If you have a car that is under warranty but keeps breaking down, you may be wondering what your rights are. In West Virginia, there are lemon laws to protect consumers like you. This law aims to help people who have purchased or leased a defective vehicle.
What is a lemon law?
In simple terms, a lemon law is a consumer protection law that gives you the right to a refund or replacement vehicle if your car has repeated serious defects. It’s quite similar to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which is a federal law, only that West Virginia’s law is more specific when it comes to what counts as a serious defect.
To summarize, your vehicle must have been subject to repair three or more times by the manufacturer or its authorized dealer for the same nonconformity or been out of service because of repairs for a total of 30 or more calendar days during the period of one year from the date of original delivery to be eligible. Further, the nonconformity must substantially impair the use, value or safety of the car.
What to do if you think you have a lemon
The first step to take if you believe your car is a lemon is to send the manufacturer a formal notification of the problem. Be sure to include as many details as possible, such as repair invoices and the manner, times and dates that your vehicle broke down. If the manufacturer can’t fix the problem after a reasonable number of attempts, you can then file a claim with the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office.
To do this, you’ll need to fill out a Lemon Law Affidavit and send it to the AG’s office along with any supporting documentation. Their office will assign an investigator to look into your case.
If the investigator finds that your vehicle does qualify as a lemon under state law, you may get a refund of the purchase price or a replacement vehicle. The manufacturer could also pay reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs for your troubles.
Keep in mind that if you are buying a used car the original owner must have purchased it within the past 12 months for it to qualify to be a lemon in West Virginia. So, it’s important to do your research first and ensure that the vehicle is in good condition.