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Lemon Law for Motor Homes Protects Ohio Consumers

Q: Can Ohio’s Lemon Law help me if my motor home is a lemon?
A:
 Yes. The law can require the manufacturer to replace or buy back a motor home that you purchased or leased if it:
• had a defect that substantially impaired its use, value or safety; and
• was not, or could not be, properly repaired or repaired in a timely manner.
The law does not, however, cover parts related to permanently installed facilities for cold storage, cooking, eating and sleeping.

Q: Does the Lemon Law cover my used motor home?
A:
 Generally, no. It will only be covered if you bought the vehicle within the first year or 18,000 miles of operation and you reported the problems within the first year or 18,000 miles of operation.

Q: How do I know if I have a lemon motor home?
A:
 All new motor homes come with warranties from the manufacturer and the chassis maker, as well as equipment warranties for other things installed on it, like the refrigerator, for example. The Ohio Lemon Law covers only the chassis warranty and the vehicle manufacturer warranties. If you have problems, you should go back to your dealer or another authorized repair dealership to have the problem diagnosed and fixed. If the problem is not corrected within a reasonable number of attempts or days out of service, then your vehicle may qualify for Ohio Lemon Law