Monday, September 15, 2008

Turning Your Lemon Into Lemonade

If you’ve ever bought a new car, you know what a rush it is. There’s the new car smell, the feeling of power as you hit the accelerator, and the peace of mind knowing that you’ll have a reliable ride for a long, long time.

But what happens when that new car isn’t so reliable? When you wake up one morning and have to come to terms with the fact that you’ve bought a lemon? offers an overview of Alaska lemon law. The site is run by lemon law attorney Sergei Lemberg.

Sergei notes that every state has a lemon law, but that each of them is different. Under Alaska’s lemon law, some vehicles qualify as lemons and others don’t. If you’ve bought a new vehicle for personal, family, or household use, you’re covered. If you buy an RV, you’re covered. If you buy a motorcycle, you’re covered. If you buy a used car, you’re not covered by the lemon law, but there are regulations about the responsibilities of used car dealers and ways to get a refund or replacement if the dealer violated those regulations.

Now, on to definitions. In order to be considered a “lemon,” your vehicle’s defects have to affect its use, safety, or value. In other words, if it’s something minor, you don’t have a case. According to Sergei, the other catch is that the defects have to start during the first year from the date you take delivery of the vehicle or during the period covered by the manufacturer’s express warranty – whichever comes first. You also need to have taken the vehicle in for repair three times for the same problem or it has to have been out of service for 30 business days for the same problem. Then, you have to notify the manufacturer and give them one final opportunity to repair the vehicle.

Sergei is quick to point out that manufacturers have teams of lawyers that do nothing but fight lemon law claims, and that battling them will be much easier with a lemon law attorney at your side. The good news is that, if your claim is successful, the manufacturer has to pay your attorney fees. That being said, with the help of a lawyer, you can often get a refund, replacement vehicle, or cash settlement without having to go through the entire lemon law process – and get your attorney’s fees covered in the process.