The reason for buying a new car is to enjoy a smooth ride every time without facing any mechanical problem. What if things don’t turn out as expected? What if things turn out that you’ve bought a lemon and the car needs a replacement? This is where Maine Lemon Law comes in. This law protects new motor vehicle consumers from faulty vehicles sold by unscrupulous manufacturers. If you purchase a car with persistent defects that can’t be fixed by the manufacturer after a number repair attempts, you can use this law to get compensation. Basically, you will be required to go through the State Lemon Law Arbitration process before taking any legal action. You will receive a decision within 45 days after submitting your application. If the dispute is resolved in your favor, you may receive your refund or vehicle replacement.
Maine Lemon Law applies to new vehicles, used vehicles or motorcycles. However, you may go for informal Lemon Law arbitration process if your vehicle reaches any of the following limits:
- Within 18,000 miles from the date of purchase
- Within 3 years from the date of vehicle delivery from the manufacturer.
Besides the above limits, your vehicle must have undergone a number of unsuccessful repair attempts as explained below:
- At least 3 attempt to fix a serious problem that keeps on recurring and is not fixed
- Only 1 attempt for a serious problem that is likely to cause death or serious injury
- Must have been out of service for at least 15 business days and the problems was not resolved.
Maine’s Lemon Law does not cover:
- Defects caused by owner’s negligence
- Defects that do not impair the vehicles safety, use or market value
- Defects resulting from accidents
- Defects that occur as a result of vandalism
- Defects resulting from unauthorized alteration.
Steps to follow to get compensation
Send written notice to the manufacturer by registered mail giving them a final chance to inspect your vehicle and attempt to repair it. Remember to keep the receipt. Allow the manufacturer at least 7 business days after receiving your notice to attempt the repair for the last time. If the defect(s) is/are not fixed after this timeframe, you can go ahead to file your complaint as soon as possible.
How to File a Claim under Maine’s Lemon Law
If the manufacturer fails to grant your rights, you can file a lemon law complaint at Maine’s Lemon Law Arbitration Program. Use the following contacts when sending your complaint applications or when contacting them for more information. Lemon Law Arbitration Program Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division 6 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333 (207) 626-8848 or using a toll free line in maine only at (800) 436-2131 You must prove to an arbitrator that you have followed all the requirements of Maine’s Lemon Law as explained below:
- You had attempted to fix the defect before 18,000 miles or 3 years
- The defect impairs the vehicle's safety, use or value
- The defect still exists and has not been fixed after a number of repair attempts
- You had sent a written notice to the manufacturer giving them a final chance to fix the defect.
If You Win Arbitration
If the arbitrator resolves the case in your favor, the manufacturer will be authorized to refund your money plus all applicable fees or replace your vehicle with a comparable one. If you opt for a refund, you will get your money plus all applicable fees, but less a reasonable amount for miles you covered in your custody.
If You Lose Arbitration
If the case is not resolved in your favor, you can hire a lemon law attorney and appeal it in a court of law within 21 days.