What you need to know about Georgia’s Lemon Law?

What you need to know about Georgia’s Lemon Law?

Why is the Lemon Law called a Lemon Law?

One of the greatest assets an individual can make is when they are buying a house. The other great investment is when an individual buys a car. But what does it mean when your newly purchased vehicle is said to be a lemon? A Lemon is a slang which means that a product is defective, imperfect, or unsatisfactory. 

What is the Georgia Lemon Law? 

Georgia Lemon law is governed by statute under O.C.G.A. § 10-1-(782-785). More specifically, it applies to new leased or purchased vehicles. For example, if your car cannot be repaired in a reasonable number of attempts, it is considered to be a “lemon” and the manufacturer must either replace or repurchase the vehicle from you. We’ll go over everything in more detail below. 

Who is covered under the Georgia Lemon Law? 

Consumer is:

(A) A person who purchases or leases a new motor vehicle for personal, family, or household use and not for the purpose of selling or leasing the new motor vehicle to another person; and

(B) A person who purchases or leases ten or fewer new motor vehicles a year for business purposes other than limousine rental services.

What is the definition of a new motor vehicle? 

“New motor vehicle” means any self-propelled vehicle primarily designed for the transportation of persons or property over the public highways that was leased, purchased, or registered in this state by the consumer or lessor (the dealership). The term “new motor vehicle” does not include any vehicle on which the title and other transfer documents show a used, rather than new, vehicle. The term “new motor vehicle” also does not include trucks with more than 12,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating, motorcycles, or golf carts. If a new motor vehicle is a motor home, this article shall apply to the self-propelled vehicle and chassis, but does not include those portions of the vehicle designated, used, or maintained primarily as living quarters, office, or commercial space. 

It also doesn’t cover All-terrain vehicles (ATVs), Boats, vehicles that are not self-propelled, such as trailers and campers. 

Important things to remember

  1. Keep copies of correspondence between you and the dealership; 
  2. Make a note of the date of substance any conversations or phone calls; 
  3. Obtain an itemized repair order or statement from the authorized dealer each time your car is submitted for diagnosis or repair. 

What defects are covered under the lemon law? 

It covered nonconformity defects. These defects must be: 

  1. Any serious safety defect. A “Serious safety defect” means a life-threatening defect or a malfunction that impedes the consumer’s ability to control or operate the motor vehicle for ordinary use or reasonable intended purposes or creates a risk of fire or explosion.
  2. Any other serious defect or condition that: 
    1. Substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of a new motor vehicle to the consumer; or
    2. Renders the new motor vehicle nonconforming to a warranty.

This does not include a defect, a serious safety defect, or a condition that is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modification or alteration of the new motor vehicle.

Time limit for recover? 

  1. Two years after the date of the original delivery of a new motor vehicle to a consumer; or
  2. The first 24,000 miles of operation after delivery of a new motor vehicle to the original consumer, whichever occurs first.

The lemon law rights period shall be extended by one day for each day that repair services are not available to the consumer as a direct result of a strike, war, invasion, terrorist act, blackout, fire, flood, other disaster, or declared state of emergency.

Repair Attempts 

NonconformityReasonable number of Repair Attempts 
Defect or condition substantially impairs the vehicle’s use, value or safety. At least 3 (three) repair attempts for the SAME defect or condition within the lemon law period
OR
Renders the new motor vehicle nonconforming to a warranty
Serious safety defect 1 (one) within the lemon law period 
One or more defectsAt least a cumulative total of 30 (thirty) calendar days out of service by reason of repair within the lemon law period.

Process

  1. Notify the manufacturer by statutory overnight delivery or certified mail, return receipt requested, of the need to repair and correct the nonconformity. The notice must be sent to the address provided by the manufacturer in the owner’s manual. The manufacturer then has 28 days from its receipt of the notice to make a final attempt to repair and correct the nonconformity; 
  2. After  7 days  of the receipt of the notice the manufacturer should notify you (the owner) of where you need to take your car  for  the final  attempt to correct the nonconformity;
  3. You (the owner) have an additional 7 days to take your car to the designated place that is agreed between the two of you; 
  4. The manufacturer must get everything done by the end of the 28 day mark from the initial receipt of notice. 

What happens now? 

Manufacturer should now give you an option to either repurchase or replace your car.  

What does repurchase  mean? 

If a consumer who is a lessee elects a repurchase, the manufacturer shall pay to the lessee an amount equal to all payments made by the lessee under the lease agreement or contract, including, but not limited to, the lessee cost, plus all incidental costs, less a reasonable offset for use of the nonconforming new motor vehicle. The manufacturer shall pay to the lessor an amount equal to 110 percent of the adjusted capitalized cost of the nonconforming new motor vehicle. After the lessor has received payment from the manufacturer as specified in this subparagraph and payment from the consumer of all past due charges, if any, the consumer shall have no further obligation to the lessor.

(B) If a consumer who is not a lessee elects a repurchase, the manufacturer shall pay to the consumer an amount equal to the purchase price of the nonconforming new motor vehicle plus all collateral charges and incidental costs, less a reasonable offset for use of the nonconforming new motor vehicle. Payment shall be made to the consumer and lienholder of record, if any, as their interests may appear on the records of ownership.

What does replacement  mean? 

“Replacement motor vehicle” means a new motor vehicle that is identical or at least equivalent to the motor vehicle to be replaced as the motor vehicle to be replaced existed at the time of purchase or execution of the lease.

If a consumer who is a lessee elects to receive a replacement motor vehicle, in addition to providing the replacement motor vehicle, the manufacturer shall pay to the lessor (the person holding title to the car) an amount equal to all charges that the lessor will incur as a result of the replacement transaction and shall pay the lessee (an amount equal to all incidental costs that have been incurred by the lessee plus all charges that the lessee will incur as a result of the replacement transaction. If a lessee elects to receive a replacement motor vehicle, all terms of the existing lease agreement or contract shall remain in force and effect, except that the vehicle identification information contained in the lease agreement or contract shall be changed to conform to the vehicle identification information of the replacement vehicle.

Dispute Resolution Steps 

  1. If the manufacture  does not  replace or repurchase your car after being requested by  following the above steps, there are two possibilities:  
    1.   Manufacturer has established an informal dispute settlement mechanism, then you  have to go through their mechanism before going through a state mandated arbitration; 
    2. If  the manufacturer doesn’t have that, then you’re entitled to request an arbitration.