What to Know About the Georgia Lemon Law
Apr 26, 2022 by Juan Herrera, Vice President, Dispute Resolution Programs, BBB National Programs
When it comes to cars, we have come to understand that a “lemon” generally refers to a bad vehicle, but if you need to pursue legal remedies it is important to know that the term “lemon” has a very specific definition – one that differs depending on where you live.
All fifty states and the District of Columbia have their own lemon laws that spell out what makes a car a lemon, along with the rights and obligations of both the consumer and manufacturer. While some similarities exist, the terms, requirements, and protections of the statutes vary from state to state.
Our website provides an overview of each state’s lemon laws. In addition, our ongoing blog series offers further insights on the laws for select states, and how BBB AUTO LINE can support consumers with lemon law disputes. Florida, California, and Texas have been covered. This post reviews the nuances of the lemon law in the Peachtree State – Georgia.
What is the Georgia lemon law?
Georgia's lemon law is designed to help you get a defective vehicle repaired by the manufacturer. If your motor vehicle cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts, the law requires the manufacturer to replace or buy back the vehicle.
The complete text is referred to as Georgia Code Section 10-1-780 et seq.
What vehicles are covered?
The law covers vehicles under manufacturer warranty that are bought or leased new in Georgia or registered in Georgia by the original owner, including demonstrator vehicles and self-propelled motorhomes (chassis and coach).
Used vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds, golf carts, all-terrain vehicles, boats, trucks with a Gross Vehicle Weight (G.V.W.) rating of more than 12,000 pounds, and vehicles that are not self-propelled (such as trailers or campers) are not included.
Who is covered under the Georgia lemon law?
Consumers are covered if they:
- Purchase or lease a new motor vehicle for personal, family, or household use.
- Purchase or lease no more than ten new motor vehicles a year for business purposes other than limousine rental services.
What problems does the lemon law cover?
The Georgia lemon law covers the following issues:
- Any defect that creates a serious safety hazard. This means a life-threatening defect or a malfunction that impedes the consumer’s ability to control or operate the motor vehicle for ordinary use or reasonable intended purposes or creates a risk of fire or explosion.
- Any other defect or condition that:
- Substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of a new motor vehicle to the consumer; or
- Renders the new motor vehicle nonconforming to the manufacturer’s express warranty.
The law does not include a defect, a serious safety defect, or a condition resulting from abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modification or alteration of the new motor vehicle.
The defect or condition must occur and be reported to the manufacturer or the manufacturer’s authorized dealer within two years after the date of the original delivery of the new motor vehicle to a consumer, or the first 24,000 miles of operation after delivery to the original consumer, whichever comes first. This is known as the lemon law rights period.
What is considered a “reasonable” number of repair attempts?
The Georgia law states that a manufacturer’s attempts to repair is reasonable, if:
- A serious safety defect has not been corrected after one repair.
- The same nonconformity has not been corrected after being subject to repair three times; or
- The car was out of service for repairs of one or more nonconformities for a cumulative total of 30 days. Weekends and holidays count toward those 30 days if your vehicle is in for repair.
Note: If the lemon law rights period expires while the vehicle is being repaired, the timeframe is extended until that repair attempt has been completed.
Final Opportunity to Repair
If the manufacturer is unable to repair and correct the defect after a reasonable number of attempts, the consumer must allow the manufacturer a final opportunity to repair, as follows:
- The consumer must notify the manufacturer by statutory overnight delivery or certified mail, return receipt requested, of the need to repair and correct the nonconformity. Note: the address is provided in the owner’s manual and remember to keep receipt of delivery.
- The manufacturer then has twenty-eight days from receiving the consumer’s notice to complete the final repair.
- Within seven days of receiving the notice, the manufacturer must notify the consumer of a reasonably accessible repair facility to take the car for the final repair attempt.
Note: If the consumer takes the vehicle to the facility more than 14 days after the manufacturer received the initial consumer notice, the 28-day period is extended to allow the manufacturer 14 days from the date the consumer delivers the vehicle to the repair facility to complete the final repair attempt.
Also, the final opportunity to repair is not required if the vehicle is out of service for 30 days within the lemon law rights period for the repair of one or more nonconformities.
What is the manufacturer’s duty to repurchase or replace a vehicle?
If the manufacturer, through its agent or dealer, is unable to correct a nonconformity after the final repair attempt, or if the vehicle was out of service by reason of repair to one or more nonconformities for a cumulative total of 30 days within the lemon law rights period, the consumer must request (by certified mail, return receipt requested, or statutory overnight delivery) that the manufacturer either repurchase or replace the vehicle (consumer’s choice). The manufacturer must, within 20 days of receipt of this last request, abide by the request.
In Georgia, the lemon law allows the manufacturer to charge the consumer a fee for use of the new vehicle during the time when it was not defective if the vehicle is ultimately repurchased by the manufacturer. This fee is called the “reasonable offset for use” and is calculated by multiplying the car’s purchase price by the miles attributed to use on the date the consumer first delivered the vehicle for the repair of the nonconformity and dividing by 120,000.
How can BBB AUTO LINE help?
If you have an unresolved warranty dispute:
- You may file a claim with BBB AUTO LINE for possible resolution by mutual agreement with the manufacturer or a non-binding decision made by a neutral arbitrator.
- You may also go through state-mandated arbitration administered by the Georgia Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Division.
BBB AUTO LINE is an out-of-court mediation and arbitration dispute resolution program, and its mediation and arbitration services are free to vehicle owners of participating manufacturers.
To be eligible for BBB AUTO LINE support, your claim must involve one of our participating manufacturers and fall within the eligibility guidelines set forth by that manufacturer’s program.
BBB AUTO LINE is one of the largest and longest-running 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 about BBB AUTO LINE, or to open a claim, go to bbbautoline.org, or call us at 1-800-955-5100.