Step 1:
Reasonable Number of Repair Attempts

If you believe your vehicle has a defect, you must establish that a reasonable number of attempts occurred within the Lemon Law rights period, regardless of the length of the manufacturer’s warranty.  The Lemon Law rights period is the period ending two years from the date the vehicle was originally delivered to you, or after the first 24,000 miles of operation following original delivery of the vehicle to you—whichever occurs first.

What is a repair attempt?

A repair attempt is the replacement or adjustment of a part or component to correct a defect or condition.  Only a repair performed by the manufacturer or its authorized dealer or agent can count as a repair attempt under the Lemon Law.  If the dealership inspects or test-drives the vehicle without making any repairs, and you later prove that repair work should have been done, this visit would also count as a repair attempt.  To document repair attempts, you will need to get a copy of the repair order for each repair visit.

If your complaint involves a motor home, read your warranty materials carefully to determine the authorized dealer or agent for repair.  Also, if your vehicle is a motor home and, while traveling, you go to an authorized dealer or repair facility that does not have the parts necessary to repair the defect or condition, and, rather than wait for the parts, you elect to continue traveling and have repairs performed at another repair facility, the visit to the first repair facility does not count as a repair attempt.

 How many repair attempts must you allow the manufacturer?

The law sets forth three ways to satisfy the repair attempts requirement:

1)   For most problems the manufacturer is given three attempts, or opportunities, to repair the defect or condition.

2)   When the defect or condition qualifies as a “serious safety defect,” the manufacturer is given just one attempt to repair the problem.  A serious safety defect is one that is life-threatening or likely to result in bodily injury if not corrected.  This distinction is important, because the burden is on you to prove the dangerous nature of the defect.  So if you are experiencing a problem that you believe is safety-related but not life-threatening, you should allow three repair attempts.

3)   A vehicle is deemed to have met the repair attempts requirement when it has been out of service by reason of repair for at least a total of 30 days.  In this event, you count the cumulative days out of service instead of individual repair attempts.  The vehicle may be out of service for the repair of one or more defects.  The days out of service may accrue during one repair visit or over several visits. 

You calculate the days out of service for each visit starting on the day you submit your vehicle for repair of a defect or condition (if dropped off before the close of business) through the day the work is completed.  Weekends and holidays count toward the 30 days if your vehicle is in for repair during that time.  If the vehicle is at the authorized dealer or facility exclusively for any of the following reasons, then do not include those days in your calculations:

  • for routine maintenance
  • for problems that are not nonconformities (e.g., hail damage)
  • for any repairs performed after the expiration of the Lemon Law rights period

You will need to get a copy of the repair order for each repair visit to document the number of days out of service.

When do the repair attempts have to be made?

The reasonable number of repair attempts must be made within the Lemon Law rights period of two years or 24,000 miles, whichever occurred first.

Are repair order receipts important?

Repair orders are a critical piece of evidence for proving your claim.  Obtaining complete records each time you take your vehicle in for repair will help you document the entire repair history for all reported problems and that a reasonable number of attempts occurred within the Lemon Law rights period.  At a Lemon Law arbitration or court proceeding, the burden of proof will be on you to show that your vehicle is a “lemon.”  The mileage on your vehicle at the time of the first repair visit is used in the calculation of any repurchase award due you (see Step 3).  That repair order will be your best evidence to prove the mileage.

Is the dealer required to give me a repair order each time I take my vehicle in for repairs?

Yes.  You are entitled by law to a copy of a detailed repair order itemizing all work done on your vehicle, even when no repairs are performed but the vehicle is inspected or test-driven.  O.C.G.A. Section 10-1-783(d) of the Georgia Lemon Law states:

Each time the consumer's new motor vehicle is returned from being diagnosed or repaired, the manufacturer, its authorized agent, or the new motor vehicle dealer shall provide to the consumer a fully itemized and legible statement or repair order containing a general description of the problem reported by the consumer; the date and the odometer reading when the vehicle was submitted for repair; the date and odometer reading when the vehicle was made available to the consumer; the results of any diagnostic test, inspection or test-drive; a description of any diagnosis or problem identified by the manufacturer, its authorized agent, or the new motor vehicle dealer; and an itemization of all work performed on the vehicle, including, but not limited to, parts and labor.

What should I do when I take vehicle in?

  • Give the service writer a clear description of all the problems you are experiencing.
  • If you have an intermittent problem (one that comes and goes), be as detailed as possible in describing the nature and frequency of the problem and the circumstances when it occurs.
  • Make sure the service writer takes down all of the information you provide.
  • Or, leave a written summary of this information for the service writer (particularly if you plan to drop the vehicle off during non-business hours).

When I pick up my vehicle, what should I look for on the repair order?

At the time the dealer gives you a copy of the repair order, examine it to make sure it includes:

  • The date and mileage when you took the vehicle in for repair.
  • A description of the problem you reported and the results of any inspection or test-drive for that problem.
  • A description of any and all work performed and parts replaced.
  • The work completion date and mileage.

What should I do if the dealer will not give me a copy of the repair order?

  • Ask to see the service manager or general manager.
  • Be polite, but insist on receiving a copy of the repair order before you leave the dealership.
  • If you are still unable to obtain the repair order, send the dealership a written request for a copy as soon as possible.  In your letter include:
    • The year, make and model of your vehicle;
    • The vehicle identification number;
    • The date of your repair visit;
    • The problems you reported; and
    • The names or titles of the dealership personnel with whom you spoke concerning that repair visit.
  • Send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the attention of the dealership's CEO, President or General Manager.  Ask the dealer to provide a copy of the repair order within ten days of receipt of your letter.
  • Send a copy of the letter to the manufacturer at the address found in your owner's manual.
  • Be sure to keep a copy of your letter for your records.

Should you have any questions regarding the “reasonable number of attempts” provisions, or if neither the dealer nor the manufacturer will give you a copy of your repair order, call our office at 404-651-9397 for further assistance.

What to Do Next

 
  • If the defect or condition is corrected during this stage, the Lemon Law has served its purpose and the process ends here.
  • If you have satisfied the “reasonable number of attempts” required for a serious safety defect (at least one repair attempt) or any other defect (at least three repair attempts for the same defect or condition) within the Lemon Law rights period, but it still has not been fixed, you should proceed to Step 2.

    Please note: If you believe you have a safety-related problem but do not know if it rises to the level of a serious safety defect, please call our office at 404-651-9397 before proceeding to Step 2.
  • If your vehicle has been out of service for a cumulative total of 30 days by reason of repair of one or more defects within the Lemon Law rights period, you can skip Step 2 and proceed to Step 3.
  • Otherwise, you should continue to take the vehicle for repair until you have satisfied the required number of repair attempts or days out of service within the Lemon Law rights period.

IMPORTANT:  Remember, there is a one-year time limit to file for arbitration, should you need it, from the date your Lemon Law rights period expires.  While your repair attempts had to be made within the Lemon Law rights period of two years or 24,000 miles, whichever occurred first, you must complete Steps 2 and 3 and submit your completed State Arbitration Application within one year of the expiration of the Lemon Law rights period.  Do not delay and lose your right to proceed.