This is part of a series entitled “Lemon Law: 5 Things You Should Know.” It is written by Sergei Lemberg, who is an attorney who specializes in lemon law. His site, Lemon Justice, offers detailed information about lemon laws, as well as an interactive Lemon Meter for consumers who want to see if their vehicle qualifies as a lemon.
The first U.S. lemon law was enacted in Connecticut over a quarter of a century ago, essentially providing a framework for consumers to constructively engage in conflict with automakers. Since that time, every state in the Union has adopted its own lemon law. While some state lemon laws allow consumers to take manufacturers directly to court, others mandate that consumers participate in a manufacturer- or state-sponsored arbitration program.
Generally speaking, consumers are led to believe that they can go through arbitration without the help of an attorney. While you don’t need an attorney to participate in the arbitration process, you can bet that manufacturers have teams of attorneys that do nothing but fight lemon law claims. Time and again, I’ve seen cases where the manufacturer makes the consumer jump through hoops, or runs out the clock on a lemon law claim. The truth is that consumers who have attorneys are more likely to get relief in a lemon law claim, both because the lawyer is experienced in lemon law and because it sends a signal to the manufacturer that the consumer is serious and won’t simply go away.
The bottom line? When you engage in conflict with big corporations, it’s important that the playing field is level.
For previous posts in the series: Part 1