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How to File a Lemon Law Claim

Discovering that your new car is a lemon can be an incredibly sour experience. However, Lemon Laws in the United States provide a pathway to correct this wrong, ensuring consumers can get the justice they deserve. Filing a Lemon Law claim might seem daunting at first, but it’s a process made easier with the right knowledge and preparation. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the steps necessary to file a Lemon Law claim, ensuring you’re well-equipped to turn your frustrating lemon experience into lemonade.

Understanding Lemon Laws

Before diving into the claim process, it’s crucial to have a solid understanding of what Lemon Laws cover. Generally, these laws apply to new vehicles with serious defects affecting their use, safety, or value, and which cannot be fixed after a reasonable number of attempts. The specifics, however, can vary from state to state, including what defines a “reasonable number” of repair attempts, the period during which your vehicle qualifies, and whether used vehicles are covered.

Step 1: Keep Thorough Records

The foundation of a strong Lemon Law claim is detailed documentation. From the first sign of trouble, keep a meticulous record of:

  • All repair orders and receipts (include dates of service, mileage, and a detailed account of the issues and the attempted fixes)
  • Written communications between you and the dealer or manufacturer
  • A log of all related expenses, such as towing and rental cars
  • Any days where the vehicle was out of service due to repairs

Step 2: Understand Your State’s Lemon Law

Research the specifics of your state’s Lemon Law, as your rights and the process can vary significantly depending on where you purchased or registered your vehicle. Key points to look out for include:

  • The definition of a “lemon” in your state
  • The timeframe within which you must file a claim
  • The number of repair attempts considered reasonable
  • Whether arbitration is required before you can proceed to court

Step 3: Official Manufacturer Notification

Once your situation meets your state’s criteria for a Lemon Law claim, notify the manufacturer in writing. This notification should be clear, concise, and include:

  • A description of the vehicle’s issue(s)
  • A summary of all repair attempts and any communications with the dealer
  • A request for a buyback or replacement under the Lemon Law

Send this notification via certified mail to ensure you have a record of its receipt.

Step 4: Prepare for Arbitration or Legal Action

Many states require or offer an arbitration process before you can take legal action. Arbitration can be quicker and less costly than court, but it’s essential to prepare:

  • Organize all your documents and evidence
  • Be ready to clearly explain the issue, the repair attempts, and how this qualifies under your state’s Lemon Law
  • Consider consulting with a Lemon Law attorney for guidance and representation

If arbitration doesn’t resolve the issue, or if it’s not a required step in your state, you may then consider filing a lawsuit. At this stage, seeking legal counsel is strongly advised to navigate the complexities of the legal process effectively.

Step 5: Consult a Lemon Law Attorney

While you can navigate the Lemon Law claim process on your own, consulting with an attorney who specializes in Lemon Law can be invaluable. They can offer:

  • Expertise on your state’s specific Lemon Law statutes
  • Guidance on the strength of your case and the best approach to take
  • Representation in arbitration or court, should it come to that

Many Lemon Law attorneys work on a contingency basis, where they only get paid if you win your case, often through a fee that the manufacturer is required to pay.


Dealing with a lemon vehicle can be an ordeal, but armed with knowledge and the right approach, you can effectively file a Lemon Law claim. Remember, the law is on your side, and you don’t have to navigate this process alone. With thorough documentation, an understanding of your rights, and possibly the assistance of a specialized attorney, you can seek the justice and resolution you deserve.

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