A study published earlier this year by the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) captured how many states have weak lemon laws on the books. Many consumers end up having to settle with a far worse resolution than they should have to as a result. While some states have poorly articulated lemon laws in place, West Virginia, fortunately, isn’t one of them.
CAS researchers found that most states define lemons similarly. A lemon car is one that is unusable to its owner because it has perpetual problems.
The researchers also found that almost every state that has a lemon law in place that requires manufacturers to buy their problem cars back. They found that some jurisdictions require car owners to pay a per-mile rate for any post-purchase travel though.
CAS researchers compared lemon laws across the 50 states, evaluating them based on 10 different criteria. They considered how long auto dealers were allowed to hold a vehicle to make repairs and how many times a car owner was required to take it back and try to fix it before it could be classified as a lemon. The researchers also took into account how states elected to resolve these types of cases.
New Jersey was identified as the state that offered consumers the quickest path to resolve their lemon car issues. Automakers are only given one chance to repair vehicles with serious defects. Car manufacturers have three chances to fix any other vehicles. Cars can only be left out of use for 20 days in New Jersey as well. Lemon law cases are heard by state arbitrators as opposed to ones hired by car manufacturers there too.
Illinois received the lowest ranking. State laws only allow cars to be classified as lemons during the first 12,000 miles or during the first year of ownership. Illinois law also allows automakers to delay in making repairs.
While Charleston consumers can file their lemon law claims here in West Virginia without the assistance of a lawyer, they shouldn’t do so. Automobile dealers will often pull out every stop to avoid having to buy back a problem car. This means that they may tap into whatever legal resources they have at their disposal to avoid reimbursing you.
One benefit of having an attorney representing you is that it sends a message that you’re serious about resolving your case as quickly as possible.