Under the State of New York Lemon Law, consumers who are buyers or lessees of new or certain used cars may seek redress, in the form of a refund or a replacement vehicle, if those cars turn out to be “lemons.” A car is determined to be a lemon if it does not conform to the terms of its written warranty and the manufacturer or its authorized agent, the dealer, is unable to repair the car after a reasonable number of attempts.

Vehicles Covered by the New York Lemon Law

New York Lemon Law covers any new car that was covered by a manufacturer’s warranty at original delivery; and was purchased, leased or transferred within the earlier of 18,000 miles or two years from the date of original delivery; and was either purchased, leased or transferred in New York State or is presently registered in the state; and is used primarily for personal purposes.

In addition, the New York Lemon Law for used cars covers any car that was purchased, leased or transferred after the earlier of 18,000 miles or two years from original delivery; and was purchased or leased from a New York dealer; and had a purchase price or lease value of at least $1,500; and has been driven less than 100,000 miles at the time of purchase/lease; and is used primarily for personal purposes.

The New York Lemon Law for used cars requires that the dealer provide the buyer with a written warranty to cover the following parts: engine, transmission, drive axle, brakes, steering, and other parts (radiator, alternator, generator, and ignition system, but excluding battery).

Obligation to Repair

New York Lemon Law requires that the manufacturer or its agent be given a reasonable chance to repair a vehicle problem. For a new car, this is considered to be four or more attempts to repair and the problem continues to exist, or the car is out of service for repair of one or more problems for a cumulative total of 30 days or more.

For a used car, this is considered to be three or more repair attempts and the problem continues to exist, or the car is out of service for repair for a cumulative total of 15 days or more (although parts availability may extend this time).

Exceptions When Refund or Replacement May Not Be Required of the Manufacturer

The manufacturer will not be required to provide a refund or replacement vehicle to the consumer if the problem does not substantially impair the value of the car to the consumer or the problem is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized alteration of the vehicle.

What To Do If You Become Aware of a Problem with Your Car

If you notice a problem or defect with your car, you should immediately report it either directly to the manufacturer or to the dealer. If you tell the dealer about the problem, under New York Lemon Law the dealer has to forward a written notice to the manufacturer within seven days.

You should also keep careful records of all your vehicle complaints, as well as copies of all work orders, repair bills and correspondence. Should you have any difficulty obtaining repair orders, contact the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles at 518-474-8943.

If you have questions about your rights under New York’s New Car Lemon Law or Used Car Lemon Law, contact the Attorney General’s consumer help line at 800-771-7755.

If you are unable to have your vehicle satisfactorily repaired, despite repeated attempts by the dealer to do so, and the manufacturer does not agree to a refund or replacement vehicle, you may participate in the New York Lemon Law Arbitration Program. Details for filling out the application for Request for Arbitration are available through the New York State Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Fraud Bureau.

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