New York Lemon Law Info – NY Lemon Law Attorneys

New York Lemon Law – Step-by-Step Guide

Our firm has represented consumers in New York lemon law cases for almost 20 years. So here’s a guide for what to do (and not do) if you bought a lemon car in New York.

We are a premier Lemon Law firm in New York, quoted repeatedly in New York Daily News.

Step 1: Determine whether New York ‘New Car’ Lemon Law covers your car

  1. Is your Car New or Used? New York ‘New Car’ Lemon Law applies to new passenger vehicles, SUVs, vans, trucks, motorcycles, or personal watercraft that are purchased, leased, or registered new in New York. New York Lemon Law also covers if you bought your vehicle used as long as repairs for the defects took place within two years or 18,000 miles of the original purchase (whichever comes first).
  2. Did the defects occur during the ‘Lemon Law Period?’ New York Lemon Law for new cars is generally time-limited. It applies during the two years or 18,000 miles of the original delivery (whichever comes first).
  3. Is the problem covered under warranty? To qualify under the Lemon Law, the car problem must be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.  This applies to most car problems, but not all. For instance, aftermarket parts/installations aren’t covered.
  4. Is the car problem substantial? Does it affect your use, safety, or value of the car to you.  Noises, squeaks, rattles etc. are typically not covered.
  5. Do you have enough repairs? New York Lemon Law presumes a car to be a lemon if during the first 2 years or 18,000 miles the same problem was
    • Repaired is four times for same defect and it still persists, or
    • The vehicle is out of service for 30 or more calendar days due to same or different repairs.
  6. Does the car use qualify it for New York Lemon Law? In order to qualify, the car must be used primarily for personal, family or household purposes. 

The exact text of the law is available by clicking here. If you meet these criteria, keep reading!

Don’t be stuck with a lemon. You have legal rights to cash, return or buyback.

The law makes car manufacturers pay legal fees.

We've fixed thousands of lemon problems. Message or call 855-301-2100 today.

And here’s a video guide if you prefer:

Step 2: Determine What Relief You Can Get Under New York Lemon Law

New York Lemon Law provides several options for a successful consumer.

  1. You may be awarded a replacement with an identical or comparable vehicle (this option does not work if car was leased).
  2. You may be awarded vehicle repurchase and refund of the moneys you paid, which can include:
    • A refund of the contract price. A mileage deduction for the use you have had of the vehicle may or may not be deducted. The statutory mileage deduction is computed by multiplying any mileage of the vehicle in excess of 12,000 miles times the contract price and dividing that figure by 100,000. If car was leased, the law allows for additional deductions and mileage deduction calculation is more involved.

Refund or replacement awards may also include reimbursement for other out-of-pocket expenses or costs you incurred that are reasonably connected to manufacturer’s failure to repair your car. In addition, you have a right to obtain refund of the sales tax paid from the State of New York.  However, expenses or charges, such as loss of use, insurance premiums, and finance charges are not refundable under the New York Lemon Law.

Step 3: Hire a Lawyer – No Cost to You

In a perfect world, you would not need a lawyer in a lemon law case.  Except one thing: every vehicle manufacturer will be represented by a law firm or a trained professional specializing in lemon law.  Corporations can’t represent themselves, so they oftentimes will have one or two lawyers for every case, plus an expert mechanic. So we think you always hire a lawyer for a lemon law case. Always.

Under the New York Lemon Law (GBL 198-a(l)), when you prevail, the manufacturer may be required to pay your lemon fees. So our firm and others like it take these cases on contingency – at NO COST TO YOU.

Like anything else, lawyers who do this kind of work know the laws and regulations. Most cases get resolved without the need for filing either arbitrations or litigations.  We ensure that all paperwork and legal filings meet the requirements and prevent any procedural errors or documentary errors that could weaken a case.

More often than not, the manufacturer will settle; if not, though, we recommend a lawsuit or arbitration.

Step 4:  Choose Your Forum

There are 3 ways to get what you want in a lemon law case.

  1. Negotiation. Most lemon law situations are resolved pre-suit between lawyers working for consumers or sometimes the consumers themselves and the manufacturers. This is by far the quickest, most efficient and least expensive way to proceed.
  2. Arbitration. New York Department of Consumer Protection runs a Lemon Law Arbitration program. We’ve represented consumers in arbitrations through the program, but the arbitration program does not provide for payment of attorney’s fees to a consumer, even if consumer prevails at arbitration on the lemon law claim.
  3. Lawsuits. We have filed numerous lawsuits in New York Supreme Court representing consumers in lemon law cases.  Lawsuits can drag out for years, so for consumers with qualifying lemon law cases, our standard suggestion is to follow negotiation and leave litigation as an option of last resort.

