Hawaii Lemon Law
Living in Hawaii is like living in paradise, but owning a defective car is nothing more than a nightmare. If you think you’ve bought a lemon, know that you have recourse. Here’s a recap of Hawaii’s lemon law:
New cars: Yes
Used cars: Yes
Business vehicles: Yes
Leased vehicles: Yes
Lemon law period: 2 years/24,000 miles
What is a Lemon Car Under Hawaii Lemon Law?
Hawaii lemon law covers new passenger vehicles, SUVs, vans, and trucks under 10,000 pounds, used vehicles that are sold during the new car warranty period, motorcycles, and demonstrators that are sold as new motor vehicles with manufacturer’s warranties. In order to be considered a “lemon,” the vehicle must meet the following requirements:
- Must be purchased, leased, or initially registered in Hawaii
- Does not conform to the manufacturer’s express warranty
- Has substantial defects affecting the use, safety or value of the vehicle
- Has manufacturer’s defects that occurred during the first two years from the delivery date, the first 24,000 miles on the odometer, or before the express warranty expired (whichever comes first)
- Has been taken in one time for a defect that could cause death or serious bodily injury; has been taken in for the same defect three times; or the vehicle has been in for service for a cumulative total of 30 days for a number of unrelated defects
- After the dealer has tried to repair the vehicle the required number of times, the manufacturer has been notified via certified mail and has had the opportunity to make a final repair attempt
- The vehicle is used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes; the vehicle is individually registered but used for business purposes and for personal, family, or household purposes; or the vehicle is owned or leased by a business that has purchased or leased no more than one car per year, and that is used for household, individuals, or personal use in addition to business use
Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 481-I and 481-J are the state’s lemon laws.
Getting Lemon Justice: Hawaii Lemon Law Relief
Hawaii lemon law provides several options for a successful lemon law claimant. First, you may be awarded a replacement vehicle of the same year, make, and model. You may also qualify for a refund, which can include:
- Down payment
- Net trade-in
- Monthly payments made as of the date of the hearing
- Collateral charges, such as dealer charges, dealer-installed items, and extended warranty
- Incidental charges, such as towing, alternate transportation, and repair charges
The amount of the refund may be reduced by a deduction for your use of the vehicle, which is calculated by dividing the mileage at the last repair attempt by 1,000, and multiplying that amount by 1% of the purchase price.
Pursuing a HI Lemon Law Claim
If you want to pursue a claim under Hawaii’s lemon law, you must first send a notification to the manufacturer and give them one last chance to repair the vehicle. According to the law, the notification letter must be sent by certified mail, with a return receipt requested. See an example of a demand letter that you can adapt and mail yourself.
Once the manufacturer receives your letter, give them 10-14 days to fix the problem. If the problem still isn’t fixed, you must file a request for arbitration with the State Certified Arbitration Program. You must file your request within one year after the lemon law rights period has ended.
If your application is accepted, you will be notified by the SCAP Administrator. The arbitration will be scheduled and the arbitrator’s decision will be due within 45 days. Prior to the arbitration, you can elect to participate in binding or non-binding arbitration; if the arbitration is non-binding, you or the manufacturer have 30 days to file a case in court or the arbitration decision will become binding.
How We Can Help
Wherever you are in the lemon law claim process, we’re happy to help. Whether you need help gathering the material documenting your lemon, submitting the final demand letter, negotiating a settlement, or appealing the arbitration decision, Lemberg Law will be at your side every step of the way.
Helping consumers is what we do. We’ve helped more than 15,000 people recover more than $35 million. You can read more about us here.
Remember that vehicle manufacturers have teams of lawyers that do nothing but fight lemon law claims. Lemon laws try to level playing field by forcing automakers to pay the consumer’s attorney fees in successful lemon law claims. That’s why our representation won’t cost you a dime.
There’s a limited window of opportunity for filing a lemon law claim. If you suspect you have a Hawaii lemon, give us a call today. We understand your frustration, and will do our best to deliver the justice you deserve.