Iowa Lemon Law

Iowa Lemon Law for vehicles

Buying something new is always a little exciting, whether it’s a new jacket or a waffle iron, getting it home and taking it out of the box is all part of the experience. But what if you found the waffle iron had a dent in it, or your new jacket had a rip? You would be disappointed and want something done of course. This is true of bigger purchases as well, but if you buy a new vehicle and it doesn’t live up to expectations, what can you do?

It’s rare to get a bad vehicle these days, but it does happen. If you find yourself stuck with a new vehicle that is unreliable or has a serious problem, the good news is that there is a way to get help.Legislation you may not have heard of, known as the Iowa lemon law is designed to protect consumers in the event of a new vehicle proving to be below the quality standards you expect from a new car purchase. The lemon law in Iowa covers vehicles that weight less than 15.000ilbs and be purchased and registered in Iowa for business of private use on the public highway. The lemon law in Iowa does not specifically exclude used cars, although as it only applies to vehicles under two years old and with less than 24,000 miles on the odometer, it would have to be a relatively new vehicle to qualify. The lemon law does not apply to motorcycles, mopeds, motor tricycles, and RVs.

With this legislation in place, consumers have robust protection against issues with any new or nearly new vehicle purchase, and if you have the misfortune to receive a rare lemon car in Iowa, there is help available. However, as with any piece of legislation, knowing it is there and making use of it are two different things, and with such a complex situation, getting your claim right is crucial. To help with that, we have put together this guide to assess whether you do have an Iowa lemon vehicle, and if so, the process you need to follow to make sure your claim is filed correctly, saving you from costly mistakes along the way.

Does your vehicle qualify for the Iowa lemon law?

It is important to make a difference between an ongoing issue that stops you relying on the vehicle or even makes it unsafe, to having some minor issues with your new car. If every single fault could lead to the vehicle being returned for a refund or replacement, dealerships and manufacturers would be bankrupt. To ensure we still have a car industry to make the vehicles we need, the lemon law in Iowa, like those in other states, needs to balance consumer protection with business practicality. That is why there is a threshold before a vehicle is considered to qualify for the lemon law in Iowa.

Of course, if you do have any problems with your new vehicle, even minor ones, then they should be dealt with by your dealer quickly and effectively. In fact, it is here that we can see the difference between a lemon and an inconvenience.

The Iowa lemon law requirements

Not only must your vehicle be less than two years old and have less than 24,000 miles on the odometer, one or more of the following must apply:

  • The manufacturer or dealer have made three or more attempts to repair a problem thataffects the usability or safety of the vehicle under warranty.
  • The manufacturer or dealer must have made one unsuccessful attempt to rectify or repair a problem that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury.
  • The vehicle has been unavailable to use for more than thirty days in total, not necessarilyconsecutively, within the first 2 years or 24,000 miles when dealing with warranty problems.

Maintaining the warranty

One area where many people’s claim for an Iowa lemon car fail is that they don’t comply with all warranty conditions. For success, you need to make sure that everything the warranty asks is followed to the letter. That usually means no third-party repairs, only approved dealerships or agents of the manufacturer can attempt repair. It also means keeping to the service schedule. This can seem like something you can ignore if you are having a lot of problems with the vehicle, but to ensure you can use the lemon law in Iowa, make sure that if the vehicle is due a service, you ensure it is carried out by the dealership.

Proving that your vehicle is an Iowa lemon car

As you may expect in any legal process, simply saying that your vehicle is a lemon and the lemon law in Iowa applies is not enough. You will need to prove all of this, as it is common practice for manufacturers to defend cases. For anyone buying a new vehicle, this means you should adopt a new approach. You can’t collect proof retroactively, but you don’t know a problem will become a lemon car until it has actually happened, so for all new vehicle owners, you should get into the habit of documenting everything that happens with the vehicle.

This means keeping records of:

  • All phone calls regarding the vehicle. This should include dates, name of the person youtalked to and what the call was about, any promises made.
  • All written correspondence, including service bills, repair confirmations and so on.
  • Make sure that your dealer includes any conversations intheir service notes regarding ongoing issues.

With this documentation in place, if your issue turns out to be a lemon car, you will have everything you need to prove the events took place in a way that qualifies for the Iowa lemon law.

Remedies from the lemon law in Iowa

The Iowa lemon law legislation not only lays out what qualifies as a lemon vehicle, it also sets out the remedies available to consumers after a successful claim. These are:

  • The manufacturer shall accept the return of the vehicle and refund the amounts paid for the purchase or lease including collateral and reasonably incurred incidental charges, less anoffset for the consumer’s use of the vehicle
  • Provide a replacement vehicle of comparable value, including any collateral and incidental charges less a reasonable offset for the consumer’s use of the vehicle.

Under the Iowa lemon law, leased vehicles enjoy the same protections as purchased vehicles. In addition, used vehicles bought with less than 24,000 miles and under two years old will also qualify.

Filing a claim under the Iowa lemon law

To file a lemon law claim in Iowa,a qualified attorney must represent you. Because manufacturers rigorously defend against lemon vehicle claims in Iowa, choosing legal representation experienced in dealing with the lemon law is extremely useful. They will be able to guide you through the process, ensure all documentation is in order and present you claim in the most effective way to maximize your chance of success.

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