Who pays Legal Fees under New York Lemon Law?

The manufacturer. Under GBL 198-a(l) the court may award “reasonable attorney’s fees” to a consumer who prevails in a lemon law case.

Who are we? We are Lemberg Law, a Consumer Law Firm

Lemberg Law is a consumer law firm helping victims of bad manufacturing and run-arounds from auto companies. We are ranked A+ by the BBB. Call our Helpline today!  There is no charge unless we win.

Does the New York Lemon Law apply to used cars?

New York has a Lemon Law covering cars bought or leased used.  New York Used Car Lemon Law requires dealer to issue a written warranty covering the repair of defective parts at no charge to you. If the dealer is unable to fix your car after three or more tries, or if the vehicle is out of service by reason of repair more than 15 days (or at least 45 days if parts are unavailable), you may be able to receive a full refund.  The length of warranty coverage that dealer must give you depends on the vehicle milage at time of purchase:

  • 18,001-36,000 miles – 90 days or 4,000 miles
  • 36,001-79,999 miles – 60 days or 3,000 miles
  • 80,000-100,000 miles – 30 days or 1,000 miles

If the car has over 100,000 miles, the New York Used Car Lemon Law does not obligate dealer to issue a written warranty. Thus, if a used vehicle is purchased ‘as is’ and without a warranty, it cannot qualify as a lemon under the New York Lemon Law.

What’s the exact text of the New York Lemon Law for Used Cars?

The exact text of the law is available by clicking here.

Do I have rights if my vehicle has gone past the Lemon Law period?

Absolutely. Even if your vehicle has gone past 2 years or 18,000 miles to qualify under New York New Car Lemon Law, or beyond 100,000 miles to qualify under New York Used Car Lemon Law, there are still Federal and State warranty laws that may protect you. And chances are, we can help you.

In addition, New York has a so-called Warranty of Serviceability (VTL 417) that obligates dealer to expressly warrant in writing that the used vehicle it sells is in condition and repair to render, under normal use, satisfactory and adequate service upon the public highway at the time of delivery.  This law obligates the dealer to repurchase the car if it sold the car with a serious defect which it failed to repair. Depending on the circumstances, a prevailing consumer could be awarded by the court three times the actual damages suffered, or $100, whichever is greater.

Template Lemon Law Demand Letter

Most lemon law cases begin with a demand letter to the manufacturer. We’ve created a sample that suits this purpose in most circumstances, although please understand that this isn’t legal advice and we don’t bear any responsibility for its accuracy. Here’s a sample demand letter that you can adapt for your use.

Case Studies – Lemberg Law Cases

Case Study 1: Our client bought a new 2022 model year mid-size SUV. Within the first year and 14,000 miles of taking delivery of the vehicle, our client experienced continual failures of the driver assistance systems, multiple malfunction warnings appearing in the instrument cluster, failure of the infotainment system, automatic breaking continually engaging while driving despite lack of obstacles in the vehicle’s path, and failure of the power operated accessories.  In total, 75 days out of service during the term of protection, a total of 8 visits to the dealership.

Client complained of all the aforementioned malfunctions, wanted vehicle repurchased. Manufacturer initially requested to have the car inspected by its engineer and our client made the car available for inspection. When manufacturer seized to respond our inquiries, Lemberg Law prepared a complaint to file in court. Subsequently, manufacturer yielded to our client’s demand and repurchased the car, refunded money due under New York Lemon Law, and paid attorney’s fees.

Case Study 2: In a lemon law claim handled by our office, our client obtained from the manufacturer a replacement new 2018 full-size SUV.  Within the first 18 months and 10,000 miles of taking delivery of the vehicle, our client experienced parking-assist system failure, repeat infotainment system malfunctions, inoperative turning signal, engine coolant leak, and four-wheel-drive system failure.

In response to Lemberg Law’s letter describing all the aforementioned malfunctions, manufacturer offered to repurchase the vehicle.  Our client requested that manufacturer replace the ‘lemon’ the second time and manufacturer agreed. In addition, manufacturer paid all applicable government charges for titling and registering the replacement vehicle and paid attorney’s fees.

Breach of Warranty Claims

Even if your car does not qualify for Lemon Law, you may still be able to recover against the dealer or manufacturer in New York based on breach of warranty theories.

