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Understanding Colorado Lemon Law
Colorado’s lemon law covers private passenger vehicles, pickup trucks and vans designed primarily for travel on public highways, used to carry no more than 10 people and sold to Colorado consumers.
The lemon law does not cover motorhomes or vehicles designed to travel on three or fewer wheels. The law does not cover leased vehicles but does cover used vehicles.
The Colorado lemon law covers consumers who purchase vehicles normally used for personal or household purposes. The law further covers anyone to whom a vehicle is transferred for similar purposes during the warranty term, or anyone else entitled to enforce the warranty’s obligations.
Colorado’s lemon law covers any defect or condition that substantially impairs the vehicle’s use and market value. The law calls such a defect or condition a “nonconformity.” The law does not cover any nonconformity caused by the consumer abusing, neglecting, or making unauthorized modifications of the vehicle.
The lemon law mandates that the manufacturer bring any nonconforming vehicle into conformity with its warranty. The law defines “warranty” as the express warranty or any affirmation of fact or promise the manufacturer makes in connection with selling a new motor vehicle.
The manufacturer must be allowed a reasonable number of attempts to fix any nonconformity reported to them by the consumer. The Colorado lemon law defines a “reasonable number of attempts” as four or more times for the same problem without success, or if the vehicle is in the shop for 30 days or more without successfully repairing the problem.
Before pursuing further action, consumers in Colorado must allow a manufacturer whom they previously gave written notice of the nonconformity one final attempt to fix the problem. The final attempt counts as one repair attempt toward meeting the reasonable number of repair attempts.
If the manufacturer cannot bring the vehicle into conformity with its warranty, they must repurchase or replace it. Colorado’s lemon law compels manufacturers to repay the vehicle’s full purchase price. The manufacturer must also pay the sales tax, license fees, registration fees and any similar governmental charges. Manufacturers may withhold a reasonable allowance for the consumer’s vehicle use, depending on the use amount before the consumer’s first written report of a nonconformity.
When replacing a vehicle under the Colorado lemon law, the manufacturer must provide a comparable motor vehicle. The reasonable use allowance doesn’t apply to a replacement vehicle.
Colorado’s lemon law requires consumers to initially use a manufacturer’s “informal dispute settlement procedure,” i.e. arbitration, if the manufacturer has established such a procedure. The lemon law’s provisions concerning repurchase or replacement don’t apply until the consumer has first resorted to arbitration.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law questions, click here.
By pursuing a claim under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, Colorado consumers can hire lawyers who will represent them without the vehicle owner having to pay any attorneys’ fees directly out of their pocket. This is because the federal Act provides that the vehicle manufacturer shall pay the claimants’ reasonable attorneys’ fees if the claimant prevails against the manufacturer.
Some Colorado consumers can be helped by the lemon law in Colorado, while others would be best served by the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. The state’s lemon law lets consumers file complaints within either six months after the vehicle’s warranty expires or one year after the vehicle’s original delivery, whichever is sooner. The federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, however, borrows the statute of limitations from the state in which the claim originates. Colorado consumers therefore have three years to file a federal lemon law claim.
There is no specific Colorado used car lemon law, as the state’s existing lemon law covers used vehicles. The law protects consumers “to whom such motor vehicle is transferred for the same purposes during the term of the manufacturer’s express warranty.” If the vehicle is resold within the vehicle’s warranty period, that consumer is still protected even though the vehicle is technically “used.” The federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act covers both new and used vehicles as long as that vehicle’s warranty is still in effect.
Colorado’s lemon law and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act both let consumers recover their attorneys’ fees after prevailing in court. The state law mandates that consumers will receive “reasonable attorney’s fees” if they prevail. Magnuson-Moss allows plaintiffs to recover attorneys’ fees after winning in court as well. Consumers don’t pay a dime out of pocket when pursuing a claim under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
Whether resorting to the federal law or the lemon law in Colorado, hiring a lemon law attorney should be a top priority for you. It is one of the best decisions you can make for the outcome of your claim. Lemon law lawyers know how to navigate the complex state and federal laws and guide your claim to a successful resolution. The attorneys of Allen Stewart, P.C. will fight for you and keep you informed at every step of the process.
Lemonlawusa.org encourages vehicle owners with a lemon to hire a lemon law attorney. You can bet the car manufacturers have legal counsel at the ready to help defend against lemon law claims both in arbitration and in court.
Keeping meticulous records will help any consumer filing a claim under the lemon law in Colorado. Consumers should keep track of every trip to the dealership, including what problem they noticed, when they noticed the problem, when they took the vehicle in for repairs, when they got their vehicle back, and what repairs the dealership attempted.
Detailed records help your lemon law attorney craft an airtight case likely to resolve in your favor. Keeping every receipt, bill, and work order can only help your claim.
The lemon law in Colorado requires manufacturers that repurchase defective vehicles pay the full purchase price of the vehicle, along with all applicable sales taxes, license fees, registration fees and similar governmental charges. The manufacturer can, however, withhold a “reasonable allowance for the consumer’s use” of the vehicle. The law determines that allowance according to how much the vehicle was driven before the first defect report, and miles driven when the vehicle was not in the shop.
Manufacturers replacing a defective vehicle must provide a comparable vehicle.
Money earned through a successful lemon law claim can serve any number of purposes, Ross said.
Clients must continue making payments on their vehicles if they financed them. They must continue making timely payments throughout their lemon law claim, even if the vehicle isn’t functioning or is still in the shop. In fact, falling behind on your auto loan payments could negatively affect your lemon law claim. However, once their claim resolves a client can use their settlement funds to pay off their loan entirely, getting them out from under the defective vehicle’s loan.
Clients who bought their vehicle outright could use their settlement money as a down payment to purchase an entirely new vehicle – hopefully one lacking repeated, unfixable problems.
Once a lemon law claim concludes, a successful claimant can use their money earned for anything they choose. Whether that’s paying off their old vehicle, financing a new one, or literally anything else, it’s entirely up to the client what they end up doing with their money.
Don’t wait to contact Allen Stewart P.C.: statute of limitations laws can negatively affect your options. Your initial consultation is free and you pay nothing out of pocket for the lifetime of your claim.
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