The Virginia Lemon Law Summary:
- Under the Virginia Lemon Law, a "Lemon" is a vehicle that has a problem that "significantly impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle" to you and which the dealer has not corrected within a reasonable number of repair attempts.
- A vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, or moped used "substantially" for personal, household, or family purposes) can be a "lemon" if it meets one of the following criteria within 18 months of the manufacturer's limited warranty going into affect with the first owner:
1. If the same "significant" problem is worked on 3 times (i.e. you have three repair orders) and the problem still exists after that, then it's a lemon. Or,
2. If you have a life-threatening defect that affects the drive-ability of the vehicle, and it still exists after one repair attempt, then you have a lemon. Or,
3. If the vehicle has been in the shop 30 or more calender days for ANY problem or defect, and there is still something legitimately wrong with the car, then it's a lemon.
- If the dealer has not fixed the problem(s) you must then notify the manufacturer about these problems IN WRITING. (Do not notify the manufacturer by e-mail, fax or by phone, and preferably notify them by certified mail.) Send a Certified/Return Receipt requested letter to the manufacturer. Make a copy of your letter for your records (SEE Sample Letter to Put the Manufacturer on Notice). Please include the following information:
1. Identify the vehicle - year, make, model, VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).
2. List the dates you have taken it back and for what problems, and that you want the problems corrected once and for all.
3. Include a copy (you keep the originals) of each repair order.
4. Request a buyback under the Virginia Lemon Law if they are unable to fix the problems.
5. Keep a signed copy of the letter.
6. Send the letter Certified/Return Receipt. The manufacturer has 15 days from their date of receipt to make a final repair. The date will be stamped on the green card when you receive it back from the Post Office. If the manufacturer does not contact you to schedule a repair within the 15 days, wait out the 15 days and then call The Consumer Law Group at 804-282-7900. If the manufacturer contacts you, makes a final repair attempt, and the problem returns, the call The Consumer Law Group at 804-282-7900. If the manufacturer offers to buyback or to replace the vehicle, call The Consumer Law Group at 804-282-7900 to make sure the manufacturer is paying you what you are entitled under the Virginia Lemon Law.
7. Keep the green certified return receipt car, where the recipient signed for the letter and dated it, with a copy of your letter.
- A Virginia Lemon Law lawsuit must be filed within 18 months of the warranty first going into effect with the first owner of the vehicle. However, if you have filed for arbitration prior to this 18-month period expiring, then your deadline to file suit is extended by 12 months from the date of any decision by the arbitrator.