Maine Lemon Law
Maine is one of the country’s leaders in lemon law and other protections for consumers who buy lemons. Here is a summary of Maine’s lemon law:
New cars: Yes
Used cars: Yes
Business vehicles: Yes
Leased vehicles: Yes
Lemon law period: 3 years/18,000 miles
What is a Lemon Car Under Maine Lemon Law?
Maine lemon law covers new, used, and leased cars, SUVs, vans, trucks, motorcycles, and RVs that are purchased in Maine from a new car dealer. Covered vehicles are those with defects that occur within the manufacturer’s express warranty, three years from the original owner’s date of delivery, or 18,000 miles on the odometer, whichever comes first. In order to be considered a “lemon,” the vehicle must meet the following requirements:
- 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 three years from the original owner’s delivery date, before the expiration of the manufacturer’s warranty, or before there are 18,000 miles on the odometer (whichever period ends first)
- Has been taken in three times for the same problem, one time for a serious failure of the braking or steering system, or if it has been out of service for 15 business days due to a series of unrelated problems
- Is for personal use or is owned by a business that registers fewer than three vehicles
- The manufacturer has been notified and has been given a final attempt at repairing the vehicle
- You have participated in the manufacturer’s informal dispute resolution process or the Maine lemon law Arbitration Program.
There are a number of other Maine laws that can be helpful if your vehicle doesn’t meet the definitions of a lemon, including:
- If your brand new car is seriously defective, you can reject it using the Maine Uniform Commercial Code. The Main Attorney General recommends that you consult an attorney in order to properly reject a vehicle.
- Maine’s implied warranty law states that you can initiate a court action within four years of purchase.
- Eligibility for damages if the dealer made substantial repairs to a “new” vehicle before selling it to you.
- You can participate in the Maine Lemon Law Arbitration Program if you apply within two years from the date your vehicle was originally sold and if the vehicle is within the manufacturer’s warranty period.
Maine Revised Statutes 10 1161-1169 is the state’s lemon law.
Getting Lemon Justice: Maine Lemon Law Relief
Maine 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 monetary award, which can include:
- The full purchase price of the vehicle
- Registration fees
- Sales tax
- Document fees
- Title fees
- Interest paid on vehicle financing
- Towing and alternative transportation fees
- Expert witness fees
- Attorney’s fees/li>
The amount of the monetary reward may be reduced by a deduction for your use of the vehicle, calculated as one-third of the IRS standard deduction for operating a car for business miles driven, or 10% of the purchase price, whichever is less.
Pursuing a ME Lemon Law Claim
Under Maine lemon law, before you are eligible to file a lemon law claim in court, you must participate in your vehicle manufacturer’s dispute resolution process (for example, arbitration, conciliation, or mediation) if they have one, or the Maine Lemon Law Arbitration Program. You must also notify the manufacturer of the problem with your vehicle after the third repair attempt (or the first for a serious defect in the steering or braking system), and give the manufacturer the opportunity to fix it one last time. The demand letter should be sent certified mail, with a return receipt requested. Here’s a sample demand letter that you can adapt for your use.
Once the manufacturer receives your letter, they have seven days to make a final repair attempt. If they don’t attempt to fix the problem, or if they can’t fix the problem, you can enter the state arbitration program. With state arbitration, after your request has been accepted, you’ll get a decision within 45 days.
If you do not agree with the arbitrator’s decision, you have the right to either appeal it in court or to file a new court action against the manufacturer.
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 12,000 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 Maine lemon, give us a call today. We understand your frustration, and will do our best to deliver the justice you deserve.