Could the Ohio lemon law help you resolve your car issue? If you have purchased or leased a defective new vehicle, understanding if the lemon law of Ohio 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 repair attempts.
The OH lemon law has been created to protect consumers. Individual states have different laws pertaining to if a car qualifies as a lemon. Below you’ll find a summary of the OH 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 Ohio’s lemon law applies to your case is whether your vehicle is new vs. used. A majority of lemon law state statutes, including Ohio, 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 Ohio 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 OH lemon law. In order for your vehicle to qualify under the lemon law, the following conditions must be met:
• Vehicles covered include passenger vehicles and noncommercial motor vehicles, motor homes (except cooking and sleeping facilities), manufactured homes, and recreational vehicles, but excluding vehicles of government entities and vehicles of business or commercial enterprises registering 3 or more motor vehicles.
• In order to qualify, a vehicle must have had a minimum of 3 repair attempts for same defect, 8 total repair attempts, 1 attempt to repair condition likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, or out of service 30 or more calendar days
• The coverage period is 1 year or 18,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
If the above conditions are met, under the OH lemon law the manufacture or dealer is required to do the following:
• At the consumer's option, replace the motor vehicle with a new motor vehicle acceptable to the consumer or accept return of the vehicle from the consumer and refund each of the following:
• The full purchase price;
• All incidental damages, including, but not limited to, any fees charged by the lender or lessor for making or canceling the loan or lease, and any expenses incurred by the consumer as a result of the nonconformity, such as charges for towing, vehicle rental, meals, and lodging.
First, if you want to possibly make a lemon law claim, you’ll need to keep accurate records. Keep detailed records of all problems, repairs performed, and the amount of time 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 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 make a claim under the Ohio 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.
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 OH 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 to review your case is worth the effort.
If your situation appears not to qualify under the OH lemon law, there may be another option. A 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 OH lemon law. 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 Ohio lemon law 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 Ohio lemon law, you can also contact the Attorney General’s Office at the following address:
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
30 E. Broad St., 14th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
You can also visit their website at: Ohio Attorney General's Office
The Better Business Bureau also has a printable summary of the OH lemon law: BBB Lemon Law State Statutes