If you have purchased a defective new automobile, understanding if the Indiana law lemon applies to you could be the first step toward receiving compensation. The term lemon law refers to consumer products that are defective or develop issues even after numerous repairs.
The Indiana lemon law has been implemented to protect consumers. Different states have different laws pertaining to if a vehicle qualifies as a lemon. Below you’ll find a summary of the Indiana law lemon, what you should do if you think your car is a lemon, and lemon law resources.
One of the main things to consider as to whether Indiana’s lemon law
applies to your case is whether your vehicle is new vs. used. A
majority of 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 Indiana 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 Indiana law lemon. In order for your car to qualify under the lemon law, the following conditions must be met:
• The law covers motor vehicles sold to a buyer in the state of and registered in Indiana, vehicles purchased in the state by a nonresident, having a GVW of less than 10,000 lbs., intended primarily for use and operation on public highways, excluding conversion vans, motor homes, farm tractors, road building equipment, truck tractors, road tractors, motorcycles, mopeds, snowmobiles or vehicles designed primarily for off-road use.
• In order to qualify, the vehicle must have had a minimum of 4 repair attempts - 30 business days out of service.
• The coverage period is 18 months or 18,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
If the above conditions are met, under the Indiana lemon law the manufacture or dealer is required to do the following:
• Accept the return of the vehicle from the buyer and, at the buyer's option, either, within thirty (30) days, refund the amount paid by the buyer or provide a replacement vehicle of comparable value.
• If a refund is provided under this chapter with respect to a vehicle that is not a leased vehicle, the refund must be the full contract price of the vehicle, including all credits and allowances for any trade-in vehicle and less a reasonable allowance for use.
First, if you are considering making a lemon law claim, documentation is important. Keep detailed records of all problems, repairs performed, and the amount of time you are unable to use the vehicle while repairs are being made. Without these documents, proving your car qualifies as a lemon will be a challenge. If you did not collect documents 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 make an Indiana lemon law claim, you must communicate with the dealer attempting to fix the vehicle that you feel your car qualifies. If the dealer is not complying, 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 lawyer fees are generally free to the consumer. If an attorney who specializes in the Indiana 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, consulting a lemon law attorney is worth the effort.
If your situation does not fall into the realm of the Indiana lemon law, there are other options. Another potential resource is the federal lemon law. This statute is called the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. In general it falls under the breach of warranty (BOW) theory. Restitution under this act is different than under than Indiana lemon law. Instead of reimbursement for the 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 Indiana law lemon applies to your situation, a lemon law attorney can be hired at no cost to you to determine if the federal lemon law applies to your case.
If you have specific questions regarding the Indiana lemon law, you can also contact the Attorney General’s Office at the following address:
Office of the Indiana Attorney General
Indiana Government Center South
302 W. Washington St., 5th Floor
Indianapolis, IN 46204