Hopefully, you haven’t or won’t ever experience this but, occasionally, a consumer may purchase a vehicle that is referred to as a “Lemon”. Generally, we define such a vehicle as having a material non-conforming defect which prevents you, the buyer, from enjoying its benefits and/or a defect at the time of the sale which significantly impacts the vehicle’s resale value. In order to qualify as a lemon under most state laws, the car must (1) have a substantial defect, importantly, covered by the warranty that occurred within a certain period of time or number of miles after the vehicle’s purchase, and (2) not be fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts. Ohio, Kentucky and other jurisdictions have Lemon laws which, while they may slightly differ, afford the consumer significant and similar relief. Our firm handles these cases. The first thing we ask every caller who inquires is whether it involves a new car because lemon laws, at least in Ohio and Kentucky, apply only to NEW vehicles. A new vehicle is typically defined under most state laws as one that has never been titled and which comes directly to the selling dealer from the factory. Significantly, this definition will also allow for the inclusion of demo models because, even a demo, has not been previously titled. If your vehicle qualifies as a Lemon, under these laws, you will be eligible to have the manufacturer replace the vehicle with an equivalent model or refund everything you’ve paid such that you will be made financially whole and restored to the time prior to your purchase.
We can’t offer all the advice one needs in this little space but we recommend that you retain all repair or work orders issued to you each time your vehicle is brought in to the dealer. Take videos and photos which can illustrate and support your claims. I recently had a client who complained of violent vibrations where a video he shot clearly illustrated this. Keep a diary of each time you observe or experience the relevant symptoms just as you would if you were documenting your pain and suffering from a personal injury claim.
Our office restricts cases to Ohio and Kentucky which are the jurisdictions in which we practice. We have prepared a chart below which provides a brief summary of both state’s requirements as to what constitutes or qualifies as a Lemon which includes which vehicles that are covered and which are excluded, the number of required repair attempts or the number of days the vehicle must be out of service and the period within which these events must take place.
|Effective Date||Covered Vehicles||Repair Attempts/Days Out of Service||Coverage Period|
|Kentucky||7/14/88||Vehicles, owned by a Kentucky resident and purchased or leased new in Kentucky, and required to be registered or licensed in the state, except conversion vans, motor homes, mopeds, motorcycles, farm equipment and vehicles with more than 2 axles.||4 repair attempts – 30 days out of service||1 year – 12,000 miles whichever occurs first|
|Ohio||10/22/87||Passenger vehicles and noncommercial motor vehicles, motor homes (except cooking and sleeping facilities), manufactured homes, and recreational vehicles, but excluding vehicles of government entities and vehicles of business or commercial enterprises registering 3 or more motor vehicles.||3 repair attempts for same defect. 8 total repair attempts, 1 attempt to repair condition likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, or out of service 30 or more calendar days||1 year or 18,000 miles, whichever occurs first.|