FAQs

General

What does the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) do?
OCP is the consumer protection agency for the State of Georgia.  We help protect consumers from unfair and deceptive acts and practices in consumer transactions.  We investigate consumer problems, monitor the marketplace to promote fair and honest competition, take enforcement action against violators and publish consumer education materials and alert warnings.
Where is your office located?
Our office is at 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE, Suite 356, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.  We are on the third floor (Plaza Level) of the East Tower of the Floyd Building, across the street from the State Capitol.  Visitors can easily reach us either by MARTA (the Georgia State station off the East-West line) or from Interstate 75/85 or Interstate 20.
 
Do I need to be a Georgia resident to use the services of your office?
No.  Georgians may get in touch with us about problems they are having with businesses located either in the state or out of state, but out-of-state residents may also contact us about difficulties with Georgia businesses if the transaction was with a company site in Georgia.  We are unable to assist in matters that have no connection to Georgia or where the only connection to Georgia is that the company’s billing department or administrative office is located here.
Is there a fee for your services?
There is no fee for consumers. 
 
This office provides administrative services to certain types of businesses, and charges may apply in some of these cases.  For example, we license buying clubs, and there is a fee set by statute for the license.
How do I find out whether a business is reputable? Can your office recommend a particular business to me?

OCP cannot make specific recommendations about a company.  For information about a business' standing contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB).  The BBB maintains a database of businesses and charities and publishes reliability reports summarizing the experiences of customers.

For confidentiality reasons, OCP cannot acknowledge an open investigation of a company.
How do I file a complaint?
For detailed instructions, please see the link to our Filing a Complaint.
What happens to the written complaint I submit?

OCP reviews all complaints.  Many result in enforcement action against violators of Georgia statutes.  If you file a written complaint, we will advise you in writing of its status.

Filing a written complaint does not guarantee that this office will be able to take action against the company.  Even if we are unable to take action, your complaint provides valuable information about consumer problems in the marketplace and the identity of merchants who might be engaging in fraudulent activity.
Can OCP represent me in a situation with legal issues to resolve?
OCP represents the consuming public as a whole and not the interests of any one individual.  If your situation requires individual representation or you would feel more comfortable with such representation, you should consider hiring an attorney.
What if I am unhappy with a company's customer service? Can your office help me?
If you feel the company has acted in a fraudulent, unfair or deceptive manner, by all means contact us.  If, however, your complaint has to do with policies a business is free to set for itself—for example, issues such as merchandise refunds, acceptance of a check as payment or employee politeness and responsiveness—we have no statutory authority to intervene.  In those situations, please continue to work directly with the company to resolve your dissatisfaction.
Does your office offer information on a consumer topic or have publications available for distribution?

OCP educates consumers through articles, tip sheets and printable brochures, as well as links to other consumer protection websites offering other publications.

You may contact our agency by calling 404-651-8600 or 800-869-1123 (toll-free in Georgia outside the metro Atlanta calling area.)  Counselors are available by phone and to walk-in clients from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM weekdays.  While we cannot give you legal advice, we can provide helpful tips and general consumer-related information.
 
We also offer another website, ConsumerEd.com.  The site, designed to appeal to 18-34 year olds who are making their first major purchases, aims to proactively educate consumers in the areas of car, home, credit/debt and finances. 
I believe I am the victim of identity fraud. What do I do?
You need to take quick action to restore your good standing.  Please see our Instructions for Victims of Identity Theft.
I'm fed up with junk mail. Contests, sweepstakes, special offers - it never ends. How can I reduce the amount of junk mail that I receive?

To cut down on "junk mail," simply send your name and address to:

Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 643
Carmel, New York 10512.

To reduce the number of e-mail promotions you receive, go to www.dmachoice.org to sign on without charge to the E-Mail Preference Service’s e-mail opt-out list.

To stop sexually-oriented advertising from coming to your home, contact the U. S. Post Office and request a Form 2150 or Form 1500 to stop mail from a particular company.  The Post Office maintains a list of consumers who do not want sexually oriented advertising mailed to their homes and provides the list to companies that mail such promotions.
Can I stop the unsolicited telephone calls?

The federal Do Not Call law, with some exceptions, prohibits telemarketers who are selling goods or services from contacting those who have placed their phone numbers on the Do Not Call (DNC) registry.  Calls from charitable organizations, political campaigns, and businesses with which you have a prior relationship (unless you have asked them not to call you) are exempt from the Do Not Call requirements.

You can sign up for the registry at no charge at www.donotcall.gov, or by calling 888-382-1222 (TTY 866-290-4236) from the number you wish to register.

