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We handle cases across the United States. Allen Stewart is licensed to practice law in Texas, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Arizona.

Lemon Law Arbitration Process: An In-Depth Look 

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One common term that comes up frequently after someone purchases a lemon vehicle is “arbitration.” Somebody who is not familiar with the laws or the legal process surrounding lemon cars may not know what this word refers to.







Arbitration is easy to understand. It is:

  1. An informal legal process
  2. A way to avoid spending time, money, and other resources in court
  3. A means of obtaining resolution of lemon law cases

Arbitration is a process that involves using a neutral third-party to review the evidence in a lemon law case. Then, that third party imposes a decision that is not binding for the consumer. The decision is binding for the vehicle manufacturer. The exception to this rule is when the consumer and manufacturer decide– together– to agree on some other arrangement that settles the dispute.

Keep in mind that the entire lemon law process looks different depending on where you live and where you purchased a lemon vehicle. In some cases, arbitration may not be a factor in you receiving relief for your lemon at all

Does the lemon law arbitration process cost money?

The lemon law arbitration process is free for consumers. Manufacturers (or manufacturers’ groups) must pay for arbitration. In fact, a manufacturer is even responsible for paying a consumer’s attorney’s fees incurred during lemon law arbitration.

For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law arbitration questions, click here.

The lemon law arbitration process is informal, but it is still legally binding
Many people find themselves with the same question: if lemon law arbitration is an informal legal process, are arbitrators’ decisions in lemon law cases legally binding?

The answer is yes. While not binding for the consumer, lemon law arbitrator’s decisions are binding for vehicle manufacturers.

Consumers still have the right to attempt to come to an agreement on a different arrangement with the manufacturer of their lemon vehicle. That choice belongs to the consumer and the consumer alone. If somebody who purchased a new car found out that it was a lemon, he or she should know that an arbitrator’s decision on the matter carries the same weight as one made in a court of law.

Is lemon law arbitration a hard process?
It depends on who you ask.

Lemon law arbitration does take effort. Consumers need to fill out forms and paperwork with extensive details about their vehicle purchases; they also need to provide comprehensive documentation that demonstrates repair attempts and outlines other critical information.

Many people work and have families and other social obligations. They may find it difficult to complete all of the necessary steps to undergo arbitration. This is usually why somebody makes the choice to partner with a lemon law attorney before or during arbitration. A qualified lawyer can help streamline the legal process and minimize a person’s workload in relation to their own lemon law case.

Arbitration may or may not be required in your lemon law case
It’s important to note that in some states, lemon law arbitration is just one avenue that a consumer can take to try to receive financial relief after purchasing a defective vehicle.

Arbitration may not be mandatory following your individual lemon law claim. Some vehicle manufacturers present the option to consumers as though it is the only way to pursue compensation. This is not always true.

  1. It’s important to check state laws to determine whether you must make use of arbitration programs before exploring other options
  2. A local lawyer understands the laws that pertain to your area; he or she can offer advice about arbitration and tell you whether other options exist

An outline of the lemon law arbitration process

Much like the concept of arbitration in general, the actual process that plays into it varies from state to state. Somebody arbitrating a California lemon law case may deal with a very different claim or case progression than a person preparing for lemon law arbitration in Texas.

Some parts of lemon law, however, and certain aspects of the lemon law arbitration process do look the same or similar across state lines. Here’s how the lemon law arbitration process works.

Lemon laws are confusing. Read our guide to the lemon law complaint process.

Lemon law arbitration preparations
Preparing for lemon law arbitration may seem like the easiest part of the larger task at hand.

It’s true that anybody can collect documents and write down information about a vehicle purchase; but it’s very important to be extremely thorough during this step of the arbitration process.

Preparing effectively for lemon law arbitration involves:

  1. Gathering documents and paperwork: It’s critical to maintain detailed records and copies that prove your vehicle has a problem (or multiple problems). You are mandated to show that you have attempted to address these problems. Purchase documents, warranty papers, and other paperwork also all need to be collected and organized for presentation
  2. Preparing your lemon case: Lemon law cases can be very tricky to arbitrate. You must prepare an extensive account of your vehicle’s issues and what has happened since you purchased it. You need to justify the conviction that you are bringing to the table: your vehicle is a lemon
  3. Understanding your ideal outcome: The better somebody knows what they want out of their lemon law claim, the easier it will be to pursue the ideal outcome. Do research and consult with legal professionals to understand the extent of what compensation may be available to you

An overview of what happens during a lemon law arbitration hearing
Arbitration hearings usually consist of a few things. You (and your lemon law attorney, if you have one) need to present the evidence that you collected prior to arbitration. If there are any witness testimonies that you wish to include to help support your side of the case, that should also occur at the beginning of the arbitration process. The lemon vehicle’s manufacturer will also present evidence to aid their case.

You need to clearly outline your desired arbitration outcome, too. Tell the arbitrator and make it clear to the manufacturer what you hope happens to help you resolve your problem.

Next, the arbitrator asks questions. They may ask you or the manufacturer about your experience with the car.

The arbitration process is not a form of court proceeding

Most of the time, arbitration is more relaxed than being in court

Some arbitration hearings take place via teleconferencing. If they occur in person, the location is often somewhere neutral and low-pressure like a conference room.

How long after lemon law arbitration is a decision made?
There’s no hard-and-fast rule that tells consumers when an arbitrator will make a decision about a lemon law case. It often occurs within days or weeks after an arbitration hearing. Sometimes, it takes a month or longer.

If the arbitrator rules in your favor, you may be able to receive a replacement for your vehicle or a refund for its purchase. The decision varies from case to case.

People who are interested in a favorable outcome after the lemon law arbitration process may benefit from working with a lemon law lawyer. These attorneys have experience dealing in the legal industry (and dealing with people and businesses in the auto industry). Lemon law attorneys help pursue their clients’ best interests both within and outside of arbitration.

This information brought to you by Allen Stewart P.C.

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