Lemon Laws in New Hampshire
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New Hampshire’s lemon law extends to new cars that have been purchased or leased from a dealer in New Hampshire that are still covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. This includes “private passenger or station wagon type” or any other four-wheeled vehicle less than 11,000 pounds, motorcycles, off-highway recreational vehicles, and snowmobiles. The laws do not cover mopeds, mobile homes, or tractors.
If your new vehicle keeps running into the same problem after you’ve taken it in for repairs, you may have a lemon.
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Keep reading to learn what to do if you have purchased a lemon in New Hampshire.
What is a lemon law?
Lemon laws in the U.S. vary from state to state, but in general terms are laws designed to protect consumers from defective products. The term “lemon law” applies mostly to cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
A vehicle is considered a lemon if it has a manufacturer’s defect that can’t be repaired in a reasonable period of time. That time period varies by state.
If the vehicle can’t be fixed, the manufacturer, not the dealership, is required to buy the car back or provide a refund, so that the consumer isn’t stuck footing the bill for a vehicle they can’t use.
Is there a lemon law in New Hampshire?
Yes, New Hampshire’s lemon law extends to new cars purchased or leased in New Hampshire.
Is my defect covered under the lemon law?
Your new car purchased/leased in the state of New Hampshire could be considered a lemon if—within the terms of the manufacturer’s warranty—you’ve had to:
- Bring it in for repairs three or more times, or go without your car for 30 or more days because it’s under repair.
- The New Hampshire Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board may also accept cases where the car’s defect is serious enough to threaten injury or death.
Your car’s defect also needs to fit the following criteria:
- The problems are all caused by the same defect
- The defect was not caused by any neglect, abuse, or alterations on your part
- The defect substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of your vehicle, and it is something that is covered under your vehicle’s express warranty
New Hampshire’s lemon laws extend to motor vehicles that are purchased new within the state. This includes “private passenger or station wagon type” or any other four-wheeled vehicle less than 11,000 pounds, motorcycles, off-highway recreational vehicles, and snowmobiles. The laws do not cover mopeds, mobile homes, tractors, or cars that are purchased outside of New Hampshire.
All repair attempts must be undertaken within 30 days of the warranty expiration.
Key Takeaway New Hampshire’s lemon laws apply to brand new cars purchased in New Hampshire, including recreational vehicles and snowmobiles.
Are used cars covered under the lemon law?
Yes, New Hampshire’s lemon laws do extend to used cars, as long as the car is still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Lower-mileage used cars may still qualify, but that is decided by the New Hampshire Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board.
For this reason, due diligence when it comes to used car shopping is important to avoid getting stuck with a lemon. Make sure to test drive the car before you buy it.
It might also be a good idea to purchase a CARFAX report or look into the vehicle’s history, including any recalls for the make, model, and year. Have a mechanic evaluate it, if you can.
What about new cars?
New cars are covered under lemon laws for the duration of the manufacturer’s warranty. If your new car requires the same repair more than three times in that timeframe, or spends more than 30 days in the shop as a result of the same defect, then your car is considered a lemon.
If your car has been altered in any way since you purchased it, you may no longer qualify for protection under lemon laws.
How to pursue your lemon law rights in New Hampshire
If your car suffers a breakdown within the warranty period after you’ve bought it, be sure to contact your manufacturer. They must be given the opportunity to fix the defect before any arbitration can take place or any lawsuits can be filed.
The lemon law process is unique in New Hampshire’s case because there are two arbitration routes that can be taken, detailed below:
The Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board (MVAB): is a five-person panel comprised of consumers, auto dealers, and certified mechanics, who will go over the evidence provided and determine if the car is, in fact, a lemon. In this case, you would be granted either a refund or a replacement for your vehicle. There is a $50 filing fee for this route.
The manufacturer’s certified informal dispute resolution system: The process here is largely the same, except an impartial arbitrator oversees the case rather than a five-person panel.
In either case, whatever the arbitration board decides, the manufacturer must comply. If you disagree with the decision, you are able to file a claim in court.
If you pursue further legal action, hire an attorney, especially one that specializes in lemon laws. The manufacturer will have legal representation on their side that understands the complexity of the legal process, and it’s important that you have the same.
Keep in mind, however, that just because you’ve followed all the right steps does not automatically guarantee that you’ll win your case.
Manufacturers may argue that they were not given “reasonable attempts” to fix the problem. This is also why it’s vital for you to bring your car to the dealership or manufacturer for repairs rather than an independent mechanic. This will prevent manufacturers from disputing the repairs. Be sure to keep as complete and accurate records as possible.
Key Takeaway In New Hampshire, arbitration via the state’s arbitration board or the manufacturer’s dispute resolution process is required before a claim can be made in court.
Lemon law tips
A few things to keep in mind:
- If you modify your vehicle in any way, whether by customization, neglect, abuse, or misuse, lemon laws will no longer apply to your car.
- All repairs should be made through the manufacturer or dealership, or by repair facilities that the dealer has authorized. Keep all records of these repairs.
- Keep your terminology consistent. If you initially referred to the defect as the car “stalling,” for example, keep referring to it as “stalling.” Don’t change how you refer to the problem, or a manufacturer can argue that the issue does not need to be fixed repeatedly, which is not covered by the lemon law.
- Lemon laws can vary from state to state, including their requirements. If your situation is not covered by the lemon laws in your state, you may still be protected by the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Talk to an appropriate attorney to discuss your options.
Finding cheap car insurance
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