Lemon Law

What Are My Options?

If your manufacturer either fails to make a final attempt to repair the defect, or if the defect still exists after such an attempt, you may seek to receive a replacement vehicle or a refund via the following options:

Arbitration: Also known as informal dispute settlement, arbitration is an informal process that consumers may use to obtain speedy resolution of a warranty dispute without having to go to court, and it is legally binding on the manufacturer. At an arbitration hearing, the seller and buyer testify before an arbitrator about the condition of the vehicle. In New York, there are two types of arbitration for new cars:

  • New York State­Sponsored Arbitration: This program is administered by the American Arbitration Association (AAA). To participate in this program, you must request and complete a Request for Arbitration form from any of the Attorney General`s regional offices, and return it to the Attorney General`s New Car Lemon Law Arbitration Unit.
    1. Send your Request for Arbitration form to the Lemon Law Unit of the Division of Consumer Affairs : If your case is accepted for arbitration, the AAA will appoint an arbitrator and schedule a hearing within 35 days, and will request from you a filing fee.
    2. If your case is rejected, the form will be returned to you, with an explanation for the rejection.
    3. You may choose between having an oral hearing, or one which is based on documents only; however, the manufacturer has the right to object to a documents­only hearing, in which case an oral hearing will be held.
    4. You and the manufacturer have the right to have an attorney present at the arbitration hearing if you so desire, although the program is designed to be accessible to consumers without the need for legal representation.
    5. You may expect a decision generally within 10 days of the hearing. Decisions made under this program are binding on both parties.
    6. Either you or the manufacturer may commence a lawsuit to challenge an arbitrator`s award within 90 days of receipt of the decision; however, the grounds for such challenges are limited by law and difficult to reverse. If you have new facts to present, you may reapply for another arbitration procedure.
    7. If the arbitrator finds in your favor, you will be able to recover the program`s filing fee.
    8. The manufacturer has 30 days to comply with the arbitrator`s decision. Failure of the manufacturer to comply within this time period entitles you to recover an additional $25 for each business day of noncompliance, up to $500.
    9. If the manufacturer fails to comply at all, you can enforce the arbitrator`s decision in court, which you must do within one year of receipt of the decision.

    Manufacturer­Sponsored Arbitration: You may also choose to use the manufacturer`s dispute settlement program.

    If the manufacturer`s arbitration procedure is certified in the state of New York, the manufacturer may refuse to provide a refund until the consumer first participates in such procedure or in the state­run arbitration program. The manufacturer may also require that you utilize its arbitration program before you may file for lawsuit in court.

    You can find out if your manufacturer sponsors a certified arbitration program by reading the information accompanying your warranties, asking your dealer for information, or by contacting the New York Office of the Attorney General.

    Decisions made by manufacturer`s arbitration programs are not binding on you, so if you are not satisfied by such a decision, you may still apply for arbitration under the state`s arbitration program or file a lawsuit in court. However, any prior arbitration decision may be considered at any subsequent arbitration hearing or court proceeding.