FAQs

Georgia Lemon Law

What is the purpose of the Lemon Law?
The Georgia Lemon Law is a self-help statute whose primary goal is to have the manufacturer of your motor vehicle fix any defects.  If your vehicle cannot be repaired in a reasonable number of attempts and is found to be a "lemon," the law requires the manufacturer to replace or buy back (repurchase) the vehicle.  It also alerts manufacturers to possible defects and quality issues in the vehicles they produce.
Which consumers are covered by the Lemon Law?
You are covered by this law if:
  • You purchase or lease a new motor vehicle for personal, family or household use; or
  • You purchase or lease ten or fewer new motor vehicles a year for business purposes other than limousine rental services.
Does the Lemon Law cover all vehicles?

No.  Only new motor vehicles are covered by the Georgia Lemon Law.  This means new, self-propelled vehicles that are primarily designed to transport people or property over public highways and were purchased, leased or registered in Georgia on or after January 1, 2009.  The title of the vehicle must still be in the name of the person who originally purchased or leased it and cannot have been previously issued to anyone other than the new motor vehicle dealer.

REMEMBER:  If you purchased, leased or registered your new motor vehicle in Georgia before January 1, 2009, the lemon law in effect at that time – the Warranty Rights Act – governs your rights.  Visit our website for information regarding that law.

What vehicles are not covered?
  • Vehicles purchased or leased as used
  • Vehicles whose title and other transfer documents indicate they are used
  • Vehicles that have been titled to any person or entity other than the new motor vehicle dealer, before being titled to you
  • Motorcycles and mopeds
  • Trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 12,000 pounds
  • All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
  • Boats
  • Vehicles that are not self-propelled, such as trailers and campers
Are motor homes covered?

Yes, if they are self-propelled.  The coach and chassis of a motor home are covered by the Georgia Lemon Law.  They are generally made by separate manufacturers.  However, those parts of a motor home that are designated, used or maintained primarily as living quarters or as office or commercial space are not covered by the Georgia Lemon Law.

Are demonstrator models covered?
Yes.  A demonstrator vehicle can also be considered a new motor vehicle as long as it is titled as new and has not been titled to any person or entity other than the new motor vehicle dealer, before being titled to you.
What is my truck’s GVWR?

The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the maximum allowable total weight of the vehicle when loaded to capacity, including the weight of the vehicle itself, all occupants, fuel, cargo and any other miscellaneous items.  Typically, you can find the GVWR on the driver’s side door jamb of your truck.  If you cannot find it there, it should be listed on the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin.  That document should be on file with the tag agent in the county where your vehicle is registered.

Trucks with a GVWR of more than 12,000 pounds are not eligible under the Lemon Law.

What kinds of defects are covered by the Lemon Law?
  • Any serious safety defect

  • Any other defect or condition that:

(a) substantially impairs the vehicle’s use, value or safety to the consumer

OR

(b) renders the new motor vehicle nonconforming to a manufacturer’s warranty

What is a serious safety defect?

A serious safety defect is a life-threatening defect or a malfunction that impedes the consumer’s ability to control or operate the vehicle for ordinary use or reasonable intended purposes or creates the risk of fire or explosion.

What kinds of defects are not covered?

The Lemon Law does not apply to any defect or condition that is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized modification or alteration of the vehicle.

What is the Lemon Law rights period?

The Lemon Law rights period is the period ending two years from the date you took delivery of the vehicle or after the first 24,000 miles of your use — whichever occurs first.  To determine the exact date your Lemon Law rights period expires, be mindful of the mileage you put on the vehicle and the time period that has elapsed since you acquired the vehicle.

  • For example, if you acquire the vehicle on June 1, 2010, and put fewer than 24,000 miles on your vehicle before two years from the date you acquired it has elapsed, then your Lemon Law rights period expires on June 1, 2012.

  • Conversely, if you acquire the vehicle on June 1, 2010, and put 24,000 miles on your vehicle before June 1, 2012, then your Lemon Law rights period expires on the day you reach the 24,000-mile threshold.  So if you put 24,000 miles on the vehicle as of August 1, 2011, your Lemon Law rights period would expire on that date.

