Alabama Lemon Law Basics

Many new vehicles have significant problems. If these problems affect the use, market value or safety of the vehicle, the consumer may have an action under Alabama’s Lemon Law.  Lemon laws were enacted to offer consumers a clear recourse when faced with the unfortunate situation of a faulty vehicle and the financial struggle that such a vehicle may cause.

Alabama’s Lemon Law extends to self-propelled vehicles intended primarily for use and operation on the public highways.  The Lemon Law does not apply to motor homes or any motor vehicle having a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more.  The Lemon Law claim must be made by certified mail and within one year after the date of delivery of the vehicle to a consumer or within the first 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.  Additionally the claim should describe the vehicle, state the problem and describe all previous attempts to correct the problem by identifying the person, firm or corporation making such an attempt, and when the attempt was made.

Once a claim is made, the manufacturer of the vehicle must have an opportunity to make repairs to the vehicle.   If, after reasonable attempts (defined in Alabama as three or more attempts), the manufacturer is unable to repair the issue, the consumer may be entitled to either a new vehicle or money damages, which may include the full price of the vehicle, any and all taxes and additional charges associated with the purchase of the vehicle, as well as finance charges incurred by the consumer after he or she first reported the issue to the manufacturer.

In addition to the above, the customer must also follow the manufacturer’s internal dispute resolution procedure. Under Alabama law, the dealership is not responsible for lemon cars.  Rather, manufacturers bear the responsibility for defective vehicles.  Before beginning this process, it would be advisable to consult an attorney to ensure that your claim complies fully with Alabama law.  Additionally, consumers may wish to file a complaint with Alabama’ s Office of the Attorney General Consumer Affairs department.  Finally, in you believe your vehicle may be a lemon, make sure to save all records and receipts relating to your purchase and repairs and document all phone calls and other communications relating to the resolution of your claim.   Additional information regarding Alabama Lemon Laws can be found in the Alabama vehicle code or the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

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