If your brand new vehicle has a major problem that is not getting fixed it may be considered a lemon. In Ohio, vehicles that are under a year old or new vehicles with an odometer that reads less than 18,000 miles are considered a lemon if they have an unrepairable issue...
Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. filed a lawsuit against a car dealership for allegedly selling a car with a different engine to our client without telling him. The dealership allegedly lied about the warranty the car was under too.
Do you know your rights with Vehicle Recalls?
Inspecting for motor vehicle safety defects and recalls help get unsafe vehicles off the road and repaired. The lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can help vehicle owners who are not informed about a vehicle recall and suffer an injury from a mechanical flaw.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) inspects vehicles with suspected unsafe mechanics. The NHTSA identifies the duties for manufacturers involved in a recall and the rights of vehicle owners. Motor vehicle safety is a key factor in reducing auto accidents and saving lives.
Manufacturers can voluntarily recall vehicles before the NHTSA investigates a reported problem. Manufacturers are required to notify all registered owners and buyers about a safety defect and recall by first class mail. The recall must include risks associated with the safety defect and owners right to a repair, replace, or refund.
Manufacturers get to choose whether a repair, replacement, or refund is appropriate for the recall. Repairs are done for free and at no charge for the vehicle owner. If replacing, the owner should receive the same vehicle or a similar vehicle. If entitled to a refund the owner is eligible to the purchase price minus a reasonable wear and tear charge.
Vehicle owners do not have the right to a free repair or refund from the manufacturer if the vehicle is over ten years old at the time of the recall. The age is determined from the date the owner purchased the vehicle. Vehicle owners should still have the recalled safety defect inspected and fixed if their vehicle is too old for a repair and refund.
Tire recalls must be repaired or replaced by tire manufacturers within 60 days owners receive a recall notification. The manufacturers are only required to repair and replace tires that are under five years old. Consumers have to report to a tire dealer to receive services for a tire recall.
Vehicle owners can report a vehicle safety complaint online by clicking here or by calling the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236. To read more about vehicle owner rights with recalls under the NHTSA click here.
The Ohio Lemon Laws protect consumers purchasing new automobiles and dealing with auto repairs. A new vehicle with one or more serious issues is considered a “lemon”. Consumers purchasing used vehicles are protecteded under other consumer litigation laws.
In Ohio new vehicles are protected under the lemon laws for the first 12 months a consumer owns the vehicle or the first 18,000 miles the vehicle is driven. Whichever comes first ends the consumer’s protection period according to the lemon laws, although a consumer may sue years later as long as the issue was raised within this period. During this time the consumer has to ask a manufacturer to fix a problem before turning the issue into a legal matter. If the problem is considered a manufacturer error and cannot be fixed by the manufacturer within a reasonable time period, then the consumer might have the possibility to receive a refund or replacement. The manufacturer must provide a warranty that protects the lemon laws when the consumer is purchasing a new vehicle.
There are several situations that can determine whether a manufacturer has had a reasonable opportunity to fix a vehicle under the lemon laws. Manufacturers may be allowed at least three or more attempts to repair one problem and at least one attempt to repair a life-threatening problem. A vehicle that has been in a repair shop being fixed by a manufacturer for 30 days or had eight different problems repaired during the consumer protection period, is considered reasonable opportunity. After one of these scenarios has taken place, a consumer may request a replacement vehicle or refund.
A consumer choosing to receive a refund is entitled to a full refund of the purchase price. That price includes the entire amount paid on the new vehicle, transportation costs, and charges for the manufacturer services. Taxes, registration fees, license fees, warranty charges, and costs for credit insurance and financing is also included in the refund.
Consumers purchasing used vehicles are not protected by the Ohio Lemon Laws. Used vehicle dealerships cannot misrepresent the functionality of the vehicle when making a sale. If the vehicle was a previous lemon that was returned, then the dealership must notify the consumer. The dealership must also notify a consumer of the price, interest rates, mileage and previous sales history of the vehicle. Consumers also have the right to know if the vehicle was a rental or a salvage title. A salvage title has information stating whether the vehicle has been damaged in the past or considered a loss by a previous insurance company.
