Lemon law will protect Chrysler owners

Here’s some sweet news for Chrysler owners: the Chrysler Group and Fiat have agreed to honor the “Lemon Law” rights of buyers when the new company takes control of the U.S. auto maker, Attorney General Rob McKenna announced June 3.

Here’s some sweet news for Chrysler owners: the Chrysler Group and Fiat have agreed to honor the “Lemon Law” rights of buyers when the new company takes control of the U.S. auto maker, Attorney General Rob McKenna announced June 3.

“The Lemon Law provides important protections for consumers whose new vehicles have recurring problems,” he said. “Under this agreement, the new Chrysler Group will honor those rights for vehicles sold or leased prior to the closure of the ‘old’ Chrysler.

“Not only does this agreement help consumers, but increased consumer confidence means more sales, benefiting the company and its workers,” he said.

A group of attorneys general and counsel for the National Association of Attorneys General negotiated the agreement, which is contained in the Bankruptcy Court judge’s order issued June 1. The Washington Attorney General’s Office assisted in drafting the terms.

McKenna said the states are watching the General Motors bankruptcy carefully for similar issues.

Washington’s Lemon Law allows vehicle owners to request an arbitration hearing through the Attorney General’s Office. To qualify, a car must be new or have fewer than 24,000 miles when it was purchased or leased.

Consumers who were sold a “lemon” have the option to have the vehicle replaced or bought back by the manufacturer if one of the following conditions applies:

• The vehicle has been in the shop four or more times for the same problem which still exists;

• The vehicle has been in the shop at least twice because of a defect likely to cause death or substantial bodily injury and the problem still exists;

• The vehicle has been out of service for any number of problems at least 30 days. The days out of service do not need to be consecutive;

• Beginning July 26, a vehicle will also qualify if two or more different “serious safety defects” occur within a year and attempts to diagnose or repair the problems were unsuccessful.

More information about the Lemon Law is available online at www.atg.wa.gov/lemonlaw.aspx.

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