Lemon Law in Georgia
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Georgia’s lemon laws apply to new vehicles that are still under warranty. Drivers can apply for lemon law coverage within two years of their car’s delivery or the first 24,000 miles driven, whichever comes first.
If your car is deemed a lemon, you may be entitled to a refund or a replacement car under Georgia’s lemon law.
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Hopefully, you’ll never have to drive a lemon. But if you do, keep reading to learn all you need to know about Georgia’s lemon laws.
What is a lemon law?
Lemon laws are designed to protect drivers from a vehicle’s defects, usually for a set amount of time after delivery, or miles are driven.
Lemon laws usually afford a manufacturer several attempts within a reasonable amount of time to fix a recurring defect.
Depending on a state’s requirements, if your car is labeled a lemon and the problem cannot be fixed, you may be able to receive a refund or a replacement car.
MORE: Types of insurance
Is there a lemon law in Georgia?
Yes, Georgia’s lemon law protects new vehicles purchased and leased in Georgia. It does not cover the following new vehicles:
- Trucks (gross weight over 12,000 lbs)
- Vehicles that aren’t self-propelled, such as campers or trailers
In Georgia, commercial vehicles can be covered by the lemon law if they meet the following conditions:
- If a vehicle is one of 10 or fewer bought or leased yearly for a business
- It is not a limousine
Key Takeaway Commercial vehicles for small businesses can be covered under Georgia’s lemon law, but limousines are not covered.
Is my defect covered under the lemon law?
Under Georgia’s lemon law, a defect qualifies for coverage if the manufacturer or dealer has attempted to fix the same issue at least three times, along with one final attempt, but failed to do so. These repair attempts must fall within the first 24 months of ownership, or the first 24,000 miles driven, whichever comes first.
In terms of what type of defect is covered under the lemon law, it is a broad range, though it must significantly affect the car’s safety, value, or use.
Any defect resulting from your own abuse, neglect, or misuse of the vehicle will disqualify it from lemon law coverage in Georgia.
Are used cars covered under the lemon law?
Used vehicles are not covered under Georgia’s lemon law.
What about new cars?
Yes, Georgia’s laws cover new vehicles that have been purchased and leased in Georgia.
It does not cover motorcycles, mopeds, ATVs, boats, trucks (gross weight over 12,000 lbs), and vehicles that aren’t self-propelled (like campers or trailers).
How to pursue your lemon law rights in Georgia
If a manufacturer has failed four times to fix a recurring problem with your car, you are entitled under Georgia’s lemon laws to ask for a refund or a replacement vehicle.
Make sure that you hang onto copies of your invoices and receipts from all of the repair work you had done on your vehicle.
You’ll need to submit an application for a state arbitration hearing, where an arbitrator will hear your case and decide if you are entitled to a refund or replacement. This application must be submitted within one year of your lemon law rights expiring.
If the arbitrator rules in your favor, you’ll be allowed to choose a refund or a replacement, minus any incidental costs.
If you lose your arbitration case, you have 30 days to appeal the ruling in the state superior court. If you go this route, it is advisable to consult an attorney.
Georgia’s lemon law is set up so that consumers don’t require an attorney to guide them through the process. If, however, you are unsure about the process, you can hire a lawyer at your own cost to walk you through the process.
Keep in mind that if you go the legal route, any small mistake on your part could hurt your case. Alternatively, it is possible for you to do everything right and still run into problems with your case.
Key Takeaway If you run into any problems with your newly purchased vehicle, you need to take it in as soon as possible. Keep a paper trail of any repairs you made on the car and read your car’s owner manual or vehicle warranty. If you want to pursue legal action, hire an attorney.
Lemon law tips
Here are some tips to keep in mind when thinking about pursuing a lemon law case in Georgia:
- It is always advised that drivers keep exacting records for any repairs, use only authorized repair shops, and maintain consistent language when describing a recurring problem.
- Ultimately, the burden is on the driver to keep their car in good working order. If the car has a defect, it is up to the driver to prove that the vehicle was taken for service the requisite number of times, but wasn’t fixed satisfactorily. Invoices, receipts, and work orders, as well as the odometer readings for both when the car was dropped off and picked up, are important to bolster your case should you find yourself in a lemon law arbitration hearing.
- Always take your car to repair shops authorized by your manufacturer or dealership. Having work done on your car at unauthorized body shops may void your warranty and disqualify you from Georgia’s lemon law coverage.
- Finally, be consistent with your language when you take your car in to be repaired, especially if you’re dealing with a recurring problem. Make sure this language is reflected on work orders, and keep copies of those work orders for your records.
- If Georgia’s lemon law does not fit your case, look into the Federal Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act.
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