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There's nothing like the excitement of researching a new car purchase, looking at the pictures, doing the homework, and comparing cars online. Then comes the fun of the shopping; test drives, finally choosing the right car, and driving it home with that new car smell surrounding you.
But soon you may find yourself driving your old car again, or even worse, driving a loaner. All because your beautiful new dream car, the one you shopped for so meticulously, is sitting in the dealer's service area, again.
If you think you may have a lemon, you don't have to suck it up. Under Kansas's Lemon Law, you may be entitled to a refund of your purchase price or a replacement vehicle. All new and leased cars are covered under the Kansas Lemon Law guidelines.
The Lemon Law is enforced by the Kansas Attorney General's Office. It has published an excellent lemon law brochure outlining the steps you'll need to take in order to protect your rights under this law.
The Kansas Lemon Law is there to protect consumers from getting stuck with defective vehicles by enforcing the warranties required on new cars. It also defines the terms of what constitutes a lemon and how a consumer can get a defective car replaced or refunded.
In order to qualify as a lemon, the car must reach the defective status within 1 year of the purchase date. The defect(s) must be major enough so that it "substantially impairs the use and value of the vehicle."
The law does not cover smaller problems such as cosmetic defects, a bad radio, or malfunctioning air conditioner. The dealer is required to honor any warranty for these problems, but they will not qualify the vehicle for coverage under the Lemon Laws.
If the vehicle fits any of the following criteria, you have made a reasonable number of attempts to repair it, and it can be declared a lemon:
- You had 4 attempts that were unsuccessful to repair the same problem
- The vehicle has been out of service for at least 30 days during the warranty period
- There were 10 attempts or more to repair various defect during the warranty period
If you think you have a lemon, keep excellent written records. Document the following:
- Phone calls to the dealership, repair department, and manufacturer
- Trips to the dealership
- Dates of vehicle in the repair department and reasons for the repair visits
- What has been wrong with the vehicle and the repairs that were attempted
- Time lost from work
- Cash out of your pocket
Also keep your receipts and invoices for towing and repairs.
If the vehicle has met the criteria above:
- Check the recall list to see if the vehicle has been subject to a recall
- Write a letter to the dealership, outlining your concerns, even if you've already been over them verbally. Sending the letter certified, with a return receipt requested, is suggested. Keep a copy with your notes and other records. Follow up with a phone call to make sure they received the letter.
- If the problem is not fixed after you send the letter, send a registered letter to the manufacturer. Let them know the problem and give them an outline of what you've done so far to try to correct it.
- Learn what process you must take with the manufacturer in order to resolve the issue, and follow it. (The dealer should have a brochure or a printed sheet with this information.)
- If, after you've done all of the above and you still don't have a resolution, you will need to contact an attorney or file a complaint with the Kansas Attorney General's Office.
As tempting as it may be, don't stop making payments on the defective vehicle. The issue is between you and the dealer or manufacturer, not your lender.
If you are in a serious financial bind due to the defect, speak to your lender. They may be able to help by deferring a couple of payments or making other arrangements while you are without a vehicle.
Throughout the experience, you may also want to consult with an attorney specializing in Lemon Law.
If you choose a refund instead of a replacement vehicle, remember that the manufacturer has a right to deduct for any wear and tear, depreciation and any driving you were able to do.Other Topics in This Section