You might have heard about a Colorado state law that protects car buyers from buying a vehicle that ends up being a ‘lemon’—a term used to describe a malfunctioning, broken, or defunct automobile.
The Colorado lemon law does exist, and it is in place to protect buyers particularly when they purchase a vehicle from a registered dealership. However, because so many Coloradoans don’t know the specifics of the law, many believe they are protected by it in every case, when in reality, the law is very specific about who is protected and when.
In this blog post, the legal team at Matthew R. Osborne, PC is bringing you some key facts to know about the Colorado Lemon Law. We’ll be going over why it’s in place at all and what you can do to use the law in your favor if and when a situation calls for it.
Colorado Lemon Law Stipulations
To clear up some confusion about which vehicles are covered by the Colorado Lemon Law, it’s worth stating right out of the gate that this law only applies to new vehicles. This is probably the most common misconception about this law—if you are purchasing a used vehicle, the law simply does not apply.
What’s more, the law is only enforceable for transactions involving “self-propelled” vehicles, eliminating things like car carriers, tow-behind recreational vehicles, and hitch-mounted utility trailers. Oh and by the way, motorcycle purchases do not qualify for protection by the Colorado Lemon Law, either.
So, now that we know that the Colorado Lemon Law only applies to new, self-propelled vehicles sold by a dealership registered in the state of Colorado, let’s move on to a description of what requirements need to be met in order for this law to be enforceable by a court order.
Before A Lawsuit Can Be Filed, These Things Must Happen First
The Colorado Lemon Law is very clear about what conditions must be in place for the law to be enforced through actions taken by a state court. These conditions are as follows:
- A new vehicle must have been sold to the buyer within a 12-month time period, during which time a defect occurred, causing ‘serious impairment’ in the operation of the vehicle. If more than 12 months passes between the date of purchase and the occurrence of the defect, the law does not apply.
- There must have been at least four repair attempts made by the dealer, the manufacturer, or a qualified mechanic in an attempt to correct the defect. There is an exception to this requirement: if the vehicle was out of commission due to repairs for more than 30 days within the one-year period, the repair attempt requirement is waived.
- A written notice of the defect must be sent, via Certified Mail, to the manufacturer of the vehicle, prior to filing a lawsuit. The Colorado Lemon Law requires this step in order to give the manufacturer a reasonable opportunity to fix the problem according to the warranty terms under which the new vehicle was sold.
If and only if all three of the requirements listed above are met, there could be a case for a lawsuit against the manufacturer under the Colorado Lemon Law. However, the vast majority of warranty claims made by owners of new vehicles will be swiftly dealt with through the manufacturer by way of the dealer.
The Colorado Lemon Law is a stopgap measure to assure the consumer that even if the manufacturer of a new vehicle backs out of their promise to fix it within a year of its purchase, the consumer will have legal recourse.
The Importance of Hiring an Attorney in CLL Cases
Even when a Colorado Lemon Law case appears to be straightforward and watertight, there are plenty of ways the suit can go wrong. That’s why you need a knowledgeable, proven attorney in your corner—an attorney who knows the Colorado Lemon Law, knows how to use it to defend your rights as a consumer, and who knows the specific actions to take within the Colorado legal system to get results.
If you believe you have a case against a manufacturer of a new vehicle you purchased within the past year, contact the offices of Matthew R. Osborne, PC. We’ll discuss the details of your case during a free case review, and we’ll let you know whether or not our legal services are a good fit for your unique situation.
Call us directly at (303) 759-7018.