Buying a car is more than just paying the required amount of money. Identifying the right car for you and paying the required cash may seem easier for anyone looking to purchase a car. But, it’s difficult to tell whether that car, as new as it looks, could posses some glitches that cannot be fixed. These glitches could be the result of too much jostling during shipment or simply due to a technical blunder on the assembly line. Just like in other states, Hawaii Lemon Law stipulates a way out for all those affected by this situation. Under this Hawaii Lemon Law, all buyers whose cars have defects that haven’t been fixed as provided in the warrant, have a right to claim for a replacement car or a refund of the purchase price from the manufacturer.

State Certified Arbitration Program (SCAP)

Obviously, automakers don’t want to give you a vehicle replacement or your refund when you purchase a lemon from them. They would do anything to avoid replacing a vehicle or even refunding you your money. But through SCAP, returning a defective car has been made easy. This program resolves the disputes between manufacturers and buyers with lemon law claims. This program was launched to be an alternative channel of tackling lemon law cases. This program is managed by the Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO). All questions regarding the lemon law and how your vehicle would fit into the process can be answered by this board. Besides providing an indispensable Lemon Law Handbook for in-depth mediation, SCAP also provides the forms required to deal with the matter.

Defining a Lemon

For you to have the best chances of arbitration, you will need to provide evidence of a few things. Mainly, you’re required to collect the documentation showing that you have taken the required steps to resolve the issue. Under the Hawaii Lemon Law, a buyer must report any defect on the vehicle within a period of two years from the day of purchase or 24,000 miles covered. Other requirements that you must meet in order to qualify for protection under Hawaii Lemon Law include:

  • The vehicle must be new
  • The defect must occur when the vehicle is under warranty
  • The defect in question must be the one that compromises the vehicle’s safety, use or market value
  • The vehicle must spend 30 days or more in a repair shop and the defect was not repaired
  • The manufacturer must have taken at least 3 attempts to repair the defect and the defect was not repaired.

The Next Steps

If your vehicle meets any of the above criteria, chances are that you likely bought a lemon. The next step is to notify (in written) the manufacturer to have a final repair attempt to solve the problem. If they fail to comply with your request, then you need the services of SCAP.

Contacting the Manufacturer

With SCAP you can decide to go for arbitration to resolve the stand-off between you and the manufacturer. To request arbitration, you need to file your complaint with SCAP as soon as possible. Be sure that your car meets above stated criteria. Be sure to send the following forms:

  • Complete the Demand for Arbitration form
  • Submit 3 copies of Work orders showing that you took your vehicle to the manufacturer for repair
  • Dealer or lease contract
  • Original signed warranty from the manufacturer
  • The letter you sent to the manufacturer to ask them to have a final repair attempt and the return receipt
  • Vehicle documents that the manufacturer or dealer gave you at the time of purchase.

Send all these items to: Regulated Industries Complaints Office, DCCA 235 S. Beretania St., 9th Floor Honolulu, HI 96813 You are also required to send $50 check payable to the Director of Finance. If the case is resolved in your favor, this $50 fee will be refunded.

Vehicles not covered by Hawaii Lemon Law

  • Mopeds
  • Scooters
  • Motorcycles
  • Vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 lbs.