You needed a car, whether new or pre-owned. Despite doing your research and due diligence, you discover that you’ve actually bought a car that’s an “ auto lemon.”
The car doesn’t operate correctly and attempts to repair it with the dealership and the manufacturer have been unsuccessful. You need this car, but you can’t afford to buy another one to replace this one. Yet you can’t get any help from the manufacturer or the dealership who sold it to you.
What Is A “ Auto Lemon?”
Despite the description, a “lemon car” can be a vehicle of any color that is purchased and titled in the state of West Virginia.
The term “lemon cars” includes:
- Passenger cars
- Pickup trucks
- Passenger vans
- Motor homes
The car can be new or used if it were sold with a warranty. Leased cars are also covered by West Virginia’s “lemon laws.”
The law covers consumers if they purchase a vehicle has a condition:
- That occurs within the first 12 months of purchase and ownership
- Is still not repaired after three repair visits to an authorized dealership
- Significantly decreases the vehicle’s value or your ability to drive it
Additionally, the auto lemon law also applies if your vehicle:
- Spends more than 30 days in a repair shop in the first year, consecutive or not
- Has a defect that could potentially cause injury or death, and wasn’t repaired after the first attempt
The Federal Trade Commission’s Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act also covers consumers if their vehicle has a defect that’s discovered after one year following purchase, but discovered during the warranty period.
Filing Your Claim For A Lemon Car
In order to file, there are a few things you’ll need to do:
- Make an appointment for your vehicle to be inspected and repaired, and get an invoice from them when the appointment is completed. Ensure that the invoice details the problems you discussed with the service manager.
- Make sure to keep all repair receipts and keep a tracking log of every repair you do on the vehicle. One way to keep them all together is to use a 3-ring notebook and keep all of the receipts in individual plastic page protectors. You’ll be able to keep them all in date order along with any notes that go with the repair invoices.
If, after three attempts to repair the defect in your vehicle, you are still having the same problem with the car, the manufacturer may be required to offer you a replacement vehicle that conforms with the same warranty.
With good repair records, you can also bring a claim for compensation due to the problems that cost you considerable repair money as a result of the vehicle’s defects.
You may be able to resolve the problem with the dealership or manufacturer, and under West Virginia law, you are not required to go through mediation. However, if you are unable to get help, then working with an experienced West Virginia lemon law lawyer may be your next step.
What Kind Of Damages Can I Recover?
Recovery under West Virginia’s “Auto Lemon Law” statute can include:
- A refund for your vehicle’s purchase price, including registration fee, and sales tax
- Financial compensation for the diminished value of the vehicle
- The cost of repairs, if the car can be repaired
- Alternative transportation expenses:
- Taxicab fare
- Rideshare fees (i.e., Uber or Lyft)
- Public transportation tickets
- Inconvenience to you
- Attorney and legal fees
Because the payments for the attorney and legal fees are paid by the defendant, it evens the playing field for consumers who purchase a “lemon.”
Lemon Law Attorney For Charleston And West Virginia
The Love Law Firm has been helping people in Charleston, WV with Auto Lemon Law cases for more than 20 years.
If you’ve unintentionally purchased a lemon car, contact us at The Love Law Firm, or call us at (304) 344 5683. You may be entitled to compensation. Our consultation is always free, and we only collect if we win your case.