For instance, there is a Breach of the Implied Warranty of Merchantability claim.  A consumer who buys a car from a dealer may be able to sue if she shows the car was unmerchantable at the time of sale.  A car buyer may also sue for Revocation of Acceptance.  Consumers have the right under the Uniform Commercial Code to “revoke acceptance” of the vehicle (N.Y. U.C.C. Law § 2-608) and argue that the vehicle’s defects substantially impaired its value.  Finally, there is the New York Deceptive Trade Practices Act (N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 349).  The claim would be that by selling a defective car, the dealer and manufacturer engaged in “unfair and deceptive” practices.

Comparison with Other Laws

Overall, New York is a favorable place to bring a Lemon Law case. It covers both cars and motorcycles, and even vehicles purchased by a business (as long as those are used primarily for personal, family or household purposes), and does so a full 2 years or 18,000 miles.  In contrast, lemon law in Connecticut is longer: Connecticut’s lemon law covers new and used cars and motorcycles for the first 24 months or 24,000 miles, and under certain circumstances longer!  Connecticut has a ‘safety’ exception (only two repairs), which isn’t available either in New York or Massachusetts.  Massachusetts Lemon Law, moreover, requires that manufacturer receive a ‘written notice of an opportunity to repair,’ whereas Connecticut and New York do not.  Overall, Connecticut and New York offer more extensive protection in terms of the duration of coverage, which can be seen as better for the consumer.  Massachusetts, while offering a shorter coverage period, provides quick resolution due to its lower threshold for days out of service.  The “better” law may depend on the specific needs and circumstances of the vehicle owner.

Important cases – Important Legal Developments

DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Spitzer. Automobile manufacturers filed petitions to vacate arbitration awards in consumer’s favor on New Car Lemon Law claims and sought to enjoin the New York Attorney General and the New York State Dispute Resolution Association from applying allegedly incorrect standard to cases under New York’s Lemon Laws. Specifically, manufacturers argued that Attorney General was incorrect to interpretate the Lemon Law statute to the extent that it permits consumers relying on the repair presumption to seek relief when their vehicles have been fixed after more than four attempts. In other words, a consumer relying on the repair presumption must demonstrate that the defect continues to exist at the time of trial or arbitration.

The Court of Appeals, the highest court in the State of New York, held that the plain language of the provision obligates a consumer to demonstrate that the vehicle was subject to repair at least four times and that the same defect remained unresolved after the fourth attempt. Therefore, once a consumer has met the four-repair threshold, the presumption arises regardless of whether the manufacturer later remedies the problem. After four attempts, it is presumed that the manufacturer has been given a reasonable number of opportunities to fix the vehicle. The determination of whether a reasonable number of attempts took place for a consumer to recover does not turn on whether the car was ultimately repaired.

To conclude, New Car Lemon Law does not require consumer to prove that defect existed at time of trial or arbitration in order to recover under the Lemon Law.  To put it in other words, the law does not require consumers to leave their vehicles in disrepair pending arbitration or trial.

BMW of North America, LLC v. Riina. In this case a BMW car owner brought action against car manufacturer under Lemon Law. Consumer argued the new car they purchased from BMW was inappropriately outfitted with “runflat” tires and 19″ wheel rims that regularly developed “bubbles” in the sidewalls of the tires due to the rough road conditions in Westchester County and New York City, thereby compromising the car’s safety and handling. The arbitrator ruled in the consumer’s favor and awarded a total amount of $96,724.24. BMW then sought to vacate arbitration award and filed an appeal when the lower court denied BMW’s request to vacate.

The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, reversed the arbitrator’s award for the consumer and ruled for BMW. Specifically, the court held tires were expressly excluded from BMW’s warranties, and consumer presented no evidence to show that the tires and wheel rims used on the vehicle were incompatible with the car and its operation. As such, the court ruled, there was no basis for arbitrator to find that the value of the car was substantially impaired by the use of the alleged inappropriate tires and wheel rims.

If the Lemon Law protects me, why won’t the dealer or carmaker just refund my money or provide a replacement vehicle?

In the ideal world, the dealers and manufacturers would try to retain your goodwill and quickly remedy the problem. In reality, however, carmakers are extremely reluctant to offer refunds or replacements because it costs them money! They use delay tactics and supposed resolution mechanisms to either get you to go away or put off resolving the problem until the Lemon Law period expires. It is not surprising that that car manufacturers’ weasel tactics were the very reason why lawmakers passed Lemon Laws in the first place.

