A common phrase you may encounter when going through the process of dealing with a lemon car, truck or SUV is “a reasonable number of repair attempts.” This is a highly subjective phrase that can pose a risk for setbacks when filing a lemon law claim. Consumers should be aware of the potential problems surrounding this phrase and how to be prepared.
State Lemon Laws
Consumer Protection Laws (so-called “Lemon Laws”) vary from state to state in some aspects, but they pretty much all use the same language. One of the most common phrases you will encounter concerns how to determine if your car, truck or SUV qualifies as a lemon under the law. This is the phrase in question: “a reasonable number of repair attempts.”
Virtually no state specifies a number of repair attempts that must be allowed by the dealer before your vehicle is declared a lemon. This is because some problems may require more than a few attempts to make repairs. For example, the root problem may be discovered on the second repair attempt, but two more visits to the dealer may be needed to make the actual repairs. If the law specified only three attempts were allowed, your vehicle could be declared a lemon when the problem has actually been solved.
Therefore, this somewhat ambiguous wording is included to accommodate all sorts of repair scenarios across all vehicle makes and models, as well as innumerable problems.
What is Reasonable?
The pitfall lies in answering the question, “What is reasonable?” The law is not clear on who defines what is reasonable. For example, am impatient consumer who is fed up with the whole process can decide that three tries to make repairs without success is reasonable. The dealer or can manufacturer, however, may think seven or eight attempts is reasonable.
Attorneys specialize in using obscure or unclear wording in laws to argue fine points and delay proceedings, especially when such delays are in their client’s favor. Consequently, the number of repair attempts you allow before filing a Lemon Law claim in your state could cause headaches and possible delays.
Prepare to Be Patient
How should consumers be prepared for this possibility? The best answer is to be patient. Allow an authorized dealer as many attempts to make repairs as they will agree to perform. When they declare there is nothing more they can do, get that in writing, obtain a complete record of all their repair attempts and partner with a Lemon Law Attorney near you in your state to file a Lemon Law claim.
The fact that you willingly allowed the dealer to try to make repairs as many times as they wanted will go far to satisfying the requirement of “reasonable number of repair attempts.” This is especially true if they refuse to try any more.
Do you think you have a lemon? Find out for sure! Take the quick 7-question online assessment at Lemon Larry – we can see if your vehicle qualifies and connect you with a skilled Lemon Law Claims Attorney near you in your state who can help.