Virginia’s lemon law is very clear about the time limits for filing a claim. Before the manufacturer’s warranty expires, you must notify the manufacturer or authorized dealer of the problem you are having with the vehicle and they have several chances to repair it. If it is not repaired to your satisfaction after a reasonable number of attempts, you have 18 months from the date you took possession of the vehicle to take legal action by filing a lemon law claim. The one exception to this deadline is if you have chosen to try to resolve the issue through an informal dispute resolution process in which case the dealine is 1 year from the date of the decision in the arbitration.
What Is Informal Dispute Resolution?
Rather than filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer, you may choose to take advantage of an informal dispute resolution program offered by the manufacturer or by the Better Business Bureau’s Auto Line program. These arbitration programs are free and are non-binding to the consumer, but binding to the manufacturer, which means that if you don’t like the outcome of arbitration, you can still file suit, but the manufacturer must adhere to the decision of the arbitrator. There really is no reason not to try arbitration before contacting an attorney and filing suit. In general, the Auto Line program tends to offer a resolution quicker than manufacturers’ programs, but either program is a good place to start.
Extension of the 18-Month Deadline
You must begin arbitration within the 18-month time period stipulated in the lemon law statute, but once you have begun the process, you get an extension of 1 year from the date of the decision in your arbitration. In other words, if you are not happy with the outcome of arbitration, you may still file a lawsuit, even if the 18 months are up. This is another reason it is worth trying arbitration. You may be able to get a replacement vehicle or a refund of your money without the time and effort of a lawsuit, but if you do not get what you feel you deserve, you can still pursue legal action.
If Arbitration Doesn’t Work, Call Us
If you have tried the Auto Line program or a manufacturer’s program and did not get the finding you had hoped for, call The Consumer Law Group, P.C. to discuss your case. While you may not have to worry so much about a deadline, we still encourage you to act quickly for the best outcome.