- What is the purpose of the Lemon Law?
Georgia’s Lemon Law is a self-help statute whose primary goal is that the manufacturer of your motor vehicle repair any covered defects. If your vehicle cannot be repaired in a reasonable number of attempts and is found to be a "lemon," the law requires the manufacturer to replace or buy back (repurchase) the vehicle.
- Am I covered by Georgia's Lemon Law?
The Lemon Law protects consumers. You are covered by this law if:
- You entered into an agreement or contract for the purchase or lease of a new motor vehicle primarily for personal, family or household use (regardless of what the documents call the transaction); or
Your sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation owns or leases no more than three new motor vehicles for commercial use and has ten or fewer employees and a net income, after taxes, of $100,000 per year or less for federal income tax purposes.
- Does the Lemon Law cover all vehicles?
No. Only new motor vehicles are covered by Georgia’s Lemon Law. This means new, self-propelled vehicles that are primarily designed to transport people or property over public highways and were purchased, leased or registered in Georgia. The title of the vehicle must still be in the name of the person who originally purchased or leased it and cannot have been previously issued to anyone other than the selling dealer.
- What vehicles are not covered?
- Vehicles purchased or leased as used
- Vehicles whose title and other transfer documents indicate they are used
- Vehicles that have been titled to any person other than the selling dealer, before being titled to you
- Motorcycles and mopeds
- Trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more
- All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
- Vehicles that are not self-propelled, such as trailers and campers
- Are demonstrator models covered?
Yes. A demonstrator vehicle can also be considered a new motor vehicle, as long as the manufacturer’s warranty is issued as a condition of sale and it otherwise qualifies as a new motor vehicle as described above.
- Are motor homes covered?
Yes. While Georgia’s Lemon Law does not cover those parts of a motor home that are designated, used or maintained primarily as a mobile dwelling, office or commercial space, it does apply to the self-propelled vehicle and chassis of a new motor home. These are generally made by separate manufacturers.
In order to have a manufacturer fix a covered defect, you must send the proper forms to the manufacturers of both the vehicle and the chassis. Please read the "Steps to Follow" section completely to make sure that you fulfill the special requirements applying to motor homes and conversion vans.
- What kinds of defects are covered by the Lemon Law?
Any defect or condition included in the manufacturer's warranty that substantially impairs the vehicle’s use, value or safety to the consumer is covered under the Lemon Law.
"Substantially impairs" means that the defect makes your vehicle unreliable or unsafe for ordinary use, or it diminishes the resale value of your vehicle more than a meaningful amount below the average resale value for comparable motor vehicles.
- What kinds of defects are not covered?
The Lemon Law does not apply to any defect or condition that is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized modification or alteration of the vehicle.
- What is the Lemon Law rights period?
The Lemon Law rights period is the period ending one year from the date you took delivery of the vehicle, or after the first 12,000 miles of your use—whichever occurs first.
In order for a defect or condition to be covered, you must establish that the initial repair attempt took place within the Lemon Law rights period (please see Step 1 in the "Steps to Follow" for more detail).
- What must I do under the Lemon Law?
You must meet the eligibility requirements explained in this guide. First, you must allow the dealer an opportunity to repair the vehicle’s problem within the Lemon Law rights period.
If the defect is still present after you have made a reasonable number of repair attempts, you must give the manufacturer a final opportunity to correct it. The number of repair attempts considered reasonable is determined by the type of defect or number of days out of service (see discussion in Step 1).
If the manufacturer is unable to repair the defect on the final attempt and fails to buy back or replace the vehicle on request, you may qualify for certified informal dispute resolution, state arbitration or both.
You will find a more detailed explanation under "Steps to Follow." Although the entire process of seeking restitution may appear lengthy, it can be well worth your while to pursue your rights and to follow all of these directions very carefully.
- What type of documentation or proof do I need to make my case?
Always keep copies of any correspondence to or from the manufacturer, repair facility or leasing company, and always make a note of the date and substance of any phone conversations you have with them.
You are required to submit various written notices throughout the process, and you must send these notices by certified mail and request a return receipt. The returned receipts should be kept with your records as proof.
Be sure to obtain an itemized repair order or statement from the authorized dealer each time the vehicle is diagnosed or repaired, because it is a way to prove the attempts at repair. (See Step 1 in the "Steps to Follow" for details.)
- What remedies are available to me if my vehicle cannot be repaired?
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you have the right to request that the manufacturer either repurchase or replace your vehicle. If the manufacturer is unwilling to provide either of these remedies, the law gives you the right to an arbitration process.
- Is there a cost to me to proceed under the Lemon Law?
No. This program is a free service to the consumer, funded by the $3.00 Warranty Rights Act fee you pay when you buy or lease a new vehicle.
- Do I need to hire an attorney to represent me in my Lemon Law complaint?
Although you may elect to hire an attorney at your own expense to assist you, this is not required. Most consumers who proceed under the Lemon Law do so without an attorney. On very rare occasions, arbitration cases are appealed (see Step 8). In that event, it is recommended that you consult an attorney.
- If this is a self-help process, what role does the Georgia Department of Law's Consumer Protection Unit play?
We will provide all the information you need to help correct the problem; and we offer a state-run arbitration hearing, if needed.
- What other protections does the Lemon Law provide?
It alerts manufacturers to possible defects and quality issues in the vehicles they produce. The Lemon Law also protects Georgia consumers by keeping unrepaired vehicles off the road.
If the manufacturer replaces or repurchases your vehicle after your dispute has been accepted for arbitration, the company must notify the next buyer about your vehicle's defect. If the defect is life-threatening and cannot be corrected, your vehicle cannot be resold.