A newly released study by the Center for Auto Safety ranks Georgia’s Lemon Law 13th among the 51 US Lemon Laws. Georgia’s Lemon Law earned a B among US lemon laws, getting high points for its 1) damages allowed; 2) favorable offset for the consumer’s use of the vehicle; and 3) having a fair state run arbitration process.
For damages the following criteria were used:
- Unless the lemon law specifies particular items to be recovered, auto manufacturers will argue that it is not covered. While the consumer may win the battle of having a vehicle declared a lemon, they may lose the war of what should be reimbursed to the extent they are no better off than if they traded in the vehicle.
- To be fair to consumers and receive a good rating, a state lemon law must specify that in addition to purchase price which includes optional equipment, a refund must include: (a) taxes, tags, title and other fees, (b) incidental and consequential damages including towing, repairs, insurance, (c) interest payments and finance charges, (d) rental car, alternate transportation and loss of use, (e) inconvenience.
While Georgia does not allow recovery for the inconvenience of lost time and annoyance with dealing with the lemon, ie emotional type damages, it is fairly liberal in the out of pocket type losses it allows. Thus in Georgia a consumer can recover his taxes, tag, title, dealer fees, incidental and consequential damages like rental car or alternative transportation, interest paid, added accessories.
Georgia computes its offset for use using the mileage at the time of the first repair attempt and uses a formula involving the price of the car and an anticipated life of 120,000 miles.
Price x mileage at time of first repair attempt / 120,000
Georgia did receive a score deduction for requiring a consumer to give up rights under other laws to use the lemon law. Georgia’s score is listed below.
|Garden Variety Lemon||6|
|Vehicle Use Offset||8|
|Penalty for Violation||4|
|Vehicle Types Covered||6|
In a related point, used car dealers often “launder” lemon cars from other states by saying that laws such as California’s lemon law are very liberal and easy to win for the consumer even with the most trivial problem. California has the same basic presumption score as Georgia. New Jersey, Hawaii and New Jersey score the best for consumers on the ease of proof.
A recent New York Times article calls attention to this study.