Understanding New York Lemon Law
The New York State New Car Lemon Law provides a legal remedy for consumers who buy or lease new cars and certain used cars that turn out to be lemons. According to the law, if the car does not conform to terms of its written warranty and the manufacturer or their authorized agent is unable to repair the car after a reasonable number of attempts, the consumer is entitled to a refund or replacement.
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Vehicles covered by New York’s lemon law include those covered by a warranty at original delivery. It also covered vehicles purchased, leased or transferred before hitting 18,000 miles or two years from the original date of delivery. The car must also have been purchased, leased or transferred in New York State or be presently registered in the state, and be primarily used for personal purposes.
New York’s lemon law also covers certain used cars. The law covers any used car purchased, leased or transferred after the earlier of 18,000 miles or two years from original delivery. The vehicle must also be purchased or leased from a New York dealer. The used car must be sold or leased at a price of at least $1,500. Finally, the used car must have less than 100,000 miles at the time of purchase or lease and be used primarily for personal purposes.
The lemon law states a vehicle must be repaired by the manufacturer or its authorized agent four or more times without success before it’s considered a lemon. A car can also be considered a lemon if it’s out of service for a total of 30 days or more. If either of these criteria are met, the consumer is entitled to a refund or replacement. However, manufacturers are not compelled to refund or replace the vehicle if the problem does not “substantially impair the value of the car to the consumer.” Abuse, neglect or unauthorized alterations of the car also absolve the manufacturer of its duty to refund or replace.
Car dealers selling used cars with mileages less than 100,000 are required to provide statutory warranties depending on the amount of miles driven on the car. Cars between 18,001 and 36,000 miles are entitled to a warranty lasting 90 days or 4,000 miles. Cars between 36,001 and 79,999 miles get a warranty of 60 days or 3,000 miles, and cars between 80,000 and 100,000 get a warranty of 30 days or 1,000 miles. The warranties cover certain components of the vehicle, listed here.
New York’s lemon law says a dealer has “three or more” chances to fix a defective used car. If after three or more attempts the problem remains, or the car has been out of service for 15 days or more, the consumer is entitled to a refund.
Many manufacturers’ warranties require consumers to go through arbitration before pursuing legal action.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law questions, click here.
By pursuing a claim under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, New York 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’ attorneys’ fees if the claimant prevails against the manufacturer.
New York consumers who unknowingly purchase defective vehicles are protected by two laws: the New York lemon law (known officially as the New Car Lemon Law) and the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. The state’s law gives consumers four years after the vehicle’s initial delivery to file a state lemon law complaint. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act borrows the statute of limitations from the state in which a complaint originates. Thusly, New York consumers have four years to file a Magnuson-Moss claim.
There is a specific New York used car lemon law. Cars covered under this law must have been purchased, leased or transferred from a New York dealer after the earlier of 18,000 miles traveled or two years after its original delivery. The vehicle must have been purchased or leased for at least $1,500, and driven less than 100,000 miles at the time of purchase. Dealers must provide warranties covering engines, transmissions, drive axles, brakes, steering and other components, with those warranties lasting between 30 to 90 days depending on how many miles the vehicle has traveled. For more information on New York’s used car lemon law, click here.
Both the New York lemon law and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act let consumers recover attorney’s fees after prevailing in court. New York General Business Law GBS § 198-a states the court “may award reasonable attorney’s fees to a prevailing plaintiff or to a consumer who prevails in any judicial action or proceeding arising out of an arbitration proceeding.” Victorious plaintiffs can also recover related attorney fees if they must hire an attorney to enforce award collection. Consumers who prevail in their federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act claim can also recover attorneys’ fees, meaning they pay zero out of pocket expenses.
Whether resorting to the New York lemon law or the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, hiring a qualified lemon law attorney is the best thing you can do to ensure a positive outcome for your claim. The lemon law attorneys of Allen Stewart, P.C. will stand up for your rights and keep you involved at every step of the process.
Consumers filing a claim under the lemon law in New York should keep any and all records of repairs undertaken to fix defect issues. These records should include details on the defect itself, when you noticed the problem, when you took the vehicle in for repairs, when it was returned to you, and what repairs the technicians conducted on the vehicle.
Detailed maintenance records could make the difference in your lemon law claim. Good record keeping helps your lemon law attorney built a solid case, increasing the chance it will resolve in your favor.
When a victorious consumer chooses repurchase, the lemon law in New York requires manufacturers pay the vehicle’s full purchase price including trade-in allowances as well as license and registration fees. The manufacturer can, however, legally withhold an allowance for the consumer’s use of the vehicle and an allowance for any damage not attributable to normal wear and tear.
Manufacturers replacing a vehicle under the lemon law in New York must replace it with a “comparable motor vehicle” of the same model year, value and mileage.
Once your claim resolves and you receive your settlement proceeds, you can use that money for anything you choose.
Many clients finance their vehicles, and they must continue making car payments regardless of whether the vehicle is in the shop or otherwise unusable. In fact, falling behind on your car payment can adversely affect your lemon law claim. However, these clients could use their settlement funds to pay off what remains of their auto loan, freeing them to seek a new vehicle lacking the persistent problems of their previous one.
If the claimant bought their vehicle cash, that settlement money could go toward buying a new vehicle. A client can use their settlement to pay the down payment on a new vehicle; hopefully one lacking the defect problems that forced them to seek legal recourse in the first place.
Money award from a successful lemon law claim can be used anyway you choose. That money represents the vehicle’s manufacturer acknowledging their product simply didn’t measure up. The funds represent you standing up for your rights as an American and a consumer. Don’t let big companies leave you stranded. Contact us today: our clients pay nothing out of pocket.
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