What you, as the Consumer, should know about vehicle repairs
Whether you have had to get your car fixed for minor issues, or needed a complete auto-repair, you have rights according to Ohio Law. The Ohio Administrative Code provides certain protections to consumers when it comes to getting their car serviced or repaired. The following are just some of the requirements under the code:
- Once you meet with the servicer in person, they must provide you with a form which indicates: (a) the date; (b) identity of the supplier; (c) your name and telephone number; (d) the reasonable anticipated completion date; and (e) if you requested, the anticipated cost of the repair or service. The form must also contain the following language:
- Estimate: You have the right to an estimate if the expected costs of repairs or services will be more than fifty dollars. Initial your choice:
____ written estimate
____ oral estimate
____ no estimate
- If you request a written or oral estimate, the servicer must provide you with the estimate before starting service or repair
- Your bill will not be higher than the estimate by more than 10% unless you approve a larger amount before repairs are finished.
- The servicer must obtain oral or written authorization from the consumer for the anticipated cost of any additional, unforeseen, but necessary repairs or services when the total cost of the repairs or services, if performed, will exceed fifty dollars.
- The servicer cannot represent that repairs or services are necessary if they are not.
- The servicer cannot fail to disclose to you prior to starting any service or repair, that any part of the repair or service will be performed by a person other than the services or his employees, if the servicer disclaims any warranty of the repair or service performed by that person. The servicer must also disclose the nature of the repair or service which that person will perform, and if requested by the consumer, the identity of that person.
Ohio courts have found that when a supplier has engaged in an act or practice declared to be deceptive by the code, the consumer has a choice of remedies, including rescinding the transaction, or recovering three times the amount of the consumer’s actual damages. In Grieselding v. Krischak, the Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit, affirmed the trial court’s award of $1612 in treble damages, plus interest and attorneys’ fees stemming from a mechanic’s failure to notify the consumer of repairs beyond the stated estimate.
These are just some of your rights as a consumer, among many. For more information see: O.A.C. 109:4-3-13, or call Doucet & Associates Co. LPA at (614) 944-5219.
What Counts as a Lemon Car in Ohio?
Most of us know the term “lemon” refers to a newly bought car that turns out to be a dud, but some are unaware that many states have laws in place to protect against such lemon sales. A new car is worth a lot of money, and many people take out loans in order to pay for one. The prospect of bringing a new car home only to find that it is defective beyond use is terrifying. Luckily, Ohio is a state that has one of these lemon laws in place.
The State of Ohio’s Lemon Law legally defines a “lemon” as a new car with at least one problem that substantially impairs the use, safety or value of the vehicle and begins to suffer from the problem within the first year or 18,000 miles (whichever comes first). Under the Ohio Lemon Law, you must give the manufacturer a chance to repair the vehicle. If during the course of the repairs your manufacturer:
- Works on the same problem in more than three separate instances in the first year or 18,000 miles.
- Works on the vehicle for more than a cumulative thirty days in the first year or 18,000 miles.
- Works on the same car in more than eight separate instances.
- Cannot fix any errors that can result in death or serious injury on the first attempt.
Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. recently handled a lemon law case for a client who bought a new vehicle, and almost immediately experienced issues with the gear shift. Additionally, she claimed the car would wobble when accelerating at low speeds. If these allegations proved true, the car would likely satisfy the conditions of a lemon under Ohio law, as these problems inhibited the usability of the vehicle.
She took the car to the dealership on four separate occasions hoping to fix the issues. However, the dealership was unable to permanently correct the problems with the vehicle. Doucet & Associates ultimately obtained justice for the client by securing the return and getting her a refund plus attorney fees. If you feel you may have a lemon on your hands and you have already made the necessary attempts to get the vehicle fixed, call Doucet & Associates at (614) 944-5219.