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The Alaska Lemon Law

If you live in Alaska, your defective new vehicle is covered by the Alaska lemon law, but only if you meet your responsibilities as the owner of that lemon.

Is My Vehicle Covered by the AK Lemon Law?

Your defective new car or truck is covered by the lemon law in Alaska if a problem occurs during the first year of the original warranty, and the manufacturer and/or dealer is unable to fix it after a reasonable number of repair attempts, which is usually three.

The defect must substantially reduce the market value of your vehicle, or substantially impair your use of the vehicle. It also must not be the result of abuse, alteration or neglect by you or anyone who is not an agent of the dealer or authorized repair shop.

It Looks Like I Have a Lemon! What Do I Do?

If you think you have a lemon, you begin the process by sending a letter by certified mail to the manufacturer and to the dealer or authorized repair facility. Be sure to include all service order numbers, the dates of the repairs, what repairs were done, the parts used, and the cost of the parts.

I recommend that you photocopy the repair invoices that you received and send the copies with your letter. Remember to keep a photocopy of your letter.

If you haven't already, start providing dated notes to the service advisor when you take your vehicle in for repairs. Describe all the conditions of the problem, but do not attempt to diagnose what's wrong. Leave it to the mechanics to decide what the problem is with your lemon vehicle. And keep a copy of your dated note.

If you need to have your vehicle towed to the repair facility, and the manufacturer or dealer does not cover towing, keep your receipts. The AK lemon law covers reasonable shipping charges, such as towing.

Ensure that all repair invoices show how many days the vehicle was in for repairs. If that total reaches 30 days across all invoices, you're entitled to lemon law coverage. So this is very important.

Staking Your Lemon Law Claim

You must file your claim for replacement or refund no later than 60 days after the end of the first year of ownership (dated from the day of delivery to you or the original owner). Your certified letter (see above) must outline the following...

  • That your lemon vehicle has a defect or other problem (the law calls it a "nonconformity"—something that does not conform with the warranty that came with your vehicle).

  • A reasonable (it doesn't have to be precise) description of the defect or problem.

  • That the repair facility, dealer or manufacturer has made at least three attempts to repair the problem, and that it still persists.

  • That you demand a replacement or refund. If you demand a replacement vehicle, that it be delivered on the 60th day after the mailing of your written notice.

  • A description of your lemon, including the year, make and model.

  • The vehicle identification number (VIN). You can find it at the bottom of the inside of the windshield on the driver's side, or on your Alaska vehicle registration document, listed as the "serial number."

  • Your name and address, and a daytime phone number, if you can be reached there during the day.

The manufacturer then has 30 days in which to make another repair attempt. If, after that attempt or the 30 days, the vehicle still does not conform, you can receive your replacement or refund.

Refund or Replacement?

The Alaska lemon law requires that any refund be made to a lien holder of record, if there is one, with the balance payable to you. The refund will be the purchase price of your lemon, less a reasonable allowance for your use of the vehicle.

Arbitration and Legal Recourse

The manufacturer may refuse your claim, asking for arbitration. Any judgement is binding on the manufacturer, but not on you as the claimant. However, if the manufacturer has an informal arbitration process that has been approved by the Alaska Attorney General, then you must go through the process if you want to claim a refund or replacement. In other words, you have no claim unless you go to arbitration.

If you lose the arbitration, you are free to pursue a legal claim. If you do, I recommend that you consult a lemon law attorney in Alaska. This is a lawyer with experience dealing with suits involving defective vehicles.

Alaska Lemon Law Summary

If you think your Alaskan car or truck is a lemon, it's best to start the process as soon as possible. When you've reached three repair attempts, send your certified letter to the manufacturer, demanding your replacement or refund. If you follow the steps outlined above, you should receive your compensation without resorting to legal recourse.



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.


 

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