Motor vehicle inventory is at unprecedented lows statewide and throughout the country. Many West Virginians residents have been forced to expand their search to other states in their search for new or used vehicles.
Misconceptions exist about the state’s Lemon Law and its possible application to out-of-state vehicles. Simply put, our state lemon law protects all residents, regardless of where you purchased your vehicle.
Whether your vehicle qualifies as a “lemon” depends on the type of defect, when it occurs, the number of repair attempts, and the potential severity of the problem resulting in possible injury or death to the vehicle’s occupants.
What consumers should know about their defective cars
Those who purchase a new car or truck used for personal, family, or household use are covered by the lemon law during the express warranty period. During that time, if they discover a defect that cannot be repaired by the authorized dealership following multiple – usually three – attempts.
Consumers victimized by the “lemons” they bought are not limited by that number, specifically, if their car has been in a shop for 30 days or more during the first full year following the transaction, there is a presumption that the consumer has provided a reasonable opportunity to repair.
Defects that represent a significant danger to the point of causing severe injuries or fatalities not repaired after the first attempt potentially qualify for a claim.
For continuous problems for cars subject to a manufacturer’s warranty, federal law, specifically the Magnuson-Moss Warrant Act, may also apply to secure a successful Lemon Law claim.
Those who experience problems that could qualify under the state’s Lemon Law should not just turn in their keys and car to the dealership where they bought it. They should follow the proper procedures and keep detailed records of the repairs and costs associated with them.
As with any complex legal problem, representation from an attorney can make a significant difference between a claim’s success for failure. Defect victims should know that the state’s Lemon Law contains a provision that helps to level the playing field for consumers against prominent motor vehicle companies. Manufacturers must fully pay attorney fees and legal costs outside of the compensation a consumer receives in a claim.