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Lemon Law in Washington DC

You have recently purchased a car that is now, before that new-car smell has worn off, giving you nothing but trouble. It seems like every time you turn around, you're having to leave it with the mechanic for repairs. Have you just purchased a lemon?

Each state defines the criteria for what constitutes a "lemon." Generally, this is a new car purchased from a licensed dealer that has chronic mechanical problems and can't seem to be repaired despite numerous attempts, or one that has spent a specific number of days out of commission in the shop.

Is My Vehicle a Lemon?

You'll know if you have a lemon if within the first 18,000 miles or 2 years of getting the vehicle:

  • It has a defect that:
    • Has not been fixed after 4 attempts.
      OR
    • Has resulted in it being inoperable and in the shop for repairs for at least 30 days.
    OR
  • At least 1 attempt has been made to correct a serious safety defect, with no success.

You must have documentation that each defect was reported to the manufacturer or dealer.

Filing Under Lemon Law Protections

A consumer who purchases a car that turns out to be a lemon is entitled by law to EITHER:

  • A similar replacement vehicle.
    OR
  • A refund of the purchase price, minus a reasonable allowance for the miles the vehicle was actually driven.

If you feel that you have purchased a lemon in the District of Columbia, you can report it to the Office of the Attorney General. You may use theConsumer Complaint Form.

Sometimes it's the manufacturer who finds the problem. In the case of a design flaw or a faulty part that affects a number of vehicles, you might get a letter from the maker recalling the vehicle. Should this happen, don't worry―when you take your car in for the required repair, the manufacturer will pay for it.

If you think you might have a claim under the lemon law, it's important that you keep detailed, accurate records of all repairs, conversations with your mechanic, and the problem itself. Make sure that you also save your repair receipts so that you can document all of the work that you have paid for in an effort to cure your ailing auto.

You can read all the legalese of D.C.'s lemon law yourself. It's all there in the D.C. Code.

Hiring a Lemon Law Attorney in WA, D.C.

It might take longer than you hoped to get this resolved. One way to expedite the process is to hire an attorney who specializes in lemon law cases.

A lawyer with experience in this area will know how the manufacturers typically respond to lemon law claims and might be able to head off any stonewalling or other tactics designed to get you to give up. When dealing with a lemon vehicle in Washington, D.C., you'll want your lawyer to:

  • Be experienced in lemon law cases.
  • Be local to WA, D.C. (Each state's lemon law is different.)
  • Come recommended.
    • Try to find reviews about the attorney before you hire him or her.
  • Affordable and up front about fees and payment terms.
  • Be trustworthy and make you feel comfortable.

During your first consultation with your lemon law attorney, ask how they can help with your case and what outcomes they've had in previous lemon law cases.

Benefits of Lemon Law Attorneys

Hiring a WA, D.C. lawyer who specializes in lemon law may be well worth the fees you'll pay. Unless you know all the fine details of the Washington, D.C. lemon law, you may find it difficult to be fully reimbursed by the vehicle manufacturer.

A lawyer can also help by:

  • Keeping track of the documents you'll need to claim your compensation.
  • Representing you in court.
  • Negotiating with the car manufacturer and their attorneys.
  • Offer support and assistance from start to finish.

A lemon law attorney can take a lot of stress out of dealing with a lemon vehicle.

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