If you have purchased a defective new automobile, understanding if the New York lemon law applies to you could be the first step toward obtaining compensation. The term lemon law refers to vehicles that are defective or require numerous repairs.
The NY lemon law has been put into place in order 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 New York lemon law, 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 New York’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 lemon laws for used cars.
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 New York lemon law. In order for your car to qualify under the lemon law, your vehicle must meet these conditions:
• It must be a passenger vehicle purchased, leased, transferred or registered in New York, including motorcycles and excluding off-road vehicles
• Must have had 4 repair attempts, 30 calendar days out of service, or for a substantial defect within 20 days of receipt of notice given by the consumer using certified mail.
• The coverage period is 2 years or 18,000 miles, whichever occurs first
If the above conditions apply to your situation and you purchased to vehicle, under the NY lemon law the manufacture or dealer is required to compensate either a comparable car or a refund of your purchase price, plus license and registration fees, minus a mileage allowance (only if the vehicle has been driven for more than 12,000 miles).
First, if you want to possibly make a lemon law claim, you must have detailed documentation. Keep accurate records of all problems, repairs performed, and the amount of time your car is unavailable while repairs are being made. Without these records, 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 invoke the New York lemon law, 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. The NY lemon law includes a provision for arbitration with a mediator if you are not getting sufficient response from the manufacturer.
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 NY 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, hiring a California lemon law attorney is definitely worth the effort.
What if your warranty has expired or there is some reason you are concerned that you may not qualify under the lemon law statutes? If your situation does not fall into the realm of the NY lemon law, there are other options.
Another option is the federal lemon law. This federal statute is called the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. In general it falls under the breach of warranty (BOW) theory. Compensation under this act is different than under than NY 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.
If you are unsure as to if the New York 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 NY lemon law, you can also contact the Attorney General’s Office at the following address:
Attorney General’s Office
Albany, NY 12224-0341
General Helpline: 1-800-771-7755
You can also visit their website at: New York State Attorney General's Office
The Better Business Bureau also has a printable summary of the New York Lemon Law: BBB State Lemon Laws