When we buy anything new, it is expected that it will work as intended. A new computer should start up when you turn it on, run reliably and operate as you expect it to, and the same for a mountain bike, a bread maker or anything else that you purchase. It’s the same with expensive things too, when you buy a new vehicle for instance, you should be able to rely on it as transport for you and your family. You should feel safe in it, and then know it will get you to your destination. But what happens if that is not the case, and your new car develops faults that keep returning? Well, that is why lawmakers passed the Georgia Lemon Law.
It doesn’t happen often, new vehicles today are on the whole incredibly reliable, but sometimes things go wrong and a new car just doesn’t seem to ever be quite right. Your dealer may try to fix it several times, but the problems keep coming back to the point you second guess using it at all. If this happens, what can you do?
There is a piece of legislation that many people are unaware of designed to protect consumers in just this situation, called the GA lemon law. It covers all new leased or purchased vehicles registered in Georgia, but excludes motorcycles and mopeds, golf carts, or trucks heavier than 12,000lbs. The legislation offers consumers a defined route to recourse for their problem vehicle, a situation that could otherwise cause financial hardship and other issues.
However, as with any legislation, the process is complex, and errors when claiming can be costly. To remedy this, we have created a guide to help you first understand whether your vehicle qualifies under the GA Lemon Law, and then the process of making a successful claim.
Before we talk about making a Georgia lemon law claim, we begin with whether the legislation applies to your vehicle. Not all faults mean that a vehicle is covered under the GA lemon law, and that is a good thing. If every minor fault could result in a replacement vehicle or complete refund, there would be no dealers or manufacturers left to sell anyone a new car in the first place.
To avoid that, legislation must balance consumer protection with maintaining the viability of the industry, and this means that there are thresholds that a vehicle must exceed to be considered a candidate for the lemon law in GA. Of course, this doesn’t mean that other faults should be ignored, in fact the way the lemon law in GA works, it encourages dealers and manufacturers to fix any issues with your new vehicle quickly, as they should always do.
To be considered a Georgia lemon car, your vehicle must meet one of the following conditions within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles of ownership, whichever comes first:
To successfully claim under the lemon law in Georgia, it is important to maintain the manufacturer’s warranty supplied with your vehicle. This usually means ensuring that all work is carried out by approved dealers or agents. It is important to stick to this, even if your dealer seems to be getting nowhere with the problem. Taking the vehicle to a third party could void the warranty and make your claim under the lemon law in GA more difficult if not impossible.
This also applies to the service schedule. For most warranties to remain valid, you must comply with the recommended service schedule. This one can seem pointless if your vehicle is in the shop every few weeks, but to ensure you can claim successfully, if a service is scheduled, make sure it is carried out.
As you may expect, it is not enough to simply say your vehicle has had three failed repair attempts or has been in the shop for at least thirty days, you will have to prove it. This means keeping detailed records of all interactions between yourself, the dealer, the manufacturer and any other aspect of the process.
Of course, at the beginning you won’t be aware that the vehicle will turn out to be a Georgia lemon car, and not know you need those records. That is why it is good practice to do this for every vehicle you lease or purchase, just in case you need such documentation at a later date. It’s a habit worth forming, you never know when it will come in useful.
The lemon law in Georgia lays out the remedies consumers who make a successful claim within the legislation, which gives the consumer the choice of either:
Because the consumer is provided the choice, the result from a successful claim is the best outcome possible for the individual.
While the lemon law in GA allows consumers to represent themselves in these cases, it is worth noting that manufacturers will actively defend themselves using qualified and experienced legal teams in any GA lemon law case. Because there are a number of complexities involved, and you are facing experienced attorneys, it is advisable to seek representation from an attorney experienced in the lemon law in Georgia to give your claim the best chance of success.
They will present your case in the most effective way and deliver the best outcome for your situation.