The Illinois Lemon Law

If you bought a new, but defective, vehicle in Illinois, the Illinois lemon law protects your purchase.

Is My Lemon Covered By the IL Lemon Law?

The lemon law in Illinois requires that the defect (called a "nonconformity") substantially impairs your use or the safety of your lemon, or substantially reduces its market value.

The defect also must not have been repaired after at least four repair attempts by the manufacturer/dealer. Or your lemon must has been out of service (not available for your use) for at least 30 business days.

The law covers cars, trucks and vans under 8,000 pounds, and recreational vehicles (RVs), if they were purchased in Illinois. These lemons are only covered for the first 12 months or 12,000 miles of driving, whichever occurs first.

Motorcycles, boats, altered or modified motor vehicles, and used cars and trucks are not covered. However, they may be covered by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

It Seems I Have an Illinois Lemon. What's Next?

Ensure that you have the work invoices for the four repair attempts performed by the dealer. Each should say what the problem was, and what was done to fix it. Keep track of the number of days you were without the vehicle, since a total of 30 business days qualifies you for compensation.

The Illinois lemon law requires that you initiate your claim through the manufacturer's representative whose region includes Illinois. You dealer can provide that information if you don't find it in your owner's manual. You cannot initiate the claim through your dealer. Your complaint must also be filed within 18 months of the original delivery date, but don't wait that long. The representative will send you the forms you need.

With your letter and forms, send photocopies of all your work invoices and any notes you took about the defect. Remember to photocopy your letter and all forms, and keep a copy of them for your records. Send the letter by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested. This is your proof that you filed your claim on time.

Should I Demand a Refund or Replacement

Your compensation is either a refund of the purchase price of the vehicle, less a deduction for the miles you put on the car, or a replacement with a vehicle of similar or like value.

If you decide on a refund, you will be paid the balance after any lien holders are paid the amounts you owe them.

Settling Your Dispute

According to the Illinois lemon law, you cannot receive compensation if you do not first go through the manufacturer's dispute resolution procedure, if there is one.

If you're not satisfied with the decision of the procedure, or of its outcome (the manufacturer hasn't replaced or refunded the vehicle), you can file a law suit with the courts. If you do that, I highly recommend that you contact a lemon law attorney, a lawyer who is very experienced with the lemon law in Illinois.

Illinois Lemon Law Summary

If you own a lemon car, truck, van or recreational vehicle, you could be eligible for compensation from the manufacturer. As long as you've had four repair attempts, or the vehicle was out of service for at least 30 business days, in the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, you should receive a replacement vehicle or refund.

Keep all your notes, work invoices and other documentation. And be sure to initiate the procedure with the manufacturer's representative.

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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