'Lemon Law' protects you

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What can you do if a new car or pickup that you purchased or leased turns out to be a "lemon" - a vehicle with a defect or problem that just can't be fixed?

Well, Iowa's motor vehicle "Lemon Law" may give you the option of obtaining a refund or replacement vehicle.

Iowa's Lemon Law covers a motor vehicle that is still within its "Lemon Law Rights Period." That is, the first 24,000 miles or 24 months of use since the first buyer took delivery of the vehicle, whichever expires first. At the time you buy or lease a new vehicle, manufacturers are required to notify you in writing of your Lemon Law rights and of the address and phone number where you can file a claim with the manufacturer.

Get paperwork each time you take your new vehicle in for repairs. The Lemon Law requires manufacturers or dealers to give you a fully-itemized statement of any diagnosis made and all work performed on the vehicle each time you take it to the repair shop. And, if you ask, they also must give you a copy of any manufacturer's service bulletins on that year and model vehicle.

Keep a log of all repairs, listing any problems and the dates and times of all repairs.

Your vehicle may qualify for replacement or refund if any of the following apply:

*It was in for repairs three or more times during the Lemon Law Rights Period for the same problem, and is still not fixed.

*It was in for repairs just one time for a problem that, if not fixed, could cause substantial bodily injury or death, and the problem is not fixed.

*It was out of service for 20 or more days in total, for any number of reasons, and still malfunctions. (The 20 days need not be consecutive.)

If you think you have purchased or leased a "lemon," contact the Iowa Attorney General's Office for a Lemon Law information packet (also available on the Attorney General's web site.

For more information, go to www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.org and click on "Protecting Consumers," and then click on "Lemon Law." Or call, 515-281-5926 and ask for Lemon Law information.

Don't be squeezed by a lemon. Know your rights protected under Iowa's Lemon Law and use them if you're ever victimized by a defective new vehicle.