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Understanding Nebraska Lemon Law
Nebraska’s lemon law offers coverage to consumers who purchase a vehicle normally used for personal, family, household or business purposes. It further covers anyone to whom the vehicle is transferred within the warranty period, and anyone else entitled by the warranty to uphold its obligations.
The Nebraska lemon law covers any defect or condition that substantially impairs the use and market value of the vehicle to the consumer. These problems are called “nonconformities.”
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Nebraska’s lemon law does not, however, cover minor issues that don’t substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety. For example, a slight rattle or problem with the radio isn’t a nonconformity.
Problems caused by the consumer’s abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modification or alteration are also not covered by the Nebraska lemon law.
The Nebraska lemon law compels manufacturers to repair any and all nonconformities reported by the consumer during the warranty term or within one year of the vehicle’s delivery to the consumer, whichever is sooner. If they are unable to repair the nonconformities, the lemon law requires the manufacturer to either replace or repurchase the vehicle.
Nebraska’s lemon law allots manufacturers a reasonable number of attempts to repair the nonconformity. The lemon law defines that as four or more times for the same problem without success, or if the vehicle is in the shop for 40 days or more without successfully repairing the problem. This does not apply, however, unless the consumer provides the manufacturer with written notification of the nonconformity and a request for repair.
Manufacturers repurchasing a nonconforming vehicle must pay the full purchase price of the vehicle. They must pay all sales taxes, fees, and other governmental charges. The manufacturer can withhold a reasonable allowance for use, calculated based on the amount of miles traveled prior to the manufacturer’s acceptance of the returned vehicle.
Manufacturers replacing a nonconforming vehicle must provide a comparable vehicle.
The Nebraska lemon law states its protections don’t apply to a consumer who hasn’t first resorted to the manufacturer’s established informal dispute settlement procedure, i.e. arbitration. The arbitrator must be certified by the Nebraska Director of Motor Vehicles.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law questions, click here
The manufacturer must abide by the decision of the arbitrator, while the consumer does not. If dissatisfied with the outcome, a consumer can bring civil action in court. By filing a claim under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, Nebraska 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. 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.
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