If you find yourself with a lemon of a vehicle, here are some tips to help you utilize the lemon law.

Remember that if you’re stuck with a lemon, your complaint is with the manufacturer. Although your instinct may be to blame the car dealer, the dealer is just the middleman for the defective product.

1. Document your repairs and be accurate with each problem. Obtain copies of all warranty repair orders from the dealer and keep notes of your reported problems. Also, keep notes of all conversations you have with service people, including the date, time, and participants in these conversations.

2. Contact your state attorney general’s office or conduct other research to determine the provisions of your state’s lemon law. There are variations in each state’s laws.

3. Determine whether your previous efforts to repair the problem satisfy the requirements of your state’s lemon law. Most state laws allow the manufacturer three or four chances to repair the defect or defects.

4. Write to the manufacturer if problems persist. Explain how burdensome it is to continually repair the car, and how your trust in the product’s reliability has been shattered. Ask for reimbursement of your related expenses (such as a rental car, if it was needed), or other compensation for your troubled experience. Your particular state’s lemon law will prescribe methods for doing so.

5. State in your letter that you wish to exercise your right to a refund or replacement of the vehicle if you would rather not keep the lemon. Specify which option you desire.

6. Consider hiring an attorney if the manufacturer is unresponsive. Find an attorney who specializes in lemon law cases. Remember, though, that only some state lemon laws allow a consumer to recover attorneys’ fees when suing a manufacturer.

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