What to Know About the Ohio Lemon Law
Sep 21, 2022 by Juan Herrera, Vice President, Dispute Resolution Programs, BBB National Programs
Is your vehicle a lemon? If it is, what can you do? These are the questions we’re answering in our blog series examining how state lemon laws help protect vehicle owners from being stuck with defective vehicles.
As you know from our previous blogs, qualifications for lemon law protections differ state by state. We’ve looked at how North Carolina, New York, Georgia, Texas, California, and Florida define a lemon. Now it is time to look at the state of Ohio.
What is the Ohio lemon law?
Ohio’s lemon law protects you if you buy or lease a new vehicle and find that it has serious problems.
The law covers warranty issues that substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety, as long as those problems occur and are reported within the first 12 months, or 18,000 miles, whichever comes first (the protection period). It does not cover a defect or condition that is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications or alterations of the motor vehicle.
What vehicles are covered?
The law applies to:
- Passenger cars designed for carrying not more than nine persons, or 15 persons in a ridesharing arrangement,
- Motorcycles and other noncommercial motor vehicles such as farm/pickup trucks designed to carry no more than a one-ton load, and
- Motor homes (except cooking and sleeping facilities).
Purchased vehicles and leased vehicles are both covered. Vehicles that are more than one year old or have been driven more than 18,000 miles are not covered.
Who is covered under the Ohio lemon law?
Consumers are covered if they:
- Purchased the motor vehicle in Ohio, unless the purchase was made for resale purposes.
- Are leasing the vehicle in Ohio for 30 days or more.
The law also covers the subsequent transferee of a vehicle if it is acquired during the warranty period.
What is the manufacturer’s duty to repair?
If you have problems with your vehicle during the protection period, the manufacturer or dealer must be given a reasonable opportunity to fix the problem.
What is considered a “reasonable” number of repair attempts?
Under Ohio law, the manufacturer is presumed to have had a reasonable opportunity to repair your vehicle if:
- The same nonconformity has been subject to repair three or more times and continues to exist;
- The vehicle is out of service by reason of repair for a cumulative total of thirty or more calendar days;
- There have been eight or more attempts to repair any nonconformity that substantially impairs the use and value of the motor vehicle to the consumer (Note: this is unique to Ohio’s lemon law – most lemon laws provide for a certain amount of repair attempts, usually three or four, to the same nonconformity);
- There has been at least one attempt to repair a nonconformity that results in a condition that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven, and the nonconformity continues to exist.
The repair attempts may extend beyond the protection period.
What is the manufacturer’s duty to replace or repurchase a vehicle?
Once it is clear that your vehicle has not been fixed, the manufacturer must, at your option, replace the vehicle with an acceptable new vehicle or repurchase the vehicle. It is important to note that Ohio law gives the consumer an option to choose between a replacement or repurchase remedy. (Most other lemon laws provide that the consumer cannot be forced to take a replacement but do not allow the consumer to choose between the two – meaning a consumer cannot choose a replacement instead of a repurchase.)
In the case of a purchased vehicle, the refund consists of:
- The contract price, plus the costs for transportation, undercoating, dealer-installed options and accessories, dealer services, preparation, and delivery charges.
- The costs for financing and credit insurance, as well as any warranty and service charges.
- Taxes and any other government charges, including state sales tax, license fees, and registration fees.
In the case of a lease:
- The down payment, security deposit, taxes, title fees, all monthly lease payments, and the residual value of the vehicle.
- All finance, credit insurance, warranty, and service contract charges.
- Any fees charged by the lender or lessor for making or canceling the loan or lease.
In addition, for both purchased and leased vehicles, all incidental expenses incurred as a result of the nonconformity, such as charges for towing, vehicle rental, meals, and lodging, must be reimbursed.
Can a dealership sell a repaired lemon?
In Ohio, lemons returned to the manufacturer or dealer can be resold unless they were returned for a problem that could cause death or serious injury. The manufacturer must brand the vehicle as a buyback, provide a fair warning notice as to why it was returned, and warranty protection.
If you buy a returned lemon, your legal protection differs from that of a new-car buyer. The notice, warranty, and title brand serve as your warning that you are buying a vehicle that was returned as a lemon.
Dispute resolution - how can BBB AUTO LINE help?
If you have an unresolved warranty dispute in Ohio, BBB AUTO LINE may be able to help.
- If the manufacturer uses BBB AUTO LINE or an arbitration program that has been certified by the Ohio attorney general, you must use that program before filing a lawsuit.
- Whether or not an arbitration program has been certified, decisions reached through arbitration are binding only when a consumer accepts the decision.
- If you’re unhappy with the outcome of the arbitration, you may bring a civil action in court as long as the suit is filed within five years of the delivery of the vehicle.
BBB AUTO LINE is one of the largest and longest-running out-of-court dispute resolution programs in the United States. For the past 40 years, we have helped consumers and businesses resolve vehicle warranty, lemon law, and class action disputes in a hassle-free, timely, and cost-effective manner.
To learn more, go to bbbautoline.org, or call us at 1-800-955-5100.