The DNC registry is maintained and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  The federal government can assess penalties when telemarketers ignore or circumvent our privacy laws.

Georgia Lemon Law

What is the purpose of the Lemon Law?
The Georgia Lemon Law is a self-help statute whose primary goal is to have the manufacturer of your motor vehicle fix any defects.  If your vehicle cannot be repaired in a reasonable number of attempts and is found to be a "lemon," the law requires the manufacturer to replace or buy back (repurchase) the vehicle.  It also alerts manufacturers to possible defects and quality issues in the vehicles they produce.
Which consumers are covered by the Lemon Law?
You are covered by this law if:
  • You purchase or lease a new motor vehicle for personal, family or household use; or
  • You purchase or lease ten or fewer new motor vehicles a year for business purposes other than limousine rental services.
Does the Lemon Law cover all vehicles?

No.  Only new motor vehicles are covered by the Georgia Lemon Law.  This means new, self-propelled vehicles that are primarily designed to transport people or property over public highways and were purchased, leased or registered in Georgia on or after January 1, 2009.  The title of the vehicle must still be in the name of the person who originally purchased or leased it and cannot have been previously issued to anyone other than the new motor vehicle dealer.

REMEMBER:  If you purchased, leased or registered your new motor vehicle in Georgia before January 1, 2009, the lemon law in effect at that time – the Warranty Rights Act – governs your rights.  Visit our website for information regarding that law.

What vehicles are not covered?
  • Vehicles purchased or leased as used
  • Vehicles whose title and other transfer documents indicate they are used
  • Vehicles that have been titled to any person or entity other than the new motor vehicle dealer, before being titled to you
  • Motorcycles and mopeds
  • Trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 12,000 pounds
  • All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
  • Boats
  • Vehicles that are not self-propelled, such as trailers and campers
Are motor homes covered?

Yes, if they are self-propelled.  The coach and chassis of a motor home are covered by the Georgia Lemon Law.  They are generally made by separate manufacturers.  However, those parts of a motor home that are designated, used or maintained primarily as living quarters or as office or commercial space are not covered by the Georgia Lemon Law.

Are demonstrator models covered?
Yes.  A demonstrator vehicle can also be considered a new motor vehicle as long as it is titled as new and has not been titled to any person or entity other than the new motor vehicle dealer, before being titled to you.
What is my truck’s GVWR?

The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the maximum allowable total weight of the vehicle when loaded to capacity, including the weight of the vehicle itself, all occupants, fuel, cargo and any other miscellaneous items.  Typically, you can find the GVWR on the driver’s side door jamb of your truck.  If you cannot find it there, it should be listed on the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin.  That document should be on file with the tag agent in the county where your vehicle is registered.

Trucks with a GVWR of more than 12,000 pounds are not eligible under the Lemon Law.

What kinds of defects are covered by the Lemon Law?
  • Any serious safety defect

  • Any other defect or condition that:

(a) substantially impairs the vehicle’s use, value or safety to the consumer

OR

(b) renders the new motor vehicle nonconforming to a manufacturer’s warranty

What is a serious safety defect?

A serious safety defect is a life-threatening defect or a malfunction that impedes the consumer’s ability to control or operate the vehicle for ordinary use or reasonable intended purposes or creates the risk of fire or explosion.

What kinds of defects are not covered?

The Lemon Law does not apply to any defect or condition that is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized modification or alteration of the vehicle.

What is the Lemon Law rights period?

The Lemon Law rights period is the period ending two years from the date you took delivery of the vehicle or after the first 24,000 miles of your use — whichever occurs first.  To determine the exact date your Lemon Law rights period expires, be mindful of the mileage you put on the vehicle and the time period that has elapsed since you acquired the vehicle.

  • For example, if you acquire the vehicle on June 1, 2010, and put fewer than 24,000 miles on your vehicle before two years from the date you acquired it has elapsed, then your Lemon Law rights period expires on June 1, 2012.

  • Conversely, if you acquire the vehicle on June 1, 2010, and put 24,000 miles on your vehicle before June 1, 2012, then your Lemon Law rights period expires on the day you reach the 24,000-mile threshold.  So if you put 24,000 miles on the vehicle as of August 1, 2011, your Lemon Law rights period would expire on that date.

After you determine the date your Lemon Law rights period expires, note it in your records.

Do miles already on the vehicle at delivery count towards the 24,000 miles?

No.  If, for example, there were 500 miles on your new motor vehicle at the time you acquired it, your Lemon Law rights period would expire two years from the date of delivery or at 24,500 miles (on your odometer), whichever occurred first.

