The Vermont lemon law applies to new vehicles with serious defects. Consumers have a right to request a refund or replacement vehicle for unresolved or ongoing malfunctions covered under the manufacturer’s vehicle warranty.

There are two methods for filing a claim. Each method requires the owner to prove the defect has severely hindered the use and value of the vehicle. Hiring a specialized lawyer is recommended but not mandatory.

However, it is worth noting that legal fees may be recovered if your case is successful. Used car lemon law benefits can apply if the vehicles meet eligibility requirements. You can continue reading the sections below for information about faulty new and used vehicles.

What is the Lemon Law in Vermont?

The Vermont arbitration board allows consumers to contest warranty defects on new vehicles. If successful, the state’s car lemon law rewards owners with a full refund or replacement vehicle.

Before an arbitration hearing can be scheduled, the vehicle must meet the following requirements:

  1. The vehicle must undergo one of the law’s two repair procedures to qualify.
    1. The three-times-out repair procedure – Three or more attempts must be made to repair a defect covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. Furthermore, the first attempt must be made within the warranty period set by the manufacturer. The defect must still be unresolved when the consumer files for a hearing under this rule; or
    2. The 30-day out-of-service repair procedure – This method requires the vehicle to be out-of-service for at least 30 days. Used car lemon law claims may also be filed under this method. Unlike the three-times-out procedure, the defect does not need to be present at the time of filing.
  2. The vehicle must be leased or purchased within the state of Vermont.
  3. The vehicle must adhere to certain weight restrictions.
  4. The vehicle must not be owned by a government agency.
  5. The vehicle’s owner must file for an arbitration hearing before the lemon law warranty has reached one year after its expiration date.

Does the Vermont Lemon Law apply to used cars?

The lemon law definition requires that an eligible vehicle is one that has not surpassed the manufacturer’s warranty. Therefore, if you have recently bought a used car that is still covered, your vehicle may qualify for a claim.

However, all additional lemon law eligibility requirements must still be met. Although most repairs may be completed outside of this timeframe, vehicles must have the first repair attempt made within the warranty period to qualify.

Further restrictions and previously mentioned eligibility rules must be adhered to.

How does the Lemon Law work in Vermont?

If your car meets requirements for lemon vehicles, you may file for a hearing with the Vermont arbitration board. First, you must submit an application form:

  1. Enter your personal information, such as your name and contact details.
  2. Enter the vehicle’s information, such as year, make and model.
  3. Select whether you want a refund or a replacement vehicle.
  4. Give details on the defect and how it has hindered the car.
  5. Choose a filing method. Consumers may select one of two options detailed in the previous section;
    1. The three-times-out method.
    2. The 30-day out-of-service method.
  6. Send one copy to the Vermont lemon law arbitration board, one copy to the manufacturer and keep one copy for your records.

Once filed, a final attempt is issued to repair the damage. The manufacturer may use this attempt to address the defect and reach a settlement with the consumer. However, if the attempt fails or the consumer is dissatisfied, an arbitration hearing may still be called.

Consumers must prove the defect seriously affects or affected the safety, use and value of the car. Hearings are typically held once a month and must be initiated by the consumer.

After you have presented your case to the board, they will either rule in your favor or the manufacturer’s favor. If your lemon law claim is successful, you will be issued with a refund or a replacement vehicle.

A lemon law buyback will include the amount you originally paid for the vehicle, as well as any incidental fees and taxes that the court deems applicable.

If the board orders the vehicle to be replaced, your car will be returned to the manufacturer and a new, comparable vehicle will be issued to you.

Vermont Lemon Law Lawyers

Hiring a lemon law attorney may increase your chances of a successful verdict. Although lawyers can be expensive, legal fees are often covered if your claim is won.

Working with a specialized attorney will help you utilize his or her specific knowledge to present a better case to the arbitrator. Experienced lawyers can navigate federal lemon law rules, legal procedures and fine print with greater efficiency.

Additional New and Used Car Laws in Vermont

The state of Vermont has several laws protecting consumers who have completed the new or used vehicle purchase process. In particular, the state’s mileage law requires all sellers to declare the odometer reader to prospective buyers in the state.

Vermont also has used car laws that protect owners of abandoned vehicles. If a vehicle has been recovered, the VT DMV must attempt to contact the last registered owner before titling the vehicle as a salvage. Additional restrictions and fees may apply.

Similarly, drivers looking to purchase off-road vehicles must adhere to specific laws. Whether you are purchasing or selling an ATV, motorboat or snowmobile, you will need to follow separate titling and registration procedures. Depending on the vehicle, you may not need to register it at all.

How to Tell if Your New Car Is a Lemon

If your vehicle meets all of the above-mentioned eligibility requirements it may qualify as a lemon. However, before you file, assess the damage on the vehicle and decide which one of the two claim-types best fits your situation.

In the case of a three-times-out claim, you will need to provide evidence of sending your vehicle to get repairs for the same issue at least three times. Furthermore, you need to prove that the defect severely affects your ability to operate the vehicle safely.

If this is the case, your car may be a lemon. Another way to determine whether your vehicle is a lemon is to eliminate what the state’s lemon law does not cover. Defects that are a result of an accident, abuse or neglect are not eligible for benefits under this law.

Last updated on Wednesday, September 23 2020.