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.