ME Lemon Law Statutes

Maine Lemon Law Qualifications

The Maine Lemon Law, 10 M.R.S.A. § 1161-1169, protects consumers who have serious defects in their new or used vehicles. The law defines a "lemon" as a vehicle either purchased or leased in Maine, which has a defect that substantially impairs the use, safety or value of the vehicle, and which has not been repaired after a reasonable number of attempts. If your vehicle is found to be a lemon then the manufacturer must give you a replacement vehicle or refund your money.

What Vehicles Are Cover ed By The Lemon Law?

The Maine Lemon Law covers any new or used car, motorcycle, van, truck or RV, bought or leased in Maine from a dealer and which is still within th e Lemon Law's "term of protection." This Lemon "protection period" is the length of the manufacturer's express warranty, or three 3 years from the date of delivery to the original consumer buyer, or 18,000 miles of use, whichever comes first. You must notify the manufacturer or the dealer about your vehicle's defect before this protection period ends. Subsequent owners can still be eligible for state lemon law arbitration. This can happen if you purchased the vehicle used but it is still protected by the manufacturer's original express warranty.

Even if they fall within the protection period, the following cars are not covered by the Lemon Law: (1) those purchased for a governmental agency, a business which registers three or more vehicles, (2) primarily commercial vehicle that have gross vehicle weight (G.V.W.) of 8,500 pounds or more, or (3) vehicles purchased in order to resell them.

What Problems Are Not Covered By The Lemon Law?

The Lemon Law Does Not cover vehicles with the following types of problems:

  • defects which do not substantially impair the vehicle's use, value, or safety;
  • defects caused by owner negligence;
  • defects resulting from accident, or vandalism;
  • defects resulting from unauthorized repair or alteration of the vehicle by a person other than the manufacturer, its agents or authorized dealers; or
  • defects that subjectively but not objectively shakes the buyer's confidence in the integrity of the vehicle.

Maine Arbitration Requirements

If a substantial defect still exists or recurs af ter a reasonable number of repair attempts, the consumer has the right to a refund or a replacement vehicle. If the manufacturer refuses to take back your vehicle you can seek a State Lemon La w Arbitration Hearing and receive a decision within 45 days of the acceptance of your application. This state arbitration service is provided to you at no cost, except for the $1.00 Lemon Law fee you pay when you buy a new vehicle. Please keep in mind that not all car problems are serious enough to qualify for relief under the Lemon Law. You must apply for State Lemon Arbitration within three 2 years from the date your car was originally sold and within the manufacturer's warranty coverage period.

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