Lemon Law in Ohio
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For Ohio drivers experiencing an unfixable, recurring car problem within their first year of ownership, or within the first 18,000 miles driven, they may be entitled to a refund or a replacement vehicle under the state’s lemon law.
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Hopefully whatever car you insure will never turn out to be a lemon. But just in case it does, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Ohio’s lemon laws!
What is a lemon law?
A lemon law is designed to protect drivers from defective or malfunctioning vehicles. If a car is labeled a lemon, it is due to a recurring problem that’s unable to be repaired by the manufacturer after a reasonable number of attempts to do so.
If deemed a lemon, the malfunction is considered to put the safety, use, or market value of the car at risk.
MORE: Types of insurance
Is there a lemon law in Ohio?
Yes, Ohio’s lemon law covers new cars under warranty that are experiencing a recurring problem within the first year of ownership, or the first 18,000 miles driven, whichever comes first.
Ohio’s lemon law also covers the following new vehicles:
- Non-commercial vehicles for personal use
Is my defect covered under the lemon law?
In Ohio, there are four thresholds used to determine if your car is a lemon after the manufacturer has had a reasonable opportunity to fix the problem in question. The thresholds are:
Three or more attempts: If the manufacturer has attempted to fix the same problem three or more times, but fails, your car may qualify for protection under Ohio’s lemon law.
30 days or more: Your car is in the repair shop for 30 days or more.
Eight or more attempts: Your car has been in service for eight or more attempts on various problems within the first year or the first 18,000 miles.
Serious issue: The manufacturer has made an unsuccessful attempt to fix a problem that could cause serious injury or death.
If your car meets any of these thresholds, you could be eligible for a refund or replacement car.
Key Takeaway If your car meets any of Ohio’s four main thresholds, it may be deemed a lemon and you may be able to get a full refund or replacement vehicle.
Are used cars covered under the lemon law?
No, used cars are not covered under Ohio’s lemon law.
What about new cars?
Yes, Ohio’s lemon law applies to new cars under warranty and within the first year of ownership or the first 18,000 miles (whichever comes first).
How to pursue your lemon law rights in Ohio
If your nagging car issue remains unfixed after multiple manufacturer repair attempts, you can seek relief under Ohio’s lemon law by notifying the manufacturer in writing, allowing the car-maker a final chance to rectify the problem, or by pursuing arbitration or a lawsuit.
The first step is to notify your manufacturer in writing, via a certified letter, requesting a refund or a replacement car for your current car’s persistent, unresolved issue. Be sure to include the following information in the letter:
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- The problem you’ve had and the multiple attempts to fix it
- Inform the manufacturer if you want a refund or a replacement vehicle
Upon receipt of your letter, the manufacturer will likely try to fix your vehicle’s problem one last time.
If this doesn’t work, you’ll be offered arbitration as a way to settle your issue with the manufacturer. Keep in mind, if your manufacturer’s arbitration program is endorsed by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, you must engage in arbitration first before pursuing a lawsuit.
In general, arbitration is a much faster way to reach a settlement, as opposed to taking a manufacturer to court. If possible, we recommend that you try to resolve your issue during the arbitration.
If you aren’t sure if your manufacturer’s arbitration is endorsed by the State of Ohio, contact the Attorney General Consumer Protection Section to inquire.
If you are unhappy with the arbitrator’s ruling, or if your manufacturer does not offer arbitration, you can pursue a lawsuit against the manufacturer. If you go this route, it is strongly advised to consult with a lawyer.
Keep in mind that pursuing a lemon law is a legal process, and therefore any small mistakes on your part could hurt your case down the line. That being said, it is possible to do everything right and still lose your case.
Key Takeaway Having legal counsel is extremely important when you’re navigating complex legal processes. Manufacturers will have legal help. Make sure you do too.
Lemon law tips
Here are some tips to keep in mind when thinking about pursuing a lemon law case in Ohio:
- Always keep records of all visits to the repair shop, maintain all warranty and repair records, and read your owner’s manual.
- If you modify your vehicle, or if the defect is a result of your abuse, neglect, or misuse of the car, your car won’t be eligible for protection under Ohio’s lemon law.
- As a rule of them, always take your car in for repair to the manufacturer, dealership, or repair facilities authorized by the dealer.
- Be sure to use the same language to describe a repeated problem with the vehicle, as lemon laws mostly apply to repairs needed to fix a single problem multiple times.
- If Ohio’s lemon law does not apply in your case, you should look into the Federal Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act.
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