Transport is an essential part of daily life for most of us. Of course, one only considers the Hawaii Lemon Law when they need it. Whether it is getting to work, doing the school run, grocery shopping or a hundred other things, getting around easily and safely matters. If we can’t it can make life much more difficult, which is why so many of us buy or lease new vehicles today. A new vehicle gives peace of mind, a vehicle that you can rely on whenever you need it, great for all family members. But while it is rare, sometimes a new vehicle just isn’t reliable. From constant problems to a fault that never seems to get fixed, some new cars are just too unreliable to use. What happens then?
There is a piece of legislation that many are unaware of known as the HI lemon law, and it is designed to protect consumers in this situation. Covering new car leases or purchases registered in Hawaii, the lemon law in Hawaii applies to all motor vehicles primarily designed for the public highway with a gross vehicle weight of less than 10,000lbs, and includes demonstrator vehicles along with used vehicles that are purchased with an active manufacturer warranty still in effect. It does not cover motorcycles, mopeds and motor scooters, or vehicles owned or leased by a company that has purchased or leased more than one vehicle per year.
With this protection, consumers in Hawaii can have confidence when looking at a new vehicle, whether choosing to lease or purchase. However, knowing that legislation is in place to protect you and making a claim under it are two very different things. As with all legal processes, the lemon law in Hawaii can be complex, and mistakes when claiming could be costly, so our guide is here to help you identify whether your vehicle is a lemon, and how to proceed if it is.
Before making any claim under the Hawaii lemon law, the first step is to ascertain whether your vehicle qualifies. Not every vehicle does, because simply having an issue with a vehicle is not enough. There are good reasons for this if you think about it. If every minor problem could result in a replacement vehicle or a complete refund, then most dealers and manufacturers would be bankrupt, and there would be no auto industry to provide the cars we all need.
Instead, the HI lemon law legislation, like similar laws in other states, seeks a balance between protecting consumers from bad vehicles and ensuring the industry remains viable. To achieve this, the law stipulates certain threshold conditions that the vehicle must meet to be considered a lemon car in Hawaii.
It is important to remember that even a minor fault should be repaired quickly and effectively, and even if the problem is not a lemon law qualifier, dealers cannot ignore it. Having said that, these are the conditions that should be met for your vehicle to be considered a Hawaii lemon car.
For eligibility under the lemon law in Hawaii, within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles, whichever is first, the vehicle must have met one or more of the following conditions:
One area that is easy to forget is that the lemon law in Hawaii is built upon the vehicle’s manufacturer’s warranty. It is crucial to a successful claim that the warranty remains valid throughout the claim process, and that means complying with all the appropriate terms and conditions.
There are two areas of particular importance. The first is who works on the vehicle. Most warranties stipulate that only authorized dealers or agents of the manufacturer can carry out work, else the warranty is void. It can be tempting to try a third party if you are getting nowhere with the dealership, but it is important to stick with it and maintain the warranty.
This also applies to the service schedule. If your vehicle is in the shop yet again and a service is due, you may want to just ignore it. That would be a mistake, until you get the final verdict on your claim, maintain the service schedule and keep the vehicle warranty intact.
Because the lemon law in Hawaii is a law, and that making a claim under the legislation is a legal process, it is not enough that you state the conditions have been met for the lemon law to apply. You have to prove the number of repairs, that the fault could be deadly or that the vehicle has been off the road for more than thirty days.
This means documenting that journey, keeping records of everything about the vehicle, its problems and the response from the dealer, the manufacturer and any other group the manufacturer brings in to solve it for you.
To accomplish this, keep records of:
Of course, you can’t do that after the calls and correspondence have occurred, and in the beginning, you may not know this would turn out to be a HI lemon law case. This is why it is good practice to keep these kinds of records for every car you purchase or lease. That way, you always have the right evidence if the worst should happen.
As part of the legislation that makes up the lemon law in Hawaii, the remedies available to consumers who make a successful claim are laid out, and these are:
These remedies apply to both leased and purchased vehicles, and for used vehicles that were bought with the manufacturer’s written warranty still in effect.
It is possible to represent your own claim throughout this process, however this would be an error. The compliance with the legislation, and the paperwork to support a claim can become complex, and an attorney with experience dealing with the Hawaii lemon law is highly recommended. Not only this, but manufacturers always defend such claims, so having your own legal reputation offers the best chance of success.