Maryland residents who buy or lease a new car, light truck or motorcycle are protected by the state’s Lemon Law. This law entitles consumers to a refund or replacement vehicle when a problem develops that dealers are unable to repair. However, remedies are only available under the Lemon Law when vehicles are under two years old and have covered less than 18,000 miles, attempts to repair the problem have been made at authorized dealers, and the issue significantly affects the vehicle’s functionality or market value. Used vehicles may also be covered by the Maryland Lemon Law if they meet the age and mileage restrictions.
The Lemon Law process
Consumers who wish to pursue the remedies available under the Lemon Law must first send the manufacturer a letter by certified mail about a defect that must be corrected. The manufacturer’s authorized dealers then have 30 days to fix the problem. During this time, dealers can try to fix steering or braking issues once and other defects up to four times. Lemon Law remedies are also available when repair attempts cause vehicles to be out of service for 30 or more days.
Lemon Law options
Consumers have two options when dealers are unable to repair problems that substantially impair their vehicle’s functionality or market value. They can ask the dealer to buy their vehicle back or accept a replacement. If they choose to have the dealer buy the vehicle back, they will receive an amount equal to the full purchase price, including taxes and registration fees, less up to 15% for damage that goes beyond normal wear and tear.
Lemon Law arbitration and lawsuits
Vehicle manufacturers are generally reluctant to provide refunds or replacement cars to consumers who are having issues, which is why it may be wise for vehicle owners to contact an attorney with experience in Lemon Law cases when efforts to make repairs are unsuccessful. An attorney may help consumers to prepare for Lemon Law arbitration proceedings or advocate on their behalf in court if they choose to file a lawsuit.