What if my vehicle is in for repair when my rights period expires?

If the vehicle is being repaired by the dealer or manufacturer’s authorized agent on the date the Lemon Law rights period expires, the Lemon Law rights period is extended until the repair work is completed.

What should I do if I think my vehicle is a “lemon?”

Verify that you meet the eligibility requirements explained in this guide.  Then, you must allow the dealer or manufacturer’s authorized agent a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle’s problem within the Lemon Law rights period.

If the defect is still present after you have made a reasonable number of repair attempts, you must give the manufacturer a final opportunity to correct it.  The number of repair attempts considered "reasonable" is determined by the type of defect (or by days out of service, which does not require a final repair attempt).  See Step 1 in the "Steps to Follow" section for specifics.

If the manufacturer is unable to correct the defect on the final attempt and fails to buy back or replace the vehicle on request, you may qualify for a vehicle repurchase or replacement award through a certified informal dispute settlement program, state-operated arbitration, or both.

You will find a more detailed explanation under "Steps to Follow."  Although the entire process of seeking restitution may appear lengthy, it can be well worth your while to pursue your rights and to follow all of these directions very carefully.

What remedies are available to me if my vehicle cannot be repaired?
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you have the right to request that the manufacturer either repurchase or replace your vehicle.  If the manufacturer is unwilling to provide either of these remedies, the law gives you the right to an arbitration process.
Is there a time limit to file for arbitration?

Yes.   You are required to file an application within one (1) year of the expiration of the Lemon Law rights period.

At the time of printing this publication, no manufacturer has a certified informal dispute settlement program in Georgia, so consumers can proceed directly to state arbitration.  However, if in the future the manufacturer of your vehicle has obtained Georgia certification for its informal dispute settlement program, you would be required to file your claim with that certified informal dispute settlement program before you proceed to state-operated arbitration.

Be sure to refer to our website immediately before requesting your state arbitration application to determine which manufacturers, if any, have had their informal dispute settlement programs certified in Georgia.

What if the manufacturer tells me I must use their program?

You are not required to participate in any manufacturer program, including, but not limited to, the Better Business Bureau AUTO LINE, the National Center for Dispute Settlement (NCDS), or CAP-Motors.

It is a violation of Georgia law to represent to a consumer that a Lemon Law dispute must be submitted to a manufacturer’s program that is not certified by this office.  If the manufacturer, a dealer, or any program’s representative tells you that you must use their program, call 404-651-9397 to report this potential violation and provide us details.

What type of documentation or proof do I need to make my case?

Always keep copies of any correspondence to or from the manufacturer or dealer, and always make a note of the date and substance of any phone conversations you have with them.

You are required to submit various written notices throughout the process, and you must send these notices by either overnight mail delivery or certified mail.  You will need to request a return receipt each time, which should be kept with your records as proof of delivery.

Be sure to obtain an itemized repair order or statement from the authorized dealer each time the vehicle is submitted for diagnosis or repair, because it is a way to prove the attempts at repair.  (See Step 1 for more information.)

Is there a cost to me to proceed under the Lemon Law?

No.  This state-operated program is funded by the $3.00 fee you previously paid when you bought or leased your new motor vehicle.

Do I need to hire an attorney to represent me in my Lemon Law complaint?
Although you may elect to hire an attorney at your own expense to assist you, this is not required.  Most consumers who proceed under the Lemon Law do so without an attorney.  On very rare occasions, arbitration cases are appealed (see Step 5).  In that event, it is recommended that you consult an attorney.

GA MVWRA

What is the purpose of the Lemon Law?

Georgia’s Lemon Law is a self-help statute whose primary goal is that the manufacturer of your motor vehicle repair any covered defects.  If your vehicle cannot be repaired in a reasonable number of attempts and is found to be a "lemon," the law requires the manufacturer to replace or buy back (repurchase) the vehicle.

Am I covered by Georgia's Lemon Law?

The Lemon Law protects consumers.  You are covered by this law if:

  • You entered into an agreement or contract for the purchase or lease of a new motor vehicle primarily for personal, family or household use (regardless of what the documents call the transaction); or
  • Your sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation owns or leases no more than three new motor vehicles for commercial use and has ten or fewer employees and a net income, after taxes, of $100,000 per year or less for federal income tax purposes.
Does the Lemon Law cover all vehicles?

No.  Only new motor vehicles are covered by Georgia’s Lemon Law.  This means new, self-propelled vehicles that are primarily designed to transport people or property over public highways and were purchased, leased or registered in Georgia.  The title of the vehicle must still be in the name of the person who originally purchased or leased it and cannot have been previously issued to anyone other than the selling dealer.

