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Turning Your Virginia Lemon into Lemonade

This is a guest post by Sergei Lemberg, a lemon law attorney. Go check out his great blog or his lemon meter.

If you’ve ever bought a new car, you know what a rush it is. There’s the new car smell, the feeling of power as you hit the accelerator, and the peace of mind knowing that you’ll have a reliable ride for a long, long time.

But what happens when that new car isn’t so reliable? When you wake up one morning and have to come to terms with the fact that you’ve bought a lemon? At Lemon Justice, Lemon Law attorney Sergei Lemberg offers an overview of Virginia lemon law.

Sergei notes that every state has a lemon law, but that each of them is different. Under Virginia’s lemon law, some vehicles qualify as lemons and others don’t. If you buy or lease a new car, SUV, van, or truck, you’re covered. If you buy a motorcycle, you’re covered. If you buy an RV, you’re covered if you have a problem with the chassis (but not the living quarters). If you buy a moped – yep, you’re covered.

Now, on to definitions. In order to be considered a “lemon,” your vehicle’s defects have to affect its use, safety, or value. In other words, if it’s something minor, you don’t have a case. According to Sergei, the other catch is that the defects have to occur during the 18 months from the delivery date. In addition, the vehicle must have been taken in for repair one time for a serious safety defect or three times for a single non-life-threatening defect. Or, it has to have been out of service for a cumulative total of 30 days. Then, after you’ve taken your vehicle in for repair the required number of times, you have to notify the manufacturer of the defect within 18 months of your delivery date and give them one last chance to repair the car.

Sergei is quick to point out that manufacturers have teams of lawyers that do nothing but fight lemon law claims, and that battling them will be much easier with a lemon law attorney at your side. The good news is that, if your claim is successful, the manufacturer has to pay your attorney fees. That being said, with the help of a lawyer, you can often get a refund, replacement vehicle, or cash settlement without having to go through the entire lemon law process – and get your attorney’s fees covered in the process.

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3 Responses to “Turning Your Virginia Lemon into Lemonade”

  1. Kim Potter
    September 22nd, 2008

    Lemons I’ve had a few of them in my lifetime. The starter goes out all the time. The milage is not what it said it was. It seems like it’s a good truck or car but find out it’s not. There should be a law in every state about this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Andrew Flusche
    September 22nd, 2008

    @Kim – Sergei is the expert on this, but I’m pretty sure every state has some type of lemon law. The real key is what constitutes a lemon.

  3. jmark
    September 30th, 2008

    Lemon law is good safety for car/vehicle buyers. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a federal statute that protects the consumers’ rights at the warranty period.

    Good article.

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