The Alaska lemon law exists in order to protect consumers from faulty, unrepairable vehicles and the financial responsibility that is associated with them. The word “lemon” is used to describe a vehicle that has repeated mechanical failings, and has been found defective beyond repair. While these vehicles are rare, it is important to understand your options if you have purchased a lemon.

Unfortunately, a used car lemon law does not exist in Alaska, as the current law only extends to vehicles that are new. However, depending on the circumstances, a warranty or the federal law may apply to a used vehicle that turns out to be a lemon. It is recommended that you consider a lemon law attorney, as this form of attorney specializes in these matters, fully understands the law and can provide numerous benefits, especially if the manufacturer is giving you any pushback.

What is the Lemon Law in Alaska?

The Alaska car lemon law is enacted to protect consumers who purchase new vehicles that turn out to be lemons. By the lemon law definition, a lemon is a vehicle that is defective, beyond repair, with mechanical failings that are substantial, affecting initiation, use or safety. The law protects consumers from having to bare the financial responsibility of the faulty vehicle that was purchased. Therefore, it is important to learn more about the law in Alaska, as this law differs between states. In Alaska, the law was set into motion in order to:

  • Provide protection to buyers of new motor vehicles.
  • Encourage a stronger economic incentive to both manufacturers and dealerships to deliver a vehicle that is free from defects, as well as encourage problems that do develop to be fixed accurately and quickly.
  • Encourage a vehicle manufacturer to establish a third-party arbitration program.
  • Provide a clear understanding of the responsibilities of the manufacturer, dealership and owner.

In Alaska, car lemon laws will only cover vehicles that are declared as lemons and meet the law’s criteria within the first year from the vehicle’s purchase. Therefore, the vehicle must be new in order to qualify for the law. The law requires that vehicle manufacturers are provided with three attempts to repair the vehicle, and that the mechanical failing is related to the same persistent problem. Therefore, it becomes your responsibility to report any problems with your vehicle immediately, and allow the manufacturer to repair the vehicle.

The Alaska lemon law buyback option refers to one of two options that you will have if your vehicle has been declared a lemon – if the manufacturer has been unable to repair the vehicle in the three allotted attempts, and if your vehicle is covered under the law. Should you choose the buyback option, the manufacturer would be required to refund your money for the vehicle, including the initial price, tax and vehicle registration fees, transfer fees and other relevant expenses. However, when dealing with cars and lemon laws, the manufacturer does have the right to deduct a refund amount for the use of the vehicle, as well as any depreciation – if the vehicle has been abused or neglected in any way. Alternatively, you can, instead, choose for the manufacturer to replace the faulty vehicle with a working one that is comparable to the vehicle you currently possess.

Does the Alaska Lemon Law apply to used cars?

While some states include a minimum of a 30 day lemon law on used cars, Alaska is not one of them. In fact, Alaska does not extend this law in any way to used cars, as a vehicle must be less than 1 year old in order to qualify for protection under the law. In some cases, a federal lemon law, known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, may be applicable, if you have a warranty for your used vehicle, but whether or not coverage would be provided would depend on the circumstances surrounding the vehicle. This law prevents dealerships from writing unfair warranties on the vehicles that are sold. If you do not have a warranty, this law will not apply to your used vehicle, either.

How does the Lemon Law work in Alaska?

The Alaska new car lemon law will provide consumers with protection on the purchase of a new vehicle for a one-year period, rather than going off of a mileage amount. One of the most important things that you can do throughout this process is keep a detailed record of the problems that occur with your record, the repairs that are completed on the vehicle, the amount of time that the vehicle remains in the possession of the manufacturer for repairs and any contact between you and the manufacturer.

Furthermore, it is important to understand that used car laws are not enacted within the state, and that vehicles are only protected by this law within the first year of a vehicle’s purchase. The law does not protect lessees of a vehicle, and the mechanical failing must be severe or affect safety in some way. Therefore, small problems, such as a defective radio, a broken cup holder and other minors defects, will not apply.

To be protected by the state lemon law, you must inform the manufacturer immediately if you experience any problems with your vehicle within that first year. The manufacturer must either be provided with three attempts to fix the same problem or possess your vehicle for a total of 30 days, which do not have to be consecutive. After this point, the vehicle will be considered a lemon. If your vehicle has been considered a lemon, you will be required to provide the manufacturer and dealership with a written notice that includes:

  • Information on how the vehicle has a nonconformity.
  • A description of the nonconformity that has not been successfully repaired.
  • The amount of times and dates that the manufacturer, dealership or applicable repairing agent has been unable to resolve the mechanical failings of the vehicle.
  • A demand that you are either refunded or that the vehicle is replaced within 60 days of the written notice.

At this point, the Alaska lemon policy will permit the manufacturer one final attempt to repair the vehicle. This attempt must be completed within 30 days of receiving your notice. If a repair is not attempted or not successful, the manufacturer must replace or refund your vehicle.

Alaska Lemon Law Lawyers

It is important to consider an Alaska lemon law attorney if your vehicle has been declared a lemon, and you are attempting to have the manufacturer replace or refund the vehicle. While not required, having a lawyer that specializes in cases such as yours can provide numerous benefits, which include:

  • Legal representation if the manufacturer refuses to replace or refund the vehicle, and the case goes to court.
  • Ensuring that you receive the compensation from the manufacturer that the Alaska law requires.
  • Helping you gather and submit any documentation, as it becomes necessary.
  • Communicating with the manufacturer on your behalf, which can sometimes speed the process along.

It is strongly recommended that you hire a lemon law attorney if the case does go to court, even if you have previously handled all of the proceedings on your own.

Additional New and Used Car Laws in Alaska

You may be protected under a lemon law warranty through the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. As stated previously, this law is set in place by the federal government and prevents dealerships from writing unfair warranties, as well as warranties that cannot be enforced. If you are considering purchasing a warranty from a dealership, it is important to learn more about this federal law.

How to Tell if Your New Car is a Lemon in Alaska

Whether or not the Alaska lemon car law will apply to your vehicle, it is important to be able to determine whether or not your vehicle may be a lemon. If your vehicle is experiencing serious mechanical failings that have not been proven to be repairable, even after three or more attempts, then the vehicle is likely a lemon. Lemon vehicles are rare, but they do happen. Due to the state lemon law, if you intend to purchase a used car, it is especially important to decrease your likelihood of purchasing a lemon.

If you are considering purchasing a used car, make sure you request the vehicle’s history report, and consider having a licensed mechanic review the vehicle for any foreseen problems. While this may cost you an additional fee up front, you may find that it is well-worth avoiding hefty repair costs, later.

Last updated on Friday, November 9 2018.

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