Lemon Laws in Oklahoma
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Oklahoma’s lemon laws apply to all cars registered in Oklahoma within the first year of purchase and while under warranty. If your vehicle keeps running into the same problem even after you’ve taken it in for repairs, it may be a lemon.
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Continue reading on to learn more about lemon laws in Oklahoma.
What is a lemon law?
Lemon laws are laws designed to protect consumers from products that are defective. While the term “lemon” can mean any product, it colloquially refers to automobiles,including cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
All fifty states and Washington D.C. have their own variation of lemon laws, including their own limitations and coverages.
A vehicle is considered a lemon if it has a manufacturer’s defect that can’t be repaired satisfactorily in a reasonable period of time.
The length of time 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 new vehicle so that the consumer isn’t stuck footing the bill for a vehicle they can’t use.
Is there a lemon law in Oklahoma?
Yes, lemon laws apply to all cars that are registered in Oklahoma.
Is my defect covered under the lemon law?
Your new car registered in the state of Oklahoma could be considered a lemon if, within one year or the warranty period, your car has met the following conditions:
- You’ve had to bring it in for repairs four or more times or the defect could not be repaired in less than thirty days
- Your vehicle’s problems are all caused by the same defect
- The defect was not caused by any neglect, abuse, or unauthorized alterations on your part
- The defect significantly and negatively affects the use, value, or safety of your vehicle, and is something that is covered under your vehicle’s warranty.
Oklahoma’s lemon laws extend only to new motor vehicles that are registered within the state. This includes new cars that are purchased outside of the state and then transferred to the state within a year of purchase.
The laws don’t extend to vehicles over 10,000 pounds or the living quarters section of motor homes.
If your car is determined to be a lemon, you are entitled to either a replacement vehicle or a refund on the purchase price, excluding interest and a reasonable allowance for usage.
Key Takeaway Oklahoma’s lemon laws cover cars that are purchased outside of the state as long as their title is transferred to the state within a year of purchase.
Are used cars covered under the lemon law?
No, Oklahoma’s lemon laws do not extend to used cars.
For this reason, due diligence when it comes to used car shopping is important to avoid getting stuck with a lemon. Test drive the car before you buy it.
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?
Yes, new cars are covered under Oklahoma’s lemon laws up to one year or until the warranty expires, whichever comes first.
If your new car requires the same repair more than three times in that time frame, or if it spends more than 30 days in the shop as a result of the same defect, then your car is considered a lemon.
If you have altered your car in any way since you purchased it, whether by abuse, neglect, or unauthorized customization, it may no longer qualify for protection under lemon laws.
How to pursue your lemon law rights in Oklahoma
If you are looking to pursue your lemon law rights in Oklahoma, make sure that you’ve kept good records of all repair attempts, which should be undertaken at the manufacturer or dealership, or by one of their certified repair shops.
Arbitration, or informal dispute settlement procedure, is the first required step before you can file a lawsuit or take the case to trial. Under Oklahoma law, manufacturers must abide by whatever decision the arbitrator makes, but the consumer does not. So if you’re unsatisfied by the arbitration’s outcome, you can continue to pursue legal action.
Most states, including Oklahoma, require arbitration before filing a lawsuit. Even in states that don’t require arbitration, it’s generally recommended, as it is cheaper (it’s free) and faster than going to court.
Follow the legal requirements
Make sure you follow all the necessary steps in pursuing a lemon law claim — skipping any could severely weaken your case.
Keep in mind, however, that just because you’ve followed all the rules does not automatically guarantee that you’ll win your case. Manufacturers may argue that they were not given “reasonable attempts” to fix the problem.
Seek legal consultation
If your manufacturer does not provide a refund for your car or a replacement, hire an attorney, especially one that specializes in lemon laws. The manufacturers will have legal representation on their side that understands the complexity of the legal process, and it’s vital that you have the same.
Key Takeaway Arbitration is the first required step in pursuing a lemon law claim. But if you’re unsatisfied with the outcome, you can continue the legal process. Manufacturers must adhere to whatever decision the arbitrator makes.
Lemon law tips
Here are a few things to keep in mind regarding lemon laws:
- If you modify your vehicle in any way, whether by customization, neglect, abuse, or misuse, lemon laws will no longer apply to your vehicle.
- All repairs should be made through the manufacturer or dealership, or by repair facilities that the dealer has authorized. Keep all of the records of these repairs, including photos and videos where possible.
- 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 find out your options.
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