to take it in to the shop.

This story is a reminder that it can behoove consumers to engage the services of a lemon law attorney. An attorney can often reach a settlement with the manufacturer, or convince the manufacturer to compensate the victim in some way, even when a vehicle doesn’t meet the strict definition of a lemon.