What vehicles are not covered?
  • Vehicles purchased or leased as used
  • Vehicles whose title and other transfer documents indicate they are used
  • Vehicles that have been titled to any person other than the selling dealer, before being titled to you
  • Motorcycles and mopeds
  • Trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more
  • All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
  • Boats
  • Vehicles that are not self-propelled, such as trailers and campers
Are demonstrator models covered?

Yes.  A demonstrator vehicle can also be considered a new motor vehicle, as long as the manufacturer’s warranty is issued as a condition of sale and it otherwise qualifies as a new motor vehicle as described above.

Are motor homes covered?

Yes.  While Georgia’s Lemon Law does not cover those parts of a motor home that are designated, used or maintained primarily as a mobile dwelling, office or commercial space, it does apply to the self-propelled vehicle and chassis of a new motor home.  These are generally made by separate manufacturers.

In order to have a manufacturer fix a covered defect, you must send the proper forms to the manufacturers of both the vehicle and the chassis.  Please read the "Steps to Follow" section completely to make sure that you fulfill the special requirements applying to motor homes and conversion vans.

What kinds of defects are covered by the Lemon Law?

Any defect or condition included in the manufacturer's warranty that substantially impairs the vehicle’s use, value or safety to the consumer is covered under the Lemon Law. 

"Substantially impairs" means that the defect makes your vehicle unreliable or unsafe for ordinary use, or it diminishes the resale value of your vehicle more than a meaningful amount below the average resale value for comparable motor vehicles.

What kinds of defects are not covered?

The Lemon Law does not apply to any defect or condition that is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized modification or alteration of the vehicle.

What is the Lemon Law rights period?

The Lemon Law rights period is the period ending one year from the date you took delivery of the vehicle, or after the first 12,000 miles of your use—whichever occurs first.

In order for a defect or condition to be covered, you must establish that the initial repair attempt took place within the Lemon Law rights period (please see Step 1 in the "Steps to Follow" for more detail).

What must I do under the Lemon Law?

You must meet the eligibility requirements explained in this guide.  First, you must allow the dealer an opportunity to repair the vehicle’s problem within the Lemon Law rights period.

If the defect is still present after you have made a reasonable number of repair attempts, you must give the manufacturer a final opportunity to correct it.  The number of repair attempts considered reasonable is determined by the type of defect or number of days out of service (see discussion in Step 1).

If the manufacturer is unable to repair the defect on the final attempt and fails to buy back or replace the vehicle on request, you may qualify for certified informal dispute resolution, state arbitration or both.

You will find a more detailed explanation under "Steps to Follow."  Although the entire process of seeking restitution may appear lengthy, it can be well worth your while to pursue your rights and to follow all of these directions very carefully.

What type of documentation or proof do I need to make my case?

Always keep copies of any correspondence to or from the manufacturer, repair facility or leasing company, and always make a note of the date and substance of any phone conversations you have with them.

You are required to submit various written notices throughout the process, and you must send these notices by certified mail and request a return receipt.  The returned receipts should be kept with your records as proof. 

Be sure to obtain an itemized repair order or statement from the authorized dealer each time the vehicle is diagnosed or repaired, because it is a way to prove the attempts at repair.  (See Step 1 in the "Steps to Follow" for details.)

What remedies are available to me if my vehicle cannot be repaired?

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you have the right to request that the manufacturer either repurchase or replace your vehicle.  If the manufacturer is unwilling to provide either of these remedies, the law gives you the right to an arbitration process.

Is there a cost to me to proceed under the Lemon Law?

No.  This program is a free service to the consumer, funded by the $3.00 Warranty Rights Act fee you pay when you buy or lease a new vehicle.

Do I need to hire an attorney to represent me in my Lemon Law complaint?

Although you may elect to hire an attorney at your own expense to assist you, this is not required.  Most consumers who proceed under the Lemon Law do so without an attorney.  On very rare occasions, arbitration cases are appealed (see Step 8).  In that event, it is recommended that you consult an attorney.

If this is a self-help process, what role does the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection play?

We will provide all the information you need to help correct the problem; and we offer a state-run arbitration hearing, if needed.

What other protections does the Lemon Law provide?

It alerts manufacturers to possible defects and quality issues in the vehicles they produce.  The Lemon Law also protects Georgia consumers by keeping unrepaired vehicles off the road.

If the manufacturer replaces or repurchases your vehicle after your dispute has been accepted for arbitration, the company must notify the next buyer about your vehicle's defect.  If the defect is life-threatening and cannot be corrected, your vehicle cannot be resold.