If you have purchased a new vehicle in the state of Georgia, and it turns out to have repeated defects, you may be protected under the Georgia Lemon Law. It is important to follow all the steps required in order to benefit from the protection under this law, however.
Here, we offer a brief overview of the Georgia Lemon Law, for all new vehicles purchased or leased or registered in Georgia on or after January 1, 2009. For more complete information, see the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection for the State of Georgia.
Georgia Lemon Law
The purpose of the Georgia Lemon Law is to have the manufacturer of your motor vehicle repair or “fix” any defects. If your vehicle remains unrepaired after a reasonable number of attempts and is determined to be a lemon, the Georgia law requires the manufacturer to replace or buy back (repurchase) the vehicle. The law also serves to alert the manufacturer to any defects or quality problems in the vehicles they produce.
Consumers are protected by the Georgia Lemon Law if they purchased or leased a new motor vehicle for personal, family or household use, or purchased or leased 10 or fewer new motor vehicles per year for business purposes other than limousine rental services.
The Georgia Lemon Law applies only to new vehicles, not used vehicles. The title of the vehicle must still be in the name of the person who originally purchased or leased it and cannot have been previously issued to anyone other than the new motor vehicle dealer.
- Defects covered – The following types of defects are covered under Georgia Lemon Law: any serious safety defect, any other defect or condition that either substantially impairs the use, value or safety to the consumer or renders the new motor vehicle nonconforming to a manufacturer’s warranty. A serious safety defect is a life-threatening defect or one that impedes the consumer’s ability to control or operate the vehicle for ordinary use, or creates the risk of a fire or explosion.
- Defects not covered – Any defect caused as the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modification or alteration of the vehicle is not covered under the Georgia Lemon Law.
- Rights period – Consumers have two years from the date they took delivery of the vehicle or after the first 24,000 miles of use, whichever comes first.
What to Do If You Think You Have a Lemon Vehicle
First, verify that you meet the eligibility requirements as explained in the State of Georgia Lemon Law guide. Then, you must allow the dealer or the manufacturer’s authorized agent a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle during the Lemon Law rights period.
If the defects are still present after you’ve given the dealer and manufacturer a reasonable number of attempts to repair it, you must give the manufacturer one final attempt to repair the vehicle.
If the manufacturer fails to repair the vehicle this final time, and fails to either buy back or replace the vehicle upon your request, you may qualify for a vehicle repurchase or replacement award through a certified informal dispute settlement program, state-operated arbitration, or both.
Bear in mind that you need to keep copies of any correspondence to and from the dealer or manufacturer, as well as a log of any phone conversations you have with them. During the process, you are required to submit written notices, which must be sent via overnight mail or certified mail delivery, return receipt requested. Keep these receipts with your records as proof of delivery. It is also very important that you obtain and keep an itemized repair order from the dealer each time your vehicle goes in for diagnosis and repair. This record serves as your proof of the attempts to repair the vehicle by the dealer.
For the complete steps to follow under the Georgia Lemon Law, click here.