Ohio Lemon Law Claims, Frequently Asked Questions

The Ohio Lemon Law protects Ohio residents that purchase or lease new vehicles at car dealerships in Ohio, and in certain circumstances, at dealerships 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 attorney Thom Cafferty.

What's 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 attorney Thom Cafferty 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.

How many attempts to fix my car are required before it may be considered a Lemon?

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

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

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

4. 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.

What is the remedy if I file a successful 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.

What will it cost to have the Law Office of Thom Cafferty assist me with my Lemon Law claim?

Your award will not be reduced by our fees, because the Lemon Law requires the manufacturer to pay reasonable attorney fees and costs with a successful claim. Therefore, it may not cost you anything to have an experienced attorney file a claim on your behalf. You will benefit from attorney Thom Cafferty's experience with Lemon Law claims filed with the various manufacturers and his ability to negotiate a successful remedy acceptable to you. However, some claims are settled before the claims are heard by an arbitrator or in court, and the decision to settle rests with the consumer. Lemon Law claims may be settled if the consumer is satisfied with the manufacturer's offer and the settlement may involve a compromise of the claim, including a portion of the manufacturer's settlement proposal to be applied to fees and costs. You should discuss fees and costs in detail with attorney Thom Cafferty before entering into a formal attorney-client relationship.

How does the process work and how much time does it take?

The process begins with a comprehensive review of your case, which includes an examination of all vehicle service reports, the purchase agreement and current vehicle registration. Attorney Thom Cafferty will review your documents, discuss the matter with you and provide you with an analysis of your potential claim. If it appears that you have a valid Lemon Law claim, it is filed promptly with the manufacturer and a response is usually received within 30 days. 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. 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.

If it appears that my warranty matter does not qualify as a Lemon Law claim, are there are any other laws that may 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. Attorney Thom Cafferty 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.