When you buy a new car in West Virginia, you typically expect that it will be safe. You may shop around for a great deal, but you generally anticipate a brand-new vehicle that functions perfectly for you and has years of safe driving in its future.
Unfortunately, a tiny minority of car buyers every year end up with a lemon. A lemon is a vehicle that is not in the condition it should be in due to a hard-to-repair defect. Both federal law and West Virginia state statutes have rules about the warranties that apply to vehicles and the condition that they should be in when you make a purchase. So-called lemon laws allow those who purchase a vehicle with serious issues to request justice from the manufacturer or possibly the civil courts.
The four questions below are among the most common let people have about lemon law protections in West Virginia.
What vehicles may qualify as lemons?
Typically, lemon law claims specifically involved newer vehicles that are still subject to a manufacturer’s warranty. Lemon laws may also apply to manufacturer-refurbished vehicles covered by warranties in some cases.
When does a vehicle become a lemon?
Any substantial defect that impacts the safety, usefulness or value of a vehicle could make it a lemon. The nature of the problem with the vehicle determines when it becomes a lemon.
If the issue is a safety-critical one, such as a problem with the safety restraints or brakes, then the manufacturer or dealership may only have one opportunity to repair the vehicle before the owner can bring a lemon law claim.
However, defects that are not safety critical could go through multiple repair attempts. Usually, non-safety critical defects only lead to lemon law claims after three repair attempts.
What does the lemon law allow for consumers?
When you bring a lemon law claim against the dealership, the goal is usually to replace your vehicle. Dealerships usually have to replace vehicles that fall under the lemon law. If they refuse to do so, the consumer can take them to court to pursue a replacement vehicle or a refund.
How long do you have to bring a lemon law clean?
Like most other personal injury claims in West Virginia, there is a statute of limitations that applies to lemon law claims. Typically, you will need to make a claim within four years of the first repair attempt.
Knowing the rules that dictate your rights will help you make use of the laws intended to protect you, like the lemon law that protects you from defective or poorly manufactured vehicles.