NH Lemon Law

Could the NH lemon law help you resolve your car issue? If you have purchased or leased an automobile that is defective, understanding if the lemon law of New Hampshire applies to you could be the first step toward obtaining a resolution for the problem. The term lemon law refers to consumer products that are defective or despite numerous repairs, do not function.

The New Hampshire lemon law has been put into place in order to protect consumers. Individual states have enacted statutes to determine if a car qualifies as a lemon. Below you’ll find a summary of the NH lemon law, what you should do if you think your car is a lemon, and lemon law resources.

New Car Vs. Used Car

One of the most important things to consider regarding whether the lemon laws of your state apply to your case is whether your car is new vs. used. Most lemon law state statutes apply only to new cars. The New Hampshire lemon law is one of the states whose statutes only apply to new vehicles. 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. Because New Hampshire does not have specified lemon laws for used cars if you purchased your used car with a warranty, federal lemon laws may apply.

Summary of the NH Lemon Law

The following are the key aspects of the New Hampshire lemon law. In order for your car to qualify under the lemon law, your vehicle must meet these conditions:

• The law covers purchased or leased vehicles with a gross weight under 9,000 lbs except tractors, off highway recreational vehicles, motorcycles, and mopeds.

• In order to qualify your vehicle must have had a minimum of 3 repair attempts - 30 business days out of service.

• The coverage period is Within 1 year of expiration of express warranty period or final repair attempt.

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 New Hampshire lemon law the dealer/manufacturer shall do one of the following:

• at the option of the consumer within 30 days of the effective date of the board's order, replace the motor vehicle with a new motor vehicle from the same manufacturer, if available, of comparable worth to the same make and model with all options and accessories with appropriate adjustments being allowed for any model year differences

• or shall accept return of the vehicle from the consumer and refund to the consumer the full purchase price.

What Should You Do If You Think Your Car Is A Lemon?

First, if you want to report or file a lemon law claim, you’ll need to keep accurate records. Keep detailed accounts of all vehicle issues, repairs performed, and the number of days your car is not available 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 make a NH lemon law claim, you must communicate in writing with the dealer attempting to fix the vehicle that you feel your car qualifies as a lemon. 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 New Hampshire 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.

NH Lemon Law Resources

If it appears that you do not qualify under the New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire lemon law. Instead of compensation being in the form 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 NH 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 may apply to your case.

If you have specific questions regarding the New Hampshire lemon laws, you can also contact the Department of Justice at the following address:

NH Department of Justice
33 Capitol Street
Concord, NH 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658
Fax: 603-271-2110

You can also visit their website at: NH Department of Justice 

The Better Business Bureau also has a printable summary of the New Hampshire lemon law: BBB Lemon Law State Statutes 

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