Alabama Lemon Law
The Alabama lemon law is designed to protect buyers from defective motor vehicles. Under this law, the manufacturer of the vehicle may have to refund a buyer or pay for the repairs of the vehicle, so long as the vehicle and mechanical issues meet certain requirements.
Unfortunately, there is no used car lemon law in Alabama, and the standard law rarely extends to used vehicles. Therefore, it is important to learn more about the law in an effort to determine whether or not a car you are considering – or have already purchased – is covered beneath the law.
A lemon law attorney can provide numerous benefits to your case, especially if you are having difficulties with the manufacturer or the process that must be followed for a refund or repair. This type of lawyer can provide you with guidance throughout the process, and negotiate with the manufacturer, directly.
What is the Lemon Law in Alabama?
The Alabama lemon law exists to protect consumers from experiencing financial struggle due to a vehicle’s mechanical failings. The law covers vehicles that meet eligibility requirements, do not weigh over 10,000 pounds and are not considered mobile homes.
As part of this law, a “lemon” is a vehicle that turns out to have manufacturer defects that may affect the ability to operate the vehicle, its safety and its value. Lemons are defective beyond repair. The Alabama car lemon law may apply to your new vehicle if:
- Your vehicle is currently 2 years old or less.
- Your vehicle has no more than 24,000 miles.
- You have attempted to repair the mechanical issue through a manufacturer, a manufacturer agent or an authorized dealer at least three times for the same mechanical failing.
- Your vehicle has been out of service for at least 30 days, and is in the possession of the authorized dealer, the manufacturer or the manufacturer agent.
By the lemon law definition, Alabama dealerships are not held responsible for any mechanical failings that you experience from a vehicle that has been purchased. Instead, the state of Alabama holds the manufacturer responsible, and so all proceedings related to this law must go through that manufacturer, not the dealership.
Generally, one of two things may ultimately happen if your vehicle does qualify beneath this law. The first is a lemon law buyback, where the manufacturer will buy the vehicle back from you and refund your original full-contract price, sales tax, vehicle title and registration fees and any other finance charges you may have incurred with the vehicle in your possession.
The second option is a replacement, in which the manufacturer will provide you with a new, comparable car, in exchange for the defective one. Whether you would like a replacement or a refund will fall on you to decide, as it is not a choice that the manufacturer is allowed to make for you.
Does the Alabama Lemon Law apply to used cars?
While some states offer at least a 30 day lemon laws on used cars, that is not the case within the state of Alabama. Unfortunately, in most cases, this law will not apply if you are buying a used car. In fact, many used cars are considered “as is,” which means that they do not possess any type of guarantee or warranty.
However, if you purchase a warranty with the dealership when you purchase the car, the dealership may than be obligated to offer repairs.
In some cases, a federal lemon law may apply to your vehicle. This law is also referred to as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which you may qualify for if you purchase a car that has repeatedly failed to live up to its expected performance and quality standards. Since used car laws related to lemons are not enacted in Alabama, you may still be able to find coverage through federal laws.
How does the Lemon Law Work in Alabama?
To file for the new car lemon law in Alabama, the manufacturer, authorized dealer or manufacturer agent must attempt to repair the vehicle at least three times, or the vehicle must be out of service and in the custody of one of these agencies for the purpose of repairs for at least a cumulative total of 30 days.
However, that 30-day period may be extended if certain conditions can be applied, such as fire, flood or natural disaster. It is crucial that, during this entire process, you keep detailed records of the repairs, problems with the vehicles and contacts with the vehicle’s manufacturer or agent.
The Alabama lemon law can be utilized after one of the above criteria has been met, and you have provided the manufacturer with a notice of nonconforming condition through certified mail, as well as demanded the correction or repair of the vehicle’s condition. This step must be completed before you can commence a civil action lawsuit.
The manufacture is required to respond to your notice within seven calendar days. At this point, the manufacturer is allowed one final attempt to repair the vehicle. Once the manufacturer is in possession of the faulty vehicle, it must attempt to correct the mechanical failing of the vehicle within 14 days.
It is important to be aware of state lemon law statute of limitations, as any lawsuit or action that is taken against a manufacturer must take place within the three-year period following the delivery of the vehicle from the manufacturer to the customer, after making a new car purchase.
After the lemon law process has begun, you may also file a complaint with the Alabama’s Office of the Attorney General Consumer Affairs. This complaint can be filed either by mail or online, and it is important that you provide receipts for the purchase of the vehicle, in addition to the repairs, as well as any other documentation that you have regarding your case.
As stated previously, it is very important that you keep accurate and thorough records throughout the entire process.
Alabama Lemon Law Lawyers
If you have a lemon law warranty, you may benefit from hiring an attorney that specializes in cases such as yours. A lemon law attorney can provide numerous benefits, often expedite a process with a manufacturer and provide you with guidance throughout the entire process.
It is strongly recommended that you seek legal counsel if you begin to experience pushback from a manufacturer, or if your case does not seem to be going anywhere, especially if you are nearing the statute of limitations. Further benefits of a lemon law attorney include that:
- An attorney will be able to provide you with more information regarding your options and your entitlements.
- An attorney has the ability to negotiate with the manufacturer and attempt to expedite the process.
- An attorney can gather necessary documentation on your behalf.
How to Tell if Your New Car is a Lemon in Alabama
Regardless of whether or not a lemon law in Alabama can be applied to a situation, it is important to learn more about lemon cars in order to understand whether or not a certain vehicle may be a lemon.
As mentioned previously, a lemon is a vehicle that has severe manufacturer defects, which cannot be repaired. Mechanical failures are persistent, even after a repair has been completed on the vehicle.
Without used car laws in Alabama, it is especially important that you make every attempt to avoid a lemon vehicle. If you are considering the purchase of a used vehicle, it is worth considering taking the vehicle to an experienced mechanic for a thorough inspection before you buy.
While you will have to pay for the mechanic, doing so can help you to avoid lengthy repairs and costs down the road. While lemon law cars are rare in general, some vehicles do tend to have more lemon-related complaints than other vehicles, including the following models:
- 2011 Chevrolet Cruze
- GMC Acadia
- 2016 Chevrolet Silverado
- 2015 Dodge Challenger
- 2008 to 2013 Ford Focus
- 2008 to 2013 Ford Escape
- Jeep Wrangler
- Jeep Cherokee