In Virginia, a new car is considered a lemon if the manufacturer fails to repair a nonconformity after three attempts. If the Lemon Law Carmalfunction could be considered life-threatening, the manufacturer has only one attempt to repair the defect. If, after following the procedures set forth in the statute, your car is determined to be a lemon, you will be offered one of two possible remedies.

Repurchase by the Manufacturer

If you opt for repurchase, the manufacturer must repay you the full contract purchase price of the vehicle. In addition, the manufacturer must reimburse you for the following expenses:

  • All collateral charges. On top of the contract price, the manufacturer must repay any additional fees you paid including sales tax, license fees, registration fees, title fees, finance charges and interest, transportation charges, and dealer preparation charges. Also considered in collateral charges are dealer ad-ons including service contracts, undercoating, and rustproofing. Additional recoverable charges for leased vehicles include capitalized cost reductions, credits and allowances for trade-ins, fees to another to obtain the lease, and other costs.
  • Incidental damages. These may include expenses reasonably incurred in inspection, receipt, transportation, and care and custody of the vehicle. Consumers will also be refunded for any commercially reasonable charges or expenses in connection with effecting cover and any other expense related to the breach of warranty.
  • Mileage. Consumers will be refunded for mileage and reasonable loss of use caused by attempts to get the vehicle fixed.  This means if you had to use a substitute vehicle while the lemon has been out of service, then the mileage on the substitue vehicle should be paid and in some limited cases, even rental bills.
  • Use of the vehicle. An allowance will be made for the consumer’s use of the vehicle up until the date of the first notice of nonconformity given to the manufacturer.

Replacement with a New Vehicle

Instead of a monetary refund, a consumer may choose to accept a new vehicle to replace the old one. The vehicle offered must be comparable to the original and must be acceptable to the consumer. The consumer is still entitled to mileage and use of vehicle costs as outlined above. In the case of a leased vehicle, the vehicle must be returned and the lease canceled without penalty to the consumer.

Don’t Go it Alone, Hire the Attorney Who Wrote the Virginia Lemon Law

While Virginia’s Lemon Law seems pretty straightforward, you could miss out on the additional awards to which you are entitled without the help of an experienced Lemon Law attorney. John Gayle of the Consumer Law Group, P.C. helped to write Virginia’s Lemon Law and he can be there to make sure you get what you deserve. Call our office at 804-282-7900 to speak to a member of our intake team.


John Cole Gayle, Jr.
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Consumer Law Pioneer and Co-Author of Virginia's Lemon Law