Once an owner meets the criteria for a Lemon-Law buyback, they will have to retain a lawyer. To qualify for consideration, a car generally has to be inoperable for at least 30 days during its first 12 months or 12,000 miles. Details vary from state to state, so inquire at your state Attorney General's office, a consumer protection agency, or the Center for Auto Safety.
In the long run, it is usually better for the consumer to get the vehicle repaired than to go through the expense of a Lemon-Law buyback.
As a rule, most of the following conditions must apply for a Lemon Law to be effective:
- The vehicle must have a serious defect or abnormal condition.
- The problem must substantially impair the usage or value of the vehicle, or produce a serious safety hazard.
- While the vehicle is under warranty, the problem must be reported to the dealer or manufacturer.
- A reasonable number of attempts must be made to fix the problem.
- Written notice must be given to the manufacturer, who gets one last chance to remedy the complaint.
Even if you "win" a Lemon Law case, the automaker can often deduct value for the mileage you've put on the vehicle.