New York State Lemon Law

What is the Lemon Law?

The Lemon Law provides certain warranties for car purchases from car dealers, but not from private sellers. There is one for new cars and one for used cars.

Is my car covered?

You might have a very problematic vehicle, for whatever reason, but it may not meet the legal definition of a “Lemon.” First, you must have purchased it from a licensed dealer. Next, you have to check the specific criteria for new and used cars, and what is actually covered. The law sets time and mileage limitations, and the number of repair attempts required before a car can be labeled a “lemon.”

What happens if a car is a Lemon?

The car might have to be bought back by the manufacturer or dealer, and the title will have to be labeled, which significantly affects the value for resale of that car. Sometimes improved communication and a little patience can better resolve the problem than a Lemon Law proceeding.

What do I do if I think my car is a Lemon?

After you have spoken with the dealer (not just someone in sales or service, but the dealer owner), after working with the staff to resolve the problem, you may contact the New York State Automobile Dealers Association at 518-463-1148 and ask for assistance. As a last resort, you may pay to file a claim with the Attorney General’s office.

New Car Lemon Law Summary:

Cars covered by the law include any car that:
• Was covered by a warranty at original delivery; AND
• Was purchased, leased or transferred within the earlier of 18,000 miles or two years from the date of original delivery; AND
• Was either purchased, leased or transferred in New York State or is presently registered in the state; AND
• Is used primarily for personal purposes.

Duty to Repair:

A reasonable chance for a manufacturer or its authorized agent to repair a problem for a new car is considered to be:
Four or more attempts to repair and the problem continues to exist; OR
• The car is out of service by reason of repair of one or more problems for a cumulative total of 30 days or more.

Exceptions when manufacturers may not be required to provide a refund or replacement:
• The problem does not substantially impair the value of the car to the consumer; OR
• The problem is a result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized alteration of the car.

Used Car Lemon Law Summary:

Cars Covered by the Used Car Lemon Law Include any car that:
• was purchased or leased from a New York dealer; AND
• had a purchase price or lease value of at least $1,500; AND
• has been driven less than 100,000 miles at the time of purchase/lease; AND
• is used primarily for personal purposes.

Statutory Warranty Length:
Miles of Operation – Duration of Warranty (the earlier of)
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

A Dealer’s Duty to Repair: A reasonable chance for an auto dealer to repair a problem for a used car is considered to be: three or more repair attempts and the problem continues to exist; OR the car is out of service by reason of repair for a cumulative total of 15 days or more (although unavailability of parts may extend this time).
Exceptions When an Auto Dealer May Not Be Required to Provide a Refund:
• the problem does not substantially impair the value of the car to the consumer; OR
• the problem is a result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized alteration of the car.

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