The Georgia Lemon Law—Protecting You
If You Live in GA
The Georgia Lemon Law, which came into effect on January 1, 2009, covers cars, small trucks, vans and motorhomes (RVs, or recreational vehicles, although it doesn't cover the living quarters).
The law does not cover motorcycles, or trucks that weigh over 12,000 pounds. It also does not cover ATVs, boats, used cars, and vehicles that are not self-propelled. It does cover demonstrator vehicles as long as the title indicates that it is a new vehicle.
If your lemon vehicle is not covered by the lemon law in Georgia, then you will need to take it to a higher level by using the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, the federal legislation covering products with active warranties.
Does My Car or Truck Qualify as a Lemon?
The criteria for deciding whether your vehicle is a lemon include:
A serious safety defect.
A defect that impairs your use of the vehicle, or reduces the value of the vehicle or its safety to you and your passengers. Or...
A defect that makes your new vehicle nonconforming to the manufacturer's warranty.
Also, the Georgia lemon law covers your vehicle for two years from the date of purchase, or for 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. That's 24,000 miles in addition to what was on the odometer when you purchased it.
My Car's a Lemon! What Do I Do?
First, talk to the dealership and the manufacturer. If you think that you have a lemon. they're obligated to hear your case and inspect the vehicle. They are given the chance to repair the defect. Depending on the seriousness of the problem, that could be as few as one or two attempts, or as many as four. Ensure that the first repair attempt occurs before your lemon law rights expire (after two years or on the date the odometer reaches 24,000 miles).
If they cannot fix the defect, and they refuse to compensate you, you can ask for an arbitration hearing
When Do I File for the Georgia Lemon Law
Once your lemon law rights expire, you must file a claim within one year if you want to use Georgia's certified informal dispute settlement program. I recommend that you try to get the manufacturer to buy back the vehicle or give you a replacement. Only if they refuse to compensate you should you ask for an arbitration hearing.
The Georgia Lemon Law Frequently Asked Questions page says that you do not need to hire a lemon law attorney for the arbitration process. If you do want a lawyer, there are many law firms all over the country and in Georgia that specialize in this sort of case. To find one, do a search for "lemon law lawyer Georgia." Note that lawyer fees are your responsibility.
The Georgia Lemon Law and its predecessor, the Motor Vehicle Warranty Rights Act (effective for vehicles purchased before January 1, 2009) are here to protect your right to a new vehicle that conforms to its warranty and works as expected. If you own a lemon, be sure to assert your rights through the applicable law.
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.