Lemon Law in Indiana
Buying any new product―and then finding that it doesn't work quite right―can be a frustrating experience. However, it's much worse when the product costs a lot of money, and you depend on it daily. Such as your car.
Indiana does have rules in place to help you with new car problems, though. It's referred to as the state's Lemon Law, or officially as the Motor Vehicle Protection Act.
Is My Vehicle a Lemon?
Your vehicle may be considered a lemon if you bought it new and:
- It's had an ongoing defect that the dealer or manufacturer has made 4 attempts to fix.
- It has been in the shop for at least 30 business days in total for repairs.
Your car will be covered under the Indiana lemon law if you reported the issues to your manufacturer or authorized dealer:
- Within 18 months of receiving it.
- Before the odometer reaches 18,000 miles.
Documenting Your Issues and Repairs
In the event that you experience these issues with your car, make sure to do the following:
- Keep an accurate record of each time you take your vehicle in for any repair, or just have routine maintenance done.
- Follow the manufacturer's maintenance requirements closely, as the manufacturer may later try to show that you haven't taken proper care of your vehicle.
- Keep a log of your vehicle's problems and defects. If you need to go back to have a problem fixed, make sure to describe it the same way when you go back.
The following are not covered under Indiana's Lemon Law:
- Motor homes.
- Conversion vans.
- Off-road vehicles.
If your vehicle is listed above, you may still have some protection, just not under Indiana's Lemon Law. If you received a warranty from the dealer when you bought it, you might have some coverage under the Federal Magnuson Moss Warranty Act.
Filing an Indiana Lemon Law Claim
If you've given the dealer the required time to fix the trouble, but your car still isn't running properly, you'll need to take a look at the owner's manual or warranty to determine what to do next.
- If written notice of car trouble is required to be given to the manufacturer before you may attempt to receive a refund or replacement, then you'll have to comply. Be sure to include copies of all the repair reports. Send everything to the manufacturer's address as listed in the manual.
- If the manufacturer already has some sort of informal dispute resolution in place that's been approved by the Indiana Attorney General, then you'll have to follow along with whatever those procedures might be. Afterwards, if you're not satisfied with the resolution, you may then file a lawsuit using the Lemon Law.
If you win the resolution, the manufacturer has 30 days to either replace your vehicle with one of comparable value, or refund your money. It will be your choice. If you choose to take the money, you will be given the purchase price (including any trade-in allowance or other credit) minus a reasonable allowance for use. Also, the manufacturer is liable for any costs associated with the car trouble, such as towing or rental car fees.
If the warranty or manual doesn't mention anything about filing a written notice, and if the manufacturer doesn't have an informal dispute resolution in place, you may simply proceed with filing a lawsuit under the Lemon Law. All lawsuits must be made within 2 years from the first time you reported the problem to the dealer.Contact the Indiana Attorney General at:
Attorney General's Office
Consumer Protection Division
302 W. Washington St., 5th Floor
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: (317) 232-6330
If you win the lawsuit, the manufacturer will have to pay for your legal costs.
Buying a Used "Lemon"
After a manufacturer takes back a car, it has the right to repair it and send it back to a dealer, who may then re-sell it.
However, the manufacturer must obtain another title for the car. The title will have "Manufacturer Buyback Disclosure on File" on it, and this label will stay with the vehicle for as long as it's around.
Also, the first time that the dealer sells the vehicle, it must let the new buyer know, in writing, at the time of the sale, that the car had been returned to the manufacturer under the Lemon Law. The buyer will also receive a manufacturer's warranty of at least 12 months or 12,000 miles.
Hiring an IN Lemon Law Attorney
When choosing an Indiana lawyer to represent you in your lemon law case, look for the following:
- Experience and knowledge.
- Find a lawyer with specific knowledge of the IN lemon law and experience in handling similar cases.
- Make sure you can afford their fees and can make payment on time.
- A proven track record.
- Ask about cases they've won and those they haven't.
Benefits of Lemon Law Attorneys
There are many benefits to hiring a lemon law attorney in Indiana. If you're thinking of hiring a lawyer, you are likely already aware of how difficult a car manufacturer can be when it comes to dealing with a lemon.
An Indiana lemon law attorney can:
- Bring experience and confidence to your case.
- Negotiate with the manufacturer and their lawyers on your behalf.
- Show the manufacturer that you're serious about receiving compensation.
- Help to negotiate a settlement, even if you car isn't considered a lemon, but has many defects.
Lawyers specializing in lemon law will also be able to answer any questions you may have through the entire process and see it through from start to finish.