When you purchase something new you expect it do work as intended. If your new laptop won’t boot up properly, or a jacket has a hole in the pocket, you won’t accept it and return the item for a replacement or refund. But what happens if one of the biggest purchases you will ever make, your car, isn’t working the way it should? It is rare, but occasionally a new car will have continuous problems and be something you just can’t rely on. What can you do?
You have rights when purchasing a new vehicle just as you do with anything ales, and the piece of legislation designed to protect consumers when buying cars is known as the Indiana lemon law. The law applies to all vehicles purchased or leased and registered in Indiana, that does not exceed 10,000lbs in weight and its primary use is for public highways. This includes cars, trucks, SUVs and vans. The lemon law in Indiana specifically excludes conversion vans, motor homes, farm tractors and other farm machinery along with motorcycles and mopeds, snowmobiles or any vehicle primarily designed for off-road use.
The Indiana lemon law covers both new and used car purchases if the used car is both covered by manufacturer warranty and has less than 18,000 miles on the odometer. So, if you are buying a vehicle you can have confidence that Indiana legislation has you covered. However, as with all legal considerations, knowing that the lemon law in Indiana exists, and knowing the details of what is covered and how to claim if you need to are not the same. As with most legal proceedings, it can be complex, so to avoid expensive mistakes we have a guide to help you understand if your problem vehicle is covered under the Indiana lemon law.
Buying any vehicle is a major purchase and probably the second most expensive thing you will buy after your home, so you want it to be perfect. However, that doesn’t mean that every minor problem means you can make a lemon law claim and geta refund or replacement vehicle, instead there are specific threshold that must be met before the Indiana lemon law applies. This makes sense, if you could declare any vehicle a lemon car if there is a minor fault and demand a refund or replacement, there would be no dealers left to sell you your next vehicle.
Any fault you have with a vehicle should be fixed quickly by your dealer, and it is the inability to fix a problem that ultimately leads to a vehicle being labelled an Indiana lemon car.
Your vehicle will qualify under the Indiana lemon law if, within 18,000 miles, a fault that impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle causes one or more of the following:
To maintain qualification for the lemon law in Indiana the warranty must be in good standing. This means that you must comply with warranty terms, such as only allowing approved dealers to work on the vehicle, and maintain the service schedule at all times, even as the claim proceeds.
Failing to do this can cause issues for you claim at a later date. It can seem illogical, especially having a service carried out on a lemon car, but it is an important part of your successful claim and can avoid endless legal argument and frustration later in the process.
When there is something wrong with your newly purchased vehicle you want it fixed straight away. However, it is important to remember that just because you have a problem, it doesn’t automatically mean you can make a claim under the lemon law in Indiana. Before it can qualify as a lemon vehicle you must give the dealer a chance to attempt repair at least four times, or you must allow them to have the vehicle a total of thirsty days in the shop. Once this threshold has passed, your vehicle will qualify under Indiana lemon law, but as with all legal proceedings, you will need to prove this.
With any vehicle, when there is a problem you are not expecting it to turn into a legal case where you are required to prove the number of repairs and so on, so it is a good idea to get into the habit of documenting everything to do with your vehicle just in case. This way, you have the written record of everything ready in case you do find yourself with an Indiana lemon car.
Documentation does not need to be complex, here are the things you should keep notes of:
The legislation for the lemon law in Indiana sets out the remedies offered for consumers who make a successful claim, these are:
Under the Indiana lemon law, which of these options is awarded is the consumer’s choice, if you win your claim you can decide which is the best option to take. A refund includes any additional costs incurred as a result of the issues the vehicle had, including sales tax, registration fees, dealer added options and finance interest charges among others.
Vehicle manufacturers will always defend against any lemon vehicle claim, with experienced legal teams seeking to avoid paying a refund or providing a replacement car. This on its own would make it unwise to attempt to represent yourself at such hearings. Complex testimony and lengthy documentation can make it difficult to follow, which is why an experienced legal professional is essential to represent your claim under the lemon law in Indiana.
With Indiana legislation assuring that, upon a successful claim, the manufacturer is also liable for your legal fees to make your Indiana lemon law claim, it is by far the best option to take to give you the best chance of success in obtaining remedies for your lemon car.