What is the Lemon Law? – US, Canada and UK Lemon laws

Lemon law in the US, Canada and UK

The Lemon law is a legal provision by some countries and states to protect a vehicle owner when a vehicle manufacture is unable to repair significant mechanical fault within specified number of attempts or specified period vehicle spends with manufacturer for repairs.

The conditions and specific terms that qualifies under the lemon law differ by country or, in the case of the US, by states. In general, a process of arbitration is set in progress for the manufacturer to provide a replacement vehicle or a refund.

Lemon law USA

In the United States, the lemon law and eligibility criteria is defined by each state. Below is the lemon law eligibility requirements for the US state of Washington.

Washington State Lemon Law

According to the Washington vehicle lemon law, an vehicle owner may seek arbitration within 30 months from the date the vehicle was delivered. The process is free of charge and upon hearing, a arbitrator will rule whether a claim meets the eligibility criteria specified under the law.

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Eligibility criteria

There two forms of eligibility which a claim must pass in order to qualify for benefits the lemon law. They are vehicle eligibility and defect requirements.

Vehicle Eligibility: Not all vehicles qualify under the Washington State lemon law. The following vehicles do not quality:

  1. Motorcycles with engine capacity below 750cc
  2. Trucks with a gross weight rating of 19,000 lbs.
  3. Vehicles bought by a business in a single lease or contract as part of a fleet of 10 or more vehicles.

Defect requirements: Only certain classification of defects to the vehicle qualify under the Lemon law. in General the defects must affect the reliability, value and general safety of the vehicle

Nonconformity: A defect that “substantially impairs” the operation, value or safety of the vehicle making the vehicle unreliable, unsafe for ordinary use or diminished in resale value compared to equivalent vehicles.

Serious Safety Defect: A ‘serious safety defect’ is a life-threatening malfunction that impairs the driver’s ability to control or operate the vehicle, or creates a risk of fire or explosion.

In addition to the aforementioned requirements, claimants must prove that:

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1. The ‘nonconformity’ or Serious Safety Defect has been subject to diagnosis or repair 4 or more times  including at least once during the period of the manufacturer’s written warranty and within 2 years from the original retail delivery date and before the vehicle reached 24,000 miles of operation.

2. The nonconformity, serious safety defect continues to exist

3. The consumer sent a written request to the manufacturer asking for repurchase or replacement of the vehicle and the manufacturer failed to respond or did not reach a resolution with the consumer within 40 days.

If the claim is based on or include days out of service, a cumulative total of 30 or more cumulative calendar days
at least 15 days occurred during the period of the manufacturer’s written warranty and during the “eligibility period” Point 3 above.

Lemon Law Canada

In Canada, the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP) is the arbitration program which settles disputes vehicle owners have with vehicle problems and warranty implementation.

Arbitration hearings are held within the community of the owner and the arbiter can order a vehicle manufacturer to refund owner for a defective vehicle or bear the cost of repairs.

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Lemon law UK

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is the Lemon law in UK in that, it affords significant protection to vehicle buyers should the car turn out to be faulty.

A buyer has the power to reject a vehicle for full refund if a fault is detected within the first 30 days from the delivery date, in what is termed “short-term right to reject”.

Beyond that up to six months from the sale date, the dealer is by the law obliged to repair a fault and has only one chance at doing that. If the fault persist or wasn’t fixable, the buyer can request full or partial refund or a reduced price.

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