Lemon Law in Rhode Island

There’s nothing quite like that new car smell. In contrast, there’s nothing quite like buying a new car, only to discover that you’ve bought a lemon. However, Lemon Laws in Rhode Island exist so that consumers do not have to be stuck with defective products. When going through a process such as this, it may be in your best interest to take full advantage of an experienced Rhode Island lemon lawyer.

What Is a Lemon Law?

Lemon laws deal with consumer protections that are particularly applicable to automobile purchases. For any lemon law to apply, the automobile must suffer from a defect. This problem should be outside the purchaser’s control, like a manufacturer issue. Furthermore, lemon laws apply if a certain number of reasonable repairs happened to the vehicle in question to no avail.

When Do Rhode Island Lemon Laws Apply?

Lemon laws only apply when the vehicle in question is under warranty. This restriction does not mean it has to have a new guarantee. There are often dealership warranties attached to certified used cars. Under the federal lemon law requirements, conditions must meet the following criteria:

  • The manufacturer attempted to fix the issue on several occasions. Note that the number of conditions that merit a lemon law application can vary based on the court’s opinion.
  • There have been attempts to address the issue(s) in question within the first two years of owning and operating the vehicle.
  • The car has been out of service for at least 30 days. Note that the days do not have to be consecutive.

How Do You Ensure the Application of Lemon Laws?

There are some common practices that you can take that better position you when citing lemon law:

  • You should only take the vehicle in question to the corresponding dealership for repairs. By taking it there, you establish credibility by showing the responsible party attempted to address the issue. If you take the vehicle to a mom-and-pop mechanic, the manufacturer cannot be held liable for any attempts made to fix the problem.
  • Keep accurate and detailed records of any repairs made. This way, if your case goes to trial, have accurate logs that detail the manufacturer’s opportunities to fix the mechanical issues. This detail also helps build a timeline of how long you could not use your vehicle.

Lemon law statutes vary by state. You should research the lemon law requirements in Rhode Island to ensure you remain within the legal confines.

According to the Rhode Island Attorney General, “motor vehicle” in the state is defined as any car, truck, motorcycle, or van with a registered weight of less than 10,000 pounds. This is important because the lemon laws of the state cover any new “motor vehicle”. However, motorized campers are excluded. New motor vehicles are eligible for protections within the first year, or the first 15,000 miles.

What Exactly Are Consumers Entitled To Under Lemon Laws?

You have a legal entitlement to a replacement vehicle or refund if Rhode Island lemon laws apply. However, manufacturers may deduct a fee in proportion to the miles the owner put on the car or truck before it became unusable. This compensation should include:

  • Down payment
  • Registration
  • Taxes
  • Car rentals
  • Monthly payments
  • Tow expenses
  • Attorney costs

Do Lemon Laws Apply to Used Vehicles?

Lemon laws can apply to used vehicles. However, this is for written warranties distributed along with the vehicle upon sale. Often, a used car dealership sells vehicles with a portion of the guarantee remaining. This situation incentivizes the purchase and (allegedly) puts the buyer’s mind at ease.

Rhode Island Lemon Laws extend protections to used cars that are still under the warranty of the manufacturer. However, the coverage dates are the same; 1 year, or 15,000 miles after the consumer received delivery of the vehicle.

When Should You Hire a qualified Rhode Island Lemon Law Attorney?

Have you attempted to have your vehicle repaired at the dealership? Consumers should consider legal action when it doesn’t work for 30 days. If you can’t resolve the issue with the manufacturer, it may be time to bring in an experienced Rhode Island lemon law attorney.

How Does the Lemon Law Litigation Process Work?

Consumers can expect to go through a series of motions by bringing in an experienced Rhode Island lawyer. However, introducing legal counsel into the situation is the best way for consumers to receive a fair outcome. With most Rhode Island lemon law attorneys, you can expect the following:

  • Free Case Evaluation – Attorneys should review your case for free. They will determine its merit and whether you have a justifiable claim.
  • Filing Your Claim – Your Rhode Island legal representative should handle filing a claim with the manufacturer after determining the facts.
  • Further Action – Your vehicle’s manufacturer may refuse to comply with the claim under federal and state statutes. Then your attorney files suit to seek entitled compensation on your behalf.
  • Pursuing Settlement – The manufacturer should cover all costs and fees if you achieve a settlement before trial. This compensation will often include attorney fees.
  • Contingency Fee Basis – At the end of the ordeal, clients should not have to pay for attorney’s fees. Even if you ultimately lose your case, a reputable Rhode Island law firm should not charge clients fees. If you win your case, the manufacturer pays the attorney’s fees.

The Rhode Island DMV states that there are time limits for any resident to file a complaint against a manufacturer or dealer as it relates to lemon laws. However, these limits apply to manufacturers and dealers as well. If you return a lemon, the manufacturer has 30 days to replace it with a similar car. If they do not, you can pursue a full refund at the end of those 30 days. An experienced Rhode island lemon lawyer can help you as you seek restitution.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer In Rhode Island

Do you need immediate help? Then one of our experienced lawyers in Rhode Island can help guide you through the Lemon Law litigation process. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Rhode Island state lines!

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