The Georgia Lemon Law and the Motor Vehicle Warranty Rights Act provide protection for consumers against vehicles that fail to meet basic standards of operation. All makes and models of new cars are subject to the laws, which call for a variety of steps to remedy a situation in which you purchase a car with serious operational defects. The steps provide a legal process through which consumers can communicate and remedy a situation that occurs following the purchase or lease of a vehicle in Georgia. Manufacturers are responsible for fulfilling their end of the state's laws.
If you purchased or leased a vehicle on of before Dec. 31,. 2008, the law that applies in your case is the Motor Vehicle Warranty Rights Act. If you purchased a vehicle on or after Jan. 1, 2009, the Georgia Lemon Law dictates your rights as a consumer. The passage of the 2009 law sets the rights period during which you can make a claim at two years or during the first 24,000 miles of use of the vehicle.
The Georgia Lemon Law requires that you must have entered into an agreement to purchase or lease a new motor vehicle primarily for personal, family or household use. Essentially, the standard excludes anyone who purchases a used car or who purchases a vehicle for business use. The law, though, provides a loophole for business owners. To qualify, they must own or lease no more than three new vehicles for commercial use, and they must have no more than 10 employees and a net income after taxes of $100,000 per year.
The Georgia Lemon Law only applies to consumers who purchase a vehicle in Georgia. If you purchased a vehicle in another state, then your purchase is subject to the laws of that state. Before buying a car from a seller in another state, be sure to familiarize yourself with the laws of that state. Lemon laws differ by state. For example, Indiana's lemon law applies to new and used vehicles.
Georgia law covers only certain defects in new vehicles and only covers certain types of vehicles. ATVs, boats, motorcycles and trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds do not qualify under the Georgia Lemon Law. Most, if not all, Chevrolet vehicles qualify. Program cars, vehicles that are sold by a dealer but have some miles on them from use by the dealer, are covered as long as they are sold with a warranty. Coverage only applies to defects that substantially impair the vehicle's use, value or safety. It does not apply to defects or condition that result from abuse, neglect or unauthorized modification by the buyer.
The Georgia Lemon Law is designed to help consumers obtain repairs to defective vehicles at no cost to themselves. Consumers must allow a dealer an opportunity to repair the vehicle's problem within the rights period. The dealer is allowed a "reasonable number of repair attempts." This vague terminology depends on the type of defect and the number of days the vehicle is out of service. If the manufacturer is unable to repair the defect, it has the option of repurchasing the vehicle.
Consumers must follow the steps described in the Georgia Lemon Law before taking any other steps. Then, if the vehicle problem is not repaired and the manufacturer refuses to repurchase or replace the vehicle, consumers can take further action, including informal dispute resolution or arbitration. Most consumers do not hire an attorney for this process, but some prefer it if their case goes to arbitration.
Buying a car can be an exhausting process and a poor decision can result in serious financial consequences. Georgia law protects buyers against the purchase of new vehicles that have serious operational defects. Dubbed lemon laws, these laws provide recourse for buyers who have the misfortune of driving off a dealer lot in a defective vehicle.