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The West Virginia Lemon Law

The West Virginia lemon law was created to protect you should you end up owning a defective vehicle. Learn what the criteria are for determining whether you have a lemon, and what you can do about it.

Does the WV Lemon Law Cover My Vehicle?

The lemon law in West Virginia covers cars, pickup trucks, vans and SUVs, and the chassis and drivetrain of motorhomes (recreational vehicles, or RVs). It does not cover the living quarters of RVs, nor does it cover motorcycles or off-road vehicles.

Your vehicle must still be covered by the manufacturer's warranty. The lemon law protection period lasts until one year from the date of the original delivery.

You must report the defect during that 12 month period, and the vehicle must have been repaired at least three times during that time. However, if the defect could cause serious injury or death, the vehicle is a lemon after one unsuccessful repair attempt. Alternatively, if the vehicle is out of service for repairs for a total of 30 calendar days or more, it's considered a lemon.

I Have a West Virginia Lemon. What Can I Do?

Begin by contacting the dealer or manufacturer, in writing. Include photocopies of all your notes, repair orders and work invoices, and any other supporting documentation you have. Remember to first photocopy your letter and keep that copy for your records. Send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested.

You and the manufacturer can then negotiate a replacement vehicle of comparable value, or a refund of your purchase price.

Arbitration and Law Suits

The West Virginia lemon law does not require that you submit to arbitration before filing a lawsuit. However, you may want to go that route, as it will be less time-consuming, and it could be cheaper in the long run.

If you use the manufacturer's or a third-party's informal dispute resolution procedure, you are not bound by the final decision. If you disagree with the decision, you are free to file a law suit for damages.

If you do file a suit, I recommend that you consult with a lemon law attorney, a lawyer familiar with the West Virginia lemon law. Since you can be awarded reasonable attorney's fees, it makes sense to use a lemon law lawyer, to ensure that your rights are protected and that you get the largest settlement possible.

Call the West Virginia Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808 (in-state only) for a list of lemon law attorneys who practise in WV.

Replacement or Refund?

The manufacturer must replace your lemon with a vehicle of comparable value. If you go to court and win, you may be awarded a full refund, including...

  • the purchase price, sales tax, license and registration fees, and other related and reasonable fees

  • reimbursement for any repairs, including parts, that you paid for (if you have receipts)

  • reimbursement for loss of use, annoyance or inconvenience caused by the defect, which includes rental transportation due to the defect or its repair

  • reasonable attorney's fees

West Virginia Lemon Law Summary

The lemon law in West Virginia allows you to claim compensation for any car, pickup, SUV or van, or the chassis and drivetrain of a motorhome within one year of delivery. While you don't need to go to arbitration, it may be better than jumping right into a lawsuit. When you win, you're entitled to a replacement vehicle, or perhaps a refund.

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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