Maryland Lemon Law
The Maryland lemon law provides protection for consumers when they purchase a vehicle that is defective beyond repair. Maryland has both new and used car lemon law statutes.
However, the MD lemon law definition requires certain conditions be met for a car to qualify for protection under this law.
Ideally, once a buyer realizes he or she has purchased a lemon, the seller obliges the consumer’s request to refund the cost of the vehicle, or replace the vehicle, altogether.
However, sellers are not always willing to reimburse new and used car lemon law compensations to buyers. In some cases, buyers decide to hire legal counsel. While this is not always necessary, in some cases, having representation can be beneficial to buyers.
What is the Lemon Law in Maryland?
The defective car lemon law in Maryland provides protection for consumers who purchased a new car, motorcycle or light truck from a dealership that has serious, repeated mechanical issues.
The protection is only legally binding for two years from the date of purchase of new or leased vehicles that are registered in Maryland.
While there is not a federal lemon law per se, under Maryland’s state lemon law, a vehicle is protected if its odometer reads no more than 18,000 miles.
There are three situations in which the Maryland New car lemon law requires the manufacturer to repurchase or replace a vehicle. The conditions of each of these situations include:
- The same repair has been attempted four or more times within the 24-month or 18,000-mile lemon law warranty
- The vehicle owner was unable to use the vehicle for 30 or more days within the 24-month or 18,000-mile warranty period, due to the same issue.
- The vehicle has a problem with the brake system or the steering system, and has been repaired one or more times within the 24-month or 18,000-mile warranty period, but still cannot pass Maryland’s safety standards inspection testing.
Does the Maryland Lemon Law apply to used cars?
A lemon law buyback in Maryland covers used cars, as well as new cars. When applied to used car laws, this allows consumers to return a vehicle to a dealer or manufacturer.
Unlike other states that offer a 30 day lemon law used cars and new cars can be returned within 60 days of purchase under Maryland’s statute.
A buyback is essentially an agreement between the dealer and the buyer in which the dealer agrees to repurchase the vehicle from the consumer.
How does the Lemon Law work in Maryland?
If your car meets all the required conditions of the Maryland state lemon law, you are entitled to a manufacturer replacement or refund of the full purchase price.
A buyback includes an allowance for use of the car, but this is not to exceed 15 percent of the original price paid for the vehicle. Once you have declared your vehicle a lemon in accordance with the MD car lemon law protocol, notify the manufacturer immediately.
Send a certified letter requesting return receipt. You must also send a copy of this letter to the Consumer Protection Division with a complaint form. The manufacturer has 30 days to answer and fix the issue, and may authorize the dealership to handle the repair.
If the problem is not resolved within 30 days, you are entitled to a replacement or refund from the manufacturer.
Maryland Lemon Law Lawyers
You may need to hire a Maryland lemon law attorney if you decide to take your case to arbitration. If the manufacturer refuses a lemon law buyback or replacement, the company may offer you arbitration.
You are not required to go into arbitration if you do not want to. However, if the arbitration does not go your way, you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. In this case, a MD lemon law lawyer would be necessary, because your case would be heard in front of a judge.
There is a statute of limitations for new car lemon law lawsuits that requires you file suit within three years of the date of original purchase of your vehicle.
Additional New and Used Car Laws in Maryland
Even after your lemon law warranty expires, the manufacturer will pay for repairs of certain parts that are known to have a high failure rate. Maryland law requires the manufacturer to notify consumers of these types of repairs.
Furthermore, if you pay for one of these repairs, you can seek a reimbursement for the cost of repair from the manufacturer.
How to Tell if Your New Car is a Lemon in Maryland
Under the Maryland lemon law, cars, light trucks and motorcycles registered in Maryland that have been owned for less than two years and driven less than 18,000 miles are protected.
Even if you are not the original owner of a vehicle, if it is still within this lemon law warranty period, it is still covered under these laws.
MD lemon law definition declares that any vehicle with a single problem that impairs the use and market value of the vehicle substantially after four repair attempts is, in fact, a lemon.
Also, if after one attempt at repair, a brake or steering failure is not amended in a vehicle, that vehicle is a lemon. Finally, if any number of issues have substantially impaired the market value or use of the vehicle, and caused it to be undrivable for 30 or more days, it is a lemon.
Some of the most common models of vehicles that consumers report under the lemon law include the Chevrolet Cruze, the GMC Acadia, the Chevrolet Silverado and the Dodge Challenger.