What can the Arkansas Lemon Law do if I have a lemon vehicle?
Under the right circumstances, it can make the manufacturer replace or buy it back if your personal use vehicle had a defect that substantially impaired the use or market value of the vehicle or safety and that was not, or could not, be fixed in a timely manner.
What vehicles are not covered by the Arkansas Lemon Law?
The Arkansas Lemon Law covers cars and light trucks but not mopeds, motorcycles or vehicles over 10,000 lbs. It also covers the non-living portions of conversion vans and motor homes.
How do I know if I have a lemon in Arkansas?
A lemon motor vehicle in Arkansas is one where the same defect has been repaired 3 or more times or one attempt to repair a defect that is likely to cause death or serious injury within the first 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes later. The manufacturer's dealer is only allowed a limited number of chances to repair defects in your vehicle. If the manufacturer (through its repairing dealer) does not get it fixed in time, then it is automatically presumed that you've got a lemon.
I think I have a lemon vehicle in Arkansas, so what do I do now?
Contact the manufacturer directly and start negotiating. Write a letter, write an email, send a fax, saying that you think you have a lemon, it's been in shop either 3 times or one time for a deadly defect and saying that you will give them one last chance to fix it if they contact you within ten days (you have to do that to use the state lemon law). And make notes of everything as it happens. And send copies to the dealer too. If the problem has not been fixed and you meet any one (or both) of the definitions of a lemon vehicle, then once the ten days lapses, ask them to replace it or buy it back in writing, your choice. If they won't do it, then you may want to complain to the Arkansas Attorney General's Consumer Protection Office or contact a private attorney. Make notes of everything that you say to them and they say to you, so you have a record in case you need it later
The manufacturer wants to charge me for my mileage (a "usage fee"), do I have to do that in Arkansas?
Yes, but only a reasonable use allowance for your use up to the when it had its first repair attempt for a defect that became a lemon. The Arkansas Lemon Law assumes that you expected your car to last at least 120,000 miles so divide the actual sales price by 120,000 and then multiply it by the miles on the vehicle when your vehicle went into the shop for the first repair attempt of the defect that eventually made it a lemon. For instance if your car cost $35,000, then divided by 120,000 would mean 29 cents a mile. If you only had 5,000 miles on it when it first went in the dealer's repair shop for the defect that later made it a lemon then 5,000 multiplied by 29 cents would mean that you got $1,450 worth of use out of it so you have to pay that in order to get your lemon law remedy from the manufacturer. Note-the state law uses a different formula but it comes out the same as our simple formula does.
Should I file for arbitration for a lemon vehicle in Arkansas? What if I don't want to go that route to get rid of my lemon?
You probably don't have to use it but many motor vehicle manufacturers have a settlement process they call "arbitration" and you can use their process if you want and you don't have to hire a lawyer to do it, but you may at your own cost. If you don't want to go through the factory's "dispute resolution process" (that's what they sometimes call it) you may not have to but you should talk to an experienced Lemon Law attorney about the advantages and disadvantages of it. If you aren't satisfied with the offer the manufacturer makes, or with the result of arbitration (if you try it), then you should discuss your case with a Lemon Law attorney and find out just how strong (or weak) your case may be.
Do I have to hire a lawyer to use the Arkansas Lemon Law?
No, but you would probably do better if you did. There have been some studies done and they all come back the same way. You get paid more when you have a lawyer on your side. Why? You have to realize that when you try to negotiate with a manufacturer you will be dealing with professional negotiators who are paid to settle with you for as little as they can and, they are hoping it will be nothing at all if they can. This isn't going to be easy. They often tell you what they think the law is and why your case doesn't fit it and if you don't know the law then you probably don't know how to argue back with them. So how do you get ready for a lawyer? First decide what it is that you want and what the minimum is that you will settle for. Next, get all your paperwork together and write out a diary of everything that happened from beginning to end and then make an appointment to meet with your local Lemon Law attorney.
How can I find out more about the Arkansas Lemon Law and other consumer protection laws for lemon owners?
For more information, call the Arkansas Attorney General's Office, 1.501.682.2341. For online information go to www.USLemonLawyers.com for more information or legal help. There are some links below too.
What should I do next to use the Arkansas Lemon Motor Vehicle Law to get rid of my lemon in Arkansas?
If you are not sure what to do, then you should probably talk to a local lemon lawyer near you. Your lemon law lawyer will decide whether to file a lawsuit or attempt to negotiate "pre-suit" (which means without filing a lawsuit). If they don't make an offer that you can live with then you can expect that a lawsuit will likely be necessary. Your lemon law attorney can discuss the court process with you in detail and tell you how long it may take and what you can expect out of it. Most importantly, you should discuss with your attorney things like your continued use of the vehicle, what to do if more defects arise, the desirability of hiring an independent expert witness, and what you can do to help win you case. The Arkansas Lemon Law can help you get rid of your lemon vehicle but you should work with your lemon law attorney closely to get the best result.
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