Ohio Lemon Law Claims, Frequently Asked Questions

The Ohio Lemon Law protects Ohio residents that purchase or lease new vehicles in Ohio, and in certain circumstances, outside of Ohio but near the Ohio border. Residents of other states that purchase or lease new vehicles in Ohio may also be covered by the Ohio Lemon Law. However, consumers with questions as to whether the law applies to them should consult with me, attorney Thom Cafferty.

1. What Does The Lemon Law Not Cover?

It only covers new cars. The Ohio Lemon Law does not protect you from cars that experience repair issues after 12 months or after rolling over 18,000 miles. So, if you bought a two-year-old car with 22,000 miles that car does not likely fall under the protection of the Lemon Law. Unless you were the victim of fraud, you cannot return the car or sue the seller. Normally, when you buy an older used car, you do not have legal recourse for repair issues.

2. What Is A Lemon?

Vehicles covered by the Ohio Lemon Law are those that experience specific service problems (described below) during the first year following the original date of delivery or during the first 18,000 miles, whichever occurs first. There are time limits for bringing your claim, and you should consult with me to have those time limits explained in detail.

Specific service problems are defects or conditions that substantially impair the use, value, or safety of a motor vehicle to the consumer and that does not conform to the manufacturer's express warranty (referred to in the statute as a nonconformity). The manufacturer, through its approved service facilities, must be given the opportunity to fix your vehicle, as the warranty requires. However, after a certain number of attempts to fix your vehicle, the law states that there is a presumption that the car is a lemon. Please note that not all defects are considered nonconformities, and you should consult with attorney Thom Cafferty for a comprehensive evaluation of your case.

3. How Many Attempts To fix My New Car Are Required?

A. The same nonconformity (or a substantially similar nonconformity) has been subject to repair 3 or more times and either continues to exist or recurs;

B. The vehicle is out of service by reason of repair for a cumulative total of thirty (30) or more calendar days (not necessarily 30 consecutive days);

C. There have been eight or more attempts to repair any nonconformity; or

D. There has been at least one, unsuccessful attempt to repair a nonconformity that results in a condition that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven.

4. What Is The Remedy If I File A Successful Ohio Lemon Law Claim?

You are entitled to a new, replacement vehicle, or the manufacturer will take the car back and refund your full purchase price and all incidental damages. If you have a car loan, the manufacturer will pay off the loan and refund your car payments.

5. How Much Does Attorney Thom Cafferty Charge?

Your award may not be reduced by my attorney feedepending on the vehicle manufacturer and whether your matter is settled or resolved at arbitration. The lemon law provides that the court may require that the manufacturer pay reasonable attorney fees and costs with a successful claim in court. Therefore, it may not cost you anything to have an experienced attorney file a claim on your behalf. I've filed for clients with various manufacturers and successfully negotiated remedies for numerous clients. I understand what a good settlement entails and how to avoid manufacturer red tape.

6. Who Makes The Decision On Whether Or Not To Settle?

No all claims got to court. Many are settled before court and even before the claims are heard by an arbitrator. The decision to settle rests with the you, the consumer. Lemon law claims may be settled if you are satisfied with the manufacturer's offer. Note that any settlement may involve a compromise of the claim, including a portion of the manufacturer's settlement proposal to be applied to fees and costs. I will discuss my fees and offer my honest assessment and opinion of the merits of your lemon law case before we enter into a formal attorney-client relationship.

7. How Much Time Does Filing Take?

This varies from one case to another. It can take as little as 30 days to resolve a matter informally. Other cases may require negotiation and/or arbitration which can take several months.

8. What Does The Lemon Law Filing Process Involve?

1. The process begins with a comprehensive review of your case. I will examine:

  • All of your vehicle service reports
  • The purchase agreement
  • Current vehicle registration

2. We will then discuss your goals. I will provide you with an analysis of your potential claim. If it appears that you have a valid lemon law claim, I will file it promptly with the manufacturer and we will usually receive a response within 30 days.

3. If we're unable to negotiate a successful remedy with the manufacturer, your claim may be heard by an arbitrator within a couple of months. This method is described in the statutes as informal dispute resolution.

4. In some circumstances, and typically after participating in informal dispute resolution, you may bring a civil complaint. Because this process takes much more time, most claims are resolved through informal negotiation or arbitration.

9. Are There Other Laws That Protect Me?

Even though your warranty matter may not qualify as a lemon law claim, you may have a claim under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a federal law that protects consumers when a manufacturer is either unable or unwilling to make required repairs, or the Ohio Uniform Commercial Code. As an experienced consumer protection attorney, I will advise you of other remedies that may be available to you if it appears that your claim may not be covered by the Ohio Lemon Law.

For more information or to schedule a free consultation with me at Thom Cafferty Law Office in Toledo: 419-244-0169. Or email me with your question and I will respond promptly, usually within 24 hours.