Maryland's Lemon Law applies to new or leased motor vehicles (including cars, light trucks and motorcycles), registered in Maryland, that are less than 24 months old and have been driven less than 18,000 miles. The law provides for consumers whose cars meet certain criteria to receive a refund or a replacement vehicle if repair attempts have failed to correct a problem, and the problem substantially impairs the use and market value of the vehicle.
Not all new cars with problems qualify as lemons, but if yours does, you must take action quickly to receive relief under the law.
Maryland's lemon law applies only to cars, light trucks and motorcycles that:
The law provides that a dealer or manufacturer must correct a defect within 30 days after the consumer writes to the manufacturer by certified mail. If the manufacturer or dealer is unable to do so, the consumer is entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle under the Lemon Law if the car has:
If you suspect your car is a lemon -- for example, if the dealer has tried once or twice unsuccessfully to repair the problem and you believe the problem substantially impairs the use and market value of the vehicle -- you should write to the manufacturer immediately. You do not need to wait until the dealer has made the four repair attempts, or until the car has been out of service for 30 days.
All car manufacturers offer some form of complaint resolution procedure. If the manufacturer will not agree to repurchase or replace your car, it may offer to submit your dispute to arbitration. This is an optional procedure; whether or not you use it is your choice. The decision of the arbitrator is binding only on the manufacturer, not the consumer. If you are not satisfied with the arbitrator's decision, you may still file a lawsuit against the manufacturer and take your case to court.
If you plan to submit your complaint to arbitration, here are some steps you should take to prepare: