Automobile Recall SignThere is understandably some confusion about when a defect in a new car warrants a Lemon Law claim. Many people assume that if the manufacturer is admitting to a defect through a recall, there must be cause for a Lemon Law claim. However, this is rarely the case. To understand why, we need to explain the difference between a safety recall and Virginia’s Lemon Law. The two consumer safety protections apply to different issues related to new cars.

Lemon Laws Apply to a Single Vehicle

When you buy a new car, you expect it to be perfect. Now and then, new cars have kinks to work out which the dealership should repair at no cost to you under the car’s warranty. However, when you have to take the car back to the dealership several times in the first 18 months to fix the same problem, you may have a claim under Virginia’s Lemon Law entitling you to compensation in the form of a refund of your purchase price or a new car of comparable value. If the problem with the car is an immediate threat to your safety, the dealership has one opportunity to fix it before the Lemon Law kicks in. In general, Lemon Law defects are the result of an error in the manufacturing of a single car.

Safety Recalls Apply to All Cars

When poor design or a defective component affects the safety of an entire line of cars, the automaker is required to repair the defect in all of those cars at no cost to the owner. They do this by issuing a recall of all affected vehicles. Owners receive a notice by mail that they must take the car into the dealership for the free repair. Since these defects are generally repaired in a single attempt, they may not qualify for a Lemon Law claim.

Are You Entitled to a Loaner Vehicle While your Car is Being Fixed for a Saftey Recall?

No, many manufactureres may offer this while your car is being repaired, however, they are not required to do so. 


What If the Dealer Doesn’t Fix the Problem?

If the recall applies to a non-safety related issue, the dealer will still have several attempts to get it fixed before you can file a Lemon Law claim. However, if it is a safety concern and it is not repaired under the recall, you may have a Lemon Law claim if you have had the car for less than a year and a half. If you find yourself in this situation, give the Lemon Law attorneys at the Consumer Law Group a call. We will discuss your situation with you and let you know if you have a possible claim.