The Oregon Lemon Law

The Oregon lemon law protects all Oregonians who buy new motor vehicles with serious defects.

Does the OR Lemon Law Cover My Defective Vehicle?

If your vehicle has a major defect that substantially impairs the use or safety of the vehicle, or substantially reduces the market value of the vehicle, you may be eligible for compensation.

You have two years or 24,000 miles from the original delivery date, whichever comes first, to notify the manufacturer that you have a lemon. That is considered a vehicle that still has its defect after three or more repair attempts. Alternatively, it's a vehicle that has been in repairs for a total of 30 days during the protection period.

If the defect could cause death or serious injury, and it could not be repaired after two attempts, it's considered a lemon.

You must have purchased the vehicle for personal, family or household purposes. You don't have to be the original owner, but the vehicle must still be within the 24 month/24,000 mile protection period.

Sounds Like I Have an Oregon Lemon. What Do I Do?

As soon as your lemon reaches the three repair attempts threshold, or 30 days out of service, send a letter to the manufacturer by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. Include photocopies of all your notes, work invoices, parts lists, etc. Remember to photocopy your letter and keep the copy for your own records.

The manufacturer then has the opportunity to fix the problem one last time. If it can't be fixed, you'll enter a third-party dispute resolution program, if the manufacturer has one. You're obligated to use this program if you want your compensation.

If you win at the arbitration hearing, you'll receive your refund or replacement.

Should I Choose a Refund or a Replacement?

Unlike most other states, Oregon permits the manufacturer to decide whether you'll receive a refund or a replacement. You have no say.

If you receive a refund, you'll also receive payment for what are called "collateral charges"—taxes, license fees, registration fees, financing charges, any prepayment penalties on your loan, and options installed by the dealer.

Settling in Court

If you don't like the arbitrator's decision, you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. You should definitely do this if the manufacturer refuses to offer a replacement or refund, as you could receive up to three times the amount of any damages, up to $50,000, if the court agrees that the manufacturer did not act in good faith.

If you want to file a suit, I urge you to consult a lemon law attorney, a lawyer with experience dealing with lemon vehicles in court. You'll have a much better chance of winning your case with a good lemon law lawyer.

Oregon Lemon Law Summary

While the Oregon law doesn't give you a choice of compensation, it does give you two years or 24,000 miles protection, up to double that of other states. Begin the process as soon as you reach the three repair attempts or 30 days out of service threshold.

The sooner you begin, the sooner you'll be rid of your lemon and have a new vehicle.

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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