JON H. ROGERS, ATTORNEY AT LAW

 

Consumer Justice: One Case at a Time

 
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QUALIFYING FOR UTAH LEMON LAW


STEP ONE:

Read the New Motor Vehicle Warranty Act (Utah Lemon Law Statute) Utah Code §§ 13-20-1, et seq., available HERE and the pertinent Administrative Rules/Code. Be sure to keep detailed notes and records of any potential vehicle problem and any contact with anyone relating to the defective vehicle. 


The Utah State Department of Commerce also has helpful information and a link to the statute: 
Utah Consumer Protection Division Lemon Law Info. Remember a covered motor vehicle must have a defect or condition which substantially impairs the use, market value, or safety of the motor vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts to repair it.

STEP TWO:

If you think your vehicle and the type of vehicle defect(s) meet the criteria of the statute, then gather all repair orders and other documentation to establish the number and kind of repair attempts and the days the vehicle has been out of service to you.

The
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a defects database website you can search for all kinds of helpful information on a given vehicle: 
NHTSA Defects Search. Keep in mind that you can also file a Complaint on a vehicle with NHTSA. Just don't expect them to take action on your Complaint unless there are many Complaints for the exact same defect. Each Complaint helps build a record, however.

STEP THREE:

If you don't have four or more repair orders specifically showing attempts to repair the vehicle for the exact same defect, consider trying to get a few more repair attempts (ensuring the repair orders specifically identify the defect at issue), unless the vehicle has been in the shop for repair 30 days or more.

STEP FOUR:

Remember that to be successful under this Act, the defect or nonconformity can't be "the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications or alterations of a motor vehicle by a consumer."

Once you have followed each of the preceding steps, it is time to open your owner's manual and find out how to comply with the manufacturer's Informal Dispute Resolution Procedure (pursue a written dispute through its Customer Service Department). At the same time, you will want to file an administrative complaint with the
Utah Consumer Protection Division.  The link for information and the form to do this is located 
HERE. Make sure to attach copies of all records supporting your claims to both the manufacturer and the State.

You will also want to keep an exact copy of your complaints to the manufacturer and State.

 

STEP FIVE:

While you will certainly want to consider any offers made by the manufacturer or any other suggested settlement by the Consumer Protection Division, you are not required to accept any such offer. You may want to consult an attorney with regards to any such offer to place it in perspective of the litigation alternative. Do not be surprised if the State requires you to either go through the Better Business Bureau for mediation or through an Informal Dispute Resolution Procedure established by the manufacturer.  Neither of these processes should be binding upon you.

Keep in mind that manufacturers have no real interest in buying back your defective vehicle in
Utah since they will have to report it as a "buyback." See the Utah Motor Vehicle Buyback Disclosure Act, Utah Code 41-3-406, et seq.

If you choose to pursue litigation rather than accept any offer made by the manufacturer, then you need to be mindful that
Utah Code 13-20-6(1) states, in pertinent part that, ". . . An action may be commenced by a consumer only after the claim has been investigated and evaluated by the division." For this reason, this office requests prospective clients to get a letter from the Consumer Protection Division indicating that you have complied with this requirement before this office will normally consider filing suit on your behalf under this Act.

STEP SIX:

Once you have complied with all of the previous steps for a covered vehicle under the Act but are not satisfied with any offers made, you should contact this office for our help (if you have not already done so).

An initial consultation will be scheduled where you can bring in all of your supporting documentation and meet with Jon H. Rogers for a small fee. The more thorough and organized you can be for this meeting, the better your chances that this office will consider representing you on your matter.

Keep in mind that
Utah Code 13-20-6(2) states that, "This chapter does not limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a consumer under any other law." This means that in some instances, this office may assert additional claims or recommend proceeding against the manufacturer on claims other than under the Utah New Motor Vehicle Warranty Act (Utah's Lemon Law). These other claims can sometimes be used for a consumer product which does not fall within Utah's Lemon Law. This requires a case by case assessment to determine if there are grounds for any such additional or alternative claims.

Jon H. Rogers, Attorney at Law

Northgate Business Center
825 North 300 West Suite N144
Salt Lake City, Utah 84103

Telephone: (801) 532-6272
Facsimile: (801) 532-4192

Email: law@rogersconsumerlaw.com
Website: www.rogersconsumerlaw.com