The Idaho Lemon Law
The Idaho lemon law protects owners of vehicles purchased or registered in Idaho that develop serious defects that cannot be fixed.
Does the ID Lemon Law Cover My Vehicle?
The lemon law in Idaho covers purchased or leased cars, trucks and vans that have a manufacturer's warranty. The defect must impair your use of the vehicle or reduce its market value.
The vehicle must have been purchased in or licensed for use in Idaho. It must weigh 12,000 pounds or less. And it must be used for family, household or individual purposes, or for personal business purposes. The defect must also substantially impair your use of the vehicle or its market value.
The protection period lasts until the end of the warranty, or 24 months from the original date of delivery, or 24,000 miles, whichever of these three occurs first. You must report the defect before the protection period ends, although repairs could continue beyond its expiration.
The manufacturer must have made at least four repair attempts on the defect, or, in the case of a complete failure of the braking or steering system, one repair attempt. Alternatively, if the vehicle has been out of service due to any number of defects for at least 30 business days, you have a lemon.
The law does not cover any defects caused by neglect, abuse or unauthorized modifications made to the vehicle.
I Guess I Have an Idaho Lemon. What's the Next Step?
If your vehicle meets the Idaho lemon law criteria, your next step is to inform the manufacturer or dealer in writing. Your letter should give a detailed explanation and timeline of the defect, and demand a replacement or refund under the lemon law of Idaho.
Photocopy all your notes, repair orders and work invoices, and any other supporting documentation. Remember to photocopy your letter and keep the copy for your records. Send the letter and photocopies by certified mail, return receipt requested.
The manufacturer then has one last attempt to repair the defect.
Arbitration and Lemon Law Suits
In Idaho, every manufacturer must have an arbitration program. If the program requires your participation, you must use it before you can use the Idaho lemon law to take the manufacturer to court. The arbitrator's decision is not binding on you or the manufacturer.
If you disagree with the decision, you can ask a court to have the decision removed so that you can then file suit. If you decide to go to court, I recommend that you consult a lemon law attorney experienced with the law in Idaho.
Note, however, that if the court determines that you acted in bad faith in filing the suit, up to three times the actual damages could be awarded to the manufacturer, plus their attorney fees and court costs. So be very certain that your case is winnable before starting it.
A lemon law lawyer will usually agree to take payment out of any award you receive. So it's a good idea to consult a lawyer, since s/he may not agree to take your case is s/he doesn't think it's winnable.
Should I Take a Refund or Replacement?
Only you can decide whether a refund or replacement is best for your circumstances. Use the information below to help you make that choice. Note that the arbitrator may award you a replacement vehicle of comparable value. If that happens, you are free to ask for a refund, based on the information below.
For a refund, you can receive up to 105% of the full purchase price, less a reasonable use fee for the miles you drove before the arbitration hearing. You'll also be reimbursed for sales tax, license and registration fees, and any towing and rental vehicle expenses related to the defect (you'll need receipts).
If you lease the vehicle, you can only receive a refund. You can't have a replacement. You'll receive a refund of the pro rata amount of your down payment that covers the unused months of the lease. The manufacturer must also pay all early termination charges plus the residual value specified in the lease. You will then also receive reimbursement of sales tax and license and registration fees.
Idaho Lemon Law Summary
Idaho's lemon law gives you 24 months or 24,000 miles of protection against serious defects. You can receive a replacement or a refund, unless you lease the lemon, in which case you must receive a refund.
Report the defect as soon as you notice it, and as soon as you notice that a repair didn't fix the problem. The sooner you reach four repair attempts, or 30 business days out of service, the sooner you can begin your claim.
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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