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Understanding Kentucky Lemon Law
Kentucky’s lemon law protects Kentuckians who buy or contract to buy new vehicles in the state. The lemon law also covers state residents who lease a new vehicle in Kentucky after July 15, 1998. The lemon law does not cover subsequent purchasers or lessees.
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The Kentucky lemon law applies to vehicles intended primarily for use on public highways that are also required to be registered or licensed in Kentucky. The vehicles covered must be new, completely assembled and sold by a manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, wholesaler or authorized dealer.
Kentucky’s lemon law does not cover motorhomes, motorcycles, mopeds, vehicles with more than two axles, farm machinery or vehicles substantially altered after the initial sale from dealer to an individual.
The lemon law covers vehicle “nonconformities,” which it defines as conditions or defects that substantially impairs the vehicle’s use, value or safety. The lemon law does not cover nonconformities caused as a result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications or alterations by the consumer.
Consumers must report problems or defects in writing to the manufacturer to use Kentucky’s lemon law provisions. If the consumer does so within one year of receiving the vehicle or within the first 12,000 miles of operation, the manufacturer must fix the nonconformity.
Kentucky’s lemon law presumes the manufacturer has been allowed a “reasonable number of repair attempts” to fix the nonconformity. The law defines this number as four or more repair attempts by the manufacturer or their authorized agents. After this, if the nonconformity remains, or if the vehicle is out of service for more than 30 calendar days, the manufacturer must repurchase or replace the vehicle.
The Kentucky lemon law requires manufacturers to pay the full purchase price paid for the vehicle when repurchasing. They must also repay finance charges, applicable taxes, fees and governmental charges. Manufacturers may withhold a reasonable allowance for use of the vehicle, calculated from the amount the consumer used the vehicle when it was not out of service due to the nonconformity.
When replacing a vehicle under the Kentucky lemon law, the manufacturer must provide a comparable motor vehicle. The reasonable allowance for use does not apply to a replacement vehicle.
The Kentucky lemon law compels consumers seeking judicial relief to first pursue resolution through informal dispute resolution, i.e. arbitration. Any vehicle falling within the lemon law’s definition of motor vehicle is covered by the dispute resolution provisions.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law questions, click here
Kentucky consumers with warrantied vehicle problems would be well served to contact a law firm for a consultation on what their next step should be, whether it be going through with arbitration or proceeding to trial. In court, consumers are guaranteed the ability to gather evidence under the state’s civil discovery rules, and to be represented by a qualified lawyer who can guide them through the often complex legal process.
By pursuing a claim under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, Kentucky consumers can hire lemon law 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 may have to pay the claimants’ reasonable attorneys’ fees if the claimant prevails against the manufacturer.
This information brought to you by Allen Stewart P.C.