For most people, buying a car, especially a new one, is an exciting time. Whether it’s buying your first car or trading your old car in for a new or used vehicle, it’s usually something that people look forward to getting.
Unfortunately, sometimes a car buyer may find themselves with the car they didn’t want, commonly called a “lemon.” It’s called that because while lemon is a visually attractive fruit, the appearance belies the actual flavor. Biting into a lemon without knowing that it leaves a bad taste, much like finding out your car isn’t a good one.
If you realize that you’ve purchased a lemon car in West Virginia, you do have legal options.
West Virginia’s Lemon Law
West Virginia’s own lemon law is unique in that it covers new and used vehicles under warranty with no mileage limitation for claims. Any vehicle that is purchased and titled in the state of West Virginia can qualify as a lemon car, including pickup trucks and even mobile homes.
The key point is that a vehicle must still be covered under an express warranty to be considered a “lemon car.” Many express warranties for consumer vehicles can be as long as three years. Therefore, the manufacturer will be subject to the provisions of the lemon law for the entire period of the warranty, even if it is longer than one year.
After discovering the defective condition, the buyer must report the problem to the manufacturer during the period of the express warranty, or one year following the date of the original delivery, whichever is longer. The law applies if your vehicle:
• Has a defect that appears or occurs within the first 12 months of purchase and ownership
• Three repair visits to an authorized dealership have still not remedied the problem
• The defect significantly affects your ability to drive it or decreases the vehicle’s actual value.
West Virginia’s lemon law also applies if your vehicle has an area of defect that keeps it in a repair shop for 30 days or longer or has a defect that could cause injury or death and was not repaired after the first attempt. A vehicle that has been out of service or was out of service for at least 30 days (even non-consecutively) for the same problem makes it easier to show that the manufacturer violated West Virginia’s lemon law.
Filing A Claim Under West Virginia’s Lemon Law
The first thing to do is have your vehicle inspected and repaired. Make sure to get a detailed invoice from the service manager that lists all the vehicle’s problems discussed before beginning repairs.
Keep all repair receipts and a listing of all the repairs you do on the vehicle in one place, safely, you’ll be able to show your attempts to repair the car for your claim.
If you are still having the same problem after three repair attempts, the manufacturer may be required to offer you a replacement vehicle under the same warranty.
These records can also support your claim for compensation that resulted from the costs of the excessive repairs due to the defects in the vehicle.
You can also attempt to resolve the problem with either the dealership or the manufacturer yourself. However, West Virginia law does not require the parties to attempt mediation. If you are unable to reach a resolution, the next step is to contact a West Virginia Lemon law attorney for help.
You may be able to recover damages for the cost of the repairs, as well as alternate transportation, such as a taxi, rideshare. or public transport. It’s also possible to recover a full refund for your vehicle’s purchase price, and/or compensation for the diminished value of the vehicle. The defendant pays legal and attorney’s fees for the plaintiff who received the lemon car.
Lemon Law Attorney For Charleston And West Virginia
The Love Law Firm has been helping people in Charleston, WV with Lemon Law cases for more than 20 years.
If you’ve discovered that your new or used vehicle is 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.