Could the Georgia lemon law help you resolve your car issue? If you have purchased or leased a car that is not working properly, understanding if the lemon laws of Georgia apply to your situation could be the first step toward obtaining compensation. The term lemon law refers to consumer products that are defective or despite numerous repairs, do not function.
The GA lemon law has been put into place in order to protect consumers. Each state has enacted specific laws regarding if a car qualifies as a lemon. Below you’ll find a summary of the Georgia lemon law, what you should do if you think your car is a lemon, and lemon law resources.
One of the most important things to consider regarding whether your state’s lemon law applies to your case is whether your car is new vs. used. Most lemon law state statutes apply only to new cars. However, some states do have provisions under their used car lemon laws.
The issue is specifically linked to your vehicle’s warranty. New cars are sold with vehicle warranties that specify coverage for a specified number of miles or months. It is under the umbrella of this warranty that the lemon law generally applies. For used cars sold by dealers with warranties, coverage under the state’s lemon law may apply. If your state does not have specified lemon laws for used cars and you purchased your used car with a warranty, federal lemon laws may apply.
The following are the key aspects of the lemon laws of Georgia. In order for your car to qualify under the lemon law, your vehicle must meet these conditions:
• The lemon law covers any self-propelled vehicles, primarily designed for the transportation of persons or property over the public highways, leased or purchased in this state, or registered by the original consumer to this state, and on which the original title was issued to the lessor or purchased without having been previously issued to any person other than the selling dealer. The law does not include those portions of motor homes designated, used or maintained primarily as a mobile dwelling, office or commercial space, motorcycles or trucks with 10,000 lbs. or more GVWR.
• In order to qualify, your vehicle must have had at least 1 repair attempt for a for a serious safety defect in the braking or steering system, 3 repair attempts, or 30 calendar days out of service.
• The coverage period is 1 year or 12,000 miles, whichever occurs earlier.
If the above conditions apply to your situation with your purchased or leased vehicle and the dealer/manufacturer is unable to correct the problem, under the Georgia lemon laws the dealer/manufacturer must replace the "lemon" with an identical (or reasonably equivalent) vehicle or must refund the purchase price with an offset assessed for use. If you elect the refund, it must include all collateral charges paid.
First, if you want to possibly make a lemon law claim, you’ll need to keep accurate records. Keep detailed accounts of all problems, repairs performed, and the number of days your car is unavailable while repairs are being made. Without these documents, proving that your car qualifies as a lemon will be a challenge. If you did keep track when problems first arose, ask the dealer for the repair records.
To help you organize your documentation, click on this link for a repair log: Lemon Law Repair Log
Second, in order to potentially invoke the Georgia lemon law, you must communicate in writing with the dealer attempting to fix the vehicle that you feel your car qualifies. If the problem is not resolved, contact the manufacturer directly, detailing the problem. When contacting the manufacturer, specifically ask for their procedure for making a lemon law claim.
A final step you can take is to hire a lemon law attorney. The good news is that the attorney fees are generally free to the consumer. If an attorney who specializes in the GA lemon law loses your case, they don’t get paid. If they win, the manufacturer pays the legal fees. Thus, if you do not feel like the dealer or manufacture has provided sufficient restitution, having a lemon law attorney review your case may be a good option.
If it appears that you do not qualify under the GA lemon law, there may be another option. A potential resource is the federal lemon law. This statute is called the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. The federal lemon law falls under the breach of warranty (BOW) statute. Restitution under this act is different than under than Georgia lemon laws. Instead of a refund for the defective vehicle, restitution is the difference between the Kelly blue book value of the car in excellent conditions vs. good or poor condition.
Again, if you are unclear if the Georgia lemon law applies to your situation, a lemon law attorney can be consulted at no cost to you to review your case and determine if the federal lemon law applies to your case.
If you have specific questions regarding the Georgia lemon laws, you can also contact the Office of Consumer Affairs at the following address:
Office of Consumer Affairs
Attn: Warranty Rights Act
2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive
Atlanta, GA 30334