17 Feb My New Car is a Lemon…What Do I Do Now?
You’ve just bought a new car and you think it’s a lemon…What options do you have?
You’ve just signed on the dotted line. You have finally gone out and bought yourself that brand new vehicle you’ve been eyeing forever. You put that key in the ignition and you can taste that sweet smell of a new vehicle surrounding you as you sit in the driver’s seat ready to drive off into the sunset for the first time. As you drive off the dealership lot, you can’t help but feel excited for the endless possibilities ahead…where will your first road trip take you…how smooth your trips to the office will be…how excited your kids will be as you drop them off to school or pick them up from practice…or anywhere else for that matter. You briefly think about that warranty that comes with your vehicle, that warranty you are sure you won’t ever need because surely the vehicle you bought will never cause you any problems. No one ever thinks that their new car is a lemon.
Indiana Lemon Laws
Maybe it’s shortly after you purchase the vehicle or maybe you’ve “broken” it in a little bit, but at some point, something happens and your vehicle stops working the way it’s supposed to. Could it be possible that your new car is a lemon? What do you do? Does it matter when it stops operating correctly in determining if it really is a lemon? In Indiana, absolutely! Every state has adopted their own set of statutes commonly referred to as “lemon laws”. If you purchased your vehicle in Indiana, whether or not you are a resident because the key is where the vehicle was purchased and not if you are an Indiana resident, the remedies you can seek will most likely be found under Indiana Code 24-5-13. Your first step is determining which lemon laws from which state apply to you.
Once you’ve determined which state your vehicle may be covered, it’s important to understand what the law allows. In Indiana, once you’ve determined that the lemon laws might apply to you because you purchased the vehicle here in Indiana, grab your purchase documents so you can figure out exactly when you purchased the vehicle and how many miles it had on it. This is important because in Indiana, the purchase of the vehicle directly affects when your clock starts running for that protection in the first 18 months or the first 18,000 miles of the vehicle. Why is this important you ask? Because in order to qualify under Indiana lemon laws, you must report your first issue within that time period to an authorized dealership.
Vehicle Issues Covered by Indiana Lemon Law
In order to be covered by Indiana lemon laws, the issues you are experiencing must substantially impair the use, market value, or safety of a motor vehicle. So, what does that mean? Sometimes that might mean, for example, you are experiencing engine or transmission troubles. Or that might mean you are experiencing electrical issues which are causing your vehicle to shut off or become inoperable. The only way to know for sure whether your issues qualify under the lemon laws is to consult an attorney. Some of the issues you are experiencing might seem minor or someone from the dealership or someone else not licensed to practice law has told you, eh, don’t bother with your time, it’s not worth it or you won’t be able to afford an attorney. However, most licensed attorneys who handle lemon law cases will tell you that in general, lemon law cases are handled on contingency fee basis, meaning that unless you recover, there are no fees and typically no upfront fees paid out of your pocket.
If you do qualify under the lemon laws, Indiana requires you to report your issues to an authorized dealership within that first 18 months or 18,000 miles. That means an authorized dealership and not your local shop down the street. Again, it must be an authorized dealership. Most often, people go back to the dealership they purchased the vehicle from or any other dealership that is connected to that particular manufacturer, i.e. you bought a Buick and you take your vehicle to be repaired at a Buick dealership.
You’ve Reported Your Lemon to the Dealer…Now What?
Alright, so you’ve reported your issue, now what? There are a couple things in Indiana that you have to do before you can proceed with a lemon law claim.
If you report the issue within the time frame of 18 months or 18,000 miles, you don’t have a lemon law claim until you’ve given the authorized dealership at least 4 times to correct the issue. Now that doesn’t seem fair to you does it? Well, Indiana has decided that it’s a reasonable number of attempts to correct the problem before you are able to proceed with a claim. However, if you took your vehicle in to that authorized dealership and they kept it for more than 30 days, but you only have the one reported issue, you may qualify under the lemon law, too. In Indiana, you either have to give the authorized dealership 4 attempts to fix the reported problem OR be out of service for more than 30 days.
Indiana Lemon Law Attorneys
If your vehicle has been out of service for more than 30 days or you’ve been back to the dealer at least 4 times trying to get the problem fixed, call Chambers Law Office today to get a free consultation! If you think your vehicle is a possible lemon and you think you’ve done what you need to do in order to qualify, call us to speak with an attorney today!