Hiring a Lemon Law Lawyer in New York

You don’t need a lawyer for your Lemon Law claim, but having one will significantly increase your chances of getting what you deserve. Lemon Law can be confusing if you don’t understand how it works or how to enforce your rights.

For car companies, producing lemons and frustrating some customers is a cost of doing business. They abide by the law only when faced with a real threat of litigation from a lawyer specializing in Lemon Law. In most of our cases, car makers settle very quickly after receiving a notice from us, because they know that they may be liable for more money if they lose in court.

Why put yourself through this when representation by a qualified attorney is totally free? When you have a repeated problem with a vehicle covered by Lemon Law, contact us at 1-877-77 LEMON, and we will help you resolve your Lemon Law problem with the manufacturer or dealer. Our services are ABSOLUTELY FREE.

What will Lemberg Law do when they get my case?

We will work on your behalf to achieve bring justice to you – we will build your case to achieve settlement in the shortest amount of time.

•  First, we will conduct an exhaustive investigation of the vehicle’s entire repair history;

•  Second, we will confront the manufacturer by presenting a statement of your case and demand full recovery. If the manufacturer agrees with our position and offers a settlement that satisfies you, your case will be resolved.

•  Third, if you reject the manufacturer’s offer and the case cannot be settled, we will sue the manufacturer on your behalf or go to arbitration.

New York Lemon Law FAQs

Does the Lemon Law in New York Apply to Private Sales?

No. Unfortunately, New York Lemon Law does not cover used vehicles purchased through private sales. The law only applies to vehicles bought or leased from a New York dealer.

Are Leased Vehicles Covered Under New York Lemon Law?

Yes! New York Lemon Law covers leased vehicles. If you leased a Lemon, you may still be entitled to a refund of the money you paid or vehicle repurchase by the manufacturer. 

Does New York Lemon Law Cover Appliances? 

New York Lemon Law does not specifically cover appliances. However, the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, also known as the “federal lemon law,” can still protect those who have purchased Lemon appliances in New York.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes car manufacturers pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Who are we? We are Lemberg Law, a Consumer Law Firm

Lemberg Law is a consumer law firm helping victims of bad manufacturing and run-arounds from auto companies. We are ranked A+ by the BBB. Call our Helpline today!  There is no charge unless we win.

  • Julie M

    I purchased a 2016 Grand Design 377 MBS from Wilkins RV in Bath, NY. New in July of 2016. The unit has spent 17 months in service and has about 800 road miles on it total. It has never been officially camped because as it went from pickup in Bath NY, to its home in Wadsworth OH, it arrived with a blown inverter, fried heating elements in the refrigerator, and a fried fireplace. One week after those parts were replaced, the awning tore off the side of the trailer. By the end of the summer, the fireplace was inoperable again, and the outside lights were all burned out. Last summer, after I got the unit back from Wilkins RV, it was delivered with dead batteries, and locked, with no keys. I had to wait for 2 weeks to get keys to get in. Upon packing the unit, I went into the forward living bedroom and shut the door. I was locked inside my bedroom. The door-handle disintegrated and we were unable to get me out for 3 hours, destroying the woodwork and the door. We then took the unit back to its home in OH, to roll out the fixed awning and to see that only half led lights worked and the awning was full of mold. The fireplace also does not work. This year, I de-winterized the unit and noticed that the water pump is not working. Yesterday, after 8 hours and 200 gallons of water, WIlkins RV could not help the tech they sent to fix this unit, and told him to call the manufacturer. I tried to trade this unit in to Wilkins RV for a new model, and they only offered me $33K. I was sold this unit which retailed at $102,000 for 59,999 in 2016. The same model I wanted was this same floorplan, and the price they were willing to give me was 82K. I put $6k down in 2016 and pay 430 every month. I filed a claim with the BBB because of the discrepency in price. I have no water, no sinks, no shower and the dealer just washed his hands. They told me to call Grand Design. I paid for the extended warranty. BTW. The cable TV was never wired correctly, I haven’t even been able to watch TV. And the refrigerator is not cooling nor freezing, despite work done to it yesterday. I need help. This thing is a problem planet. I bought it so that I could have a place to recover from brain surgery and radiation from, and it has been nothing but an unreliable headache. I am having another operation on August 22, and i will be 4 years into payments on something that you can’t shower in, nor have food in, nor watch TV in. Nor sit in front of a fire.

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