Whenever we buy something new, there is an expectation that it will work as it is advertised to do and will be reliable. Even if you buy a new pen, you expect it to write reliably, and the more you spend, the higher your expectation. For the most expensive purchases you make, a home and a vehicle then, everything should be perfect. In most cases, while not perfect, everything will be great with a new car, but on rare occasions, there are new vehicles that are simply never reliable enough to use as transport, so what happens if you find yourself with one of those?
Modern vehicles are very reliable on the whole, and instances of the ‘Friday afternoon car’ that has faults that can never seem to be put right are much less frequent today than they were even two decades ago, if you do end up with one then you need help. The good news is that you do have protection in the form of legislation that few consumers are aware of, known as the Kentucky lemon law. This legislation is designed to protect consumers from problem vehicles like these.
The lemon law in Kentucky covers both the purchase and lease of new vehicles that are registered or licensed in Kentucky. The vehicle should be intended for the public highway, and excludes farm vehicles, motor homes and RVs, motorcycles, mopeds, vehicles that have more than 2 axles, or has been substantially modified post purchase.
The comprehensive legislation provides great protection, however, as with any legal process, getting the best from that protection and making a successful claim means understanding what is and is not covered, knowing how to make an effective claim and understanding the limitations of the legislation. A mistake here can be costly, which is why we have produced a simple guide to help you know if you have a Kentucky lemon car, and how to claim if you do.
Not every problem with a new vehicle means that it is a Kentucky lemon car, the legislation accepts that to be considered a lemon the threshold needs to be higher than that. This is a good thing, if every problem could end up with a manufacturer having to refund money or replace the vehicle, there would be no manufacturers or dealers left. Instead, as with other states, the lemon law in Kentucky seeks to provide the right balance between protecting consumers and the need to keep business viable.
To do that, the Kentucky lemon law requires certain thresholds to be met where faults are concerned, but before we get to them, it is also important to remember that your new car is an expensive purchase or lease commitment. If it does have minor problems that do not qualify for lemon law protection, you should still expect a fast, effective response from your dealership. It is when this cannot be done that the lemon law steps in.
To meet the threshold for consideration under the Kentucky lemon law, your vehicle must be either less than a year old or have covered less than 12,000 miles, whichever is first, and one or more of the following must apply:
It is important throughout this process that the manufacturer’s warranty supplied with your new vehicle remains in good standing. That means complying with all terms and expectations of the warranty, and for your lemon car that includes who performs the repairs and your service schedule.
Only have repair work carried out by the manufacturer themselves or their approved agent or dealer. Doing otherwise can void the warranty, even when you are getting nowhere with the dealer, do not be tempted to take the vehicle elsewhere. The other is the service schedule, you must maintain that throughout. It can seem pointless if the vehicle is stuck in the shop anyway, but if a service is due, make sure it is carried out.
Because making a claim under the lemon law in Kentucky is a legal process, it should be no surprise that simply saying the vehicle meets one or more of the conditions for a claim is not enough. You need to prove it. To do this you need to document everything, to show that there have been four or more repair attempts without success, or that the vehicle has been in the shop for thirty days or more, and that the dealer or manufacturer were aware of the issue.
The easiest wat to do this is keep record of everything, including:
Of course, the problem here is that until you know the vehicle is a lemon, you will not know you need the proof. To avoid this, it is good practice to always make these detailed records for your vehicle, that way if the problem turns into a lemon car, you have the documents you need.
The remedies offered under the lemon law in Kentucky are outlined within the legislation, and a successful claim provides consumers with a choice of two options:
The lemon law in Kentucky requires manufacturers to provide a free, comprehensive and impartial dispute resolution system if the consumer wishes, which can deliver legally binding out of court settlement agreements.
Whether you are filing a claim in court or through the provided dispute resolution system, the manufacturer will contest your claim using their own legal teams. In either case, representing yourself is not advised, and for the best outcome it is highly recommended you find an attorney experienced in lemon law cases to take your case forward.
For those claiming under the lemon law in Kentucky, the manufacturer must cover your legal costs, and as such, using an experienced legal team to represent you makes sense. They will manage the claim, ensure all necessary paperwork is prepared and give you the best chance of success for your Kentucky lemon law claim.