The Alabama Lemon Law
If you own a defective vehicle in Alabama, you're covered by the Alabama lemon law. This law gives you the right to claim compensation for the problem vehicle, as long as you meet the criteria set out by the law.
Which Vehicles Are Covered by the
Alabama Lemon Law?
Any self-propelled vehicle intended for use on the public roadways of Alabama is covered by the lemon law of Alabama. However, motorhomes (RVs) and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more are not covered.
If the problem significantly reduces the value or safety of your vehicle, or impairs your ability to use the vehicle, you're eligible for protection. However, the problem must be due to ordinary use of your vehicle, and not to abuse, negligence, modification or alteration, accident or other damage.
Is My Lemon Covered?
If your car, truck or motorcycle is covered in the above section, you have a claim if the problem first appeared within one year of you taking delivery of the lemon, or within the first 12,000 miles of driving, whichever occurred first. Note, however, that the manufacturer does not have to continue repair attempts if the issue has made it to 24 months or 24,000 mile. So be sure to report the problem at the first sign of trouble.
The manufacturer is allowed at least three repair attempts. If, after the third attempt, within the first 24 months/24,000 miles of ownership, the problem persists, you have a lemon. Alternatively, if your vehicle has been with the manufacturer or dealer for at least 30 days in the first 24 months/24,000 miles, including one or more days in the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, you have a lemon.
It Seems I Have a Lemon! What Can I Do?
You must notify the manufacturer during the first 12 months/12,000 miles of the vehicle's problem. You must send it by certified US mail. The letter must demand a correction or repair of the nonconforming (defective) condition. If at least 3 attempts have already been made to fix your lemon, the manufacturer has one last opportunity to fix it.
The manufacturer must reply to you within 7 calendar days of receipt of your letter, providing the location of a reasonably accessible repair shop or other repair facility. They have 14 calendar days to fix the problem, after which you can demand your replacement or refund.
Refund or Replacement?
The Alabama lemon law gives you the option of having your vehicle replaced, or of receiving a refund of the purchase price, which includes the original contract price for dealer preparation and transportation, installed options, and the balance of any extended warranties and/or service contracts you may have purchased.
The refund also includes sales tax, license and registration fees, finance charges from the time you first report the problem (another reason to report it immediately!), and other charges (such as a rental car while yours is being fixed).
The manufacturer is allowed to deduct a reasonable allowance for your use of the vehicle prior to first reporting the problem (a third reason for early reporting). The reasonable use fee is the number of miles you have driven prior to reporting the issue, divided by 100,000, times the full purchase (contract) price of your lemon vehicle. That amount is then subtracted from what the manufacturer owes you as a refund.
Arbitration and Civil Lawsuits
Your manufacturer may refused to honor your claim. If the company has an arbitration or dispute resolution process that complies with federal regulations (most do), then you must take your claim to arbitration before filing a lawsuit.
If you lose the arbitration hearing, you are free to file suit against the manufacturer. I recommend that you consult a lemon law attorney, a lawyer who has experience with Alabama lemon law claims.
Alabama Lemon Law Summary
You have options if you own a lemon in Alabama. Report the problem as soon as you notice it. The sooner you begin, the sooner you'll be eligible for your replacement or refund (and the higher the refund you'll receive).
NOTE:The information here is not legal advice and is only presented to you so you can know your options if you purchased a lemon. As with any legal issue, you should seek the advice of a qualified attorney.