After you determine the date your Lemon Law rights period expires, note it in your records.

Do miles already on the vehicle at delivery count towards the 24,000 miles?

No.  If, for example, there were 500 miles on your new motor vehicle at the time you acquired it, your Lemon Law rights period would expire two years from the date of delivery or at 24,500 miles (on your odometer), whichever occurred first.

What if my vehicle is in for repair when my rights period expires?

If the vehicle is being repaired by the dealer or manufacturer’s authorized agent on the date the Lemon Law rights period expires, the Lemon Law rights period is extended until the repair work is completed.

What should I do if I think my vehicle is a “lemon?”

Verify that you meet the eligibility requirements explained in this guide.  Then, you must allow the dealer or manufacturer’s authorized agent a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle’s problem within the Lemon Law rights period.

If the defect is still present after you have made a reasonable number of repair attempts, you must give the manufacturer a final opportunity to correct it.  The number of repair attempts considered "reasonable" is determined by the type of defect (or by days out of service, which does not require a final repair attempt).  See Step 1 in the "Steps to Follow" section for specifics.

If the manufacturer is unable to correct the defect on the final attempt and fails to buy back or replace the vehicle on request, you may qualify for a vehicle repurchase or replacement award through a certified informal dispute settlement program, state-operated arbitration, or both.

You will find a more detailed explanation under "Steps to Follow."  Although the entire process of seeking restitution may appear lengthy, it can be well worth your while to pursue your rights and to follow all of these directions very carefully.

What remedies are available to me if my vehicle cannot be repaired?
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you have the right to request that the manufacturer either repurchase or replace your vehicle.  If the manufacturer is unwilling to provide either of these remedies, the law gives you the right to an arbitration process.
Is there a time limit to file for arbitration?

Yes.   You are required to file an application within one (1) year of the expiration of the Lemon Law rights period.

At the time of printing this publication, no manufacturer has a certified informal dispute settlement program in Georgia, so consumers can proceed directly to state arbitration.  However, if in the future the manufacturer of your vehicle has obtained Georgia certification for its informal dispute settlement program, you would be required to file your claim with that certified informal dispute settlement program before you proceed to state-operated arbitration.

Be sure to refer to our website immediately before requesting your state arbitration application to determine which manufacturers, if any, have had their informal dispute settlement programs certified in Georgia.

What if the manufacturer tells me I must use their program?

You are not required to participate in any manufacturer program, including, but not limited to, the Better Business Bureau AUTO LINE, the National Center for Dispute Settlement (NCDS), or CAP-Motors.

It is a violation of Georgia law to represent to a consumer that a Lemon Law dispute must be submitted to a manufacturer’s program that is not certified by this office.  If the manufacturer, a dealer, or any program’s representative tells you that you must use their program, call 404-651-9397 to report this potential violation and provide us details.

What type of documentation or proof do I need to make my case?

Always keep copies of any correspondence to or from the manufacturer or dealer, and always make a note of the date and substance of any phone conversations you have with them.

You are required to submit various written notices throughout the process, and you must send these notices by either overnight mail delivery or certified mail.  You will need to request a return receipt each time, which should be kept with your records as proof of delivery.

Be sure to obtain an itemized repair order or statement from the authorized dealer each time the vehicle is submitted for diagnosis or repair, because it is a way to prove the attempts at repair.  (See Step 1 for more information.)

Is there a cost to me to proceed under the Lemon Law?

No.  This state-operated program is funded by the $3.00 fee you previously paid when you bought or leased your new motor vehicle.

Do I need to hire an attorney to represent me in my Lemon Law complaint?
Although you may elect to hire an attorney at your own expense to assist you, this is not required.  Most consumers who proceed under the Lemon Law do so without an attorney.  On very rare occasions, arbitration cases are appealed (see Step 5).  In that event, it is recommended that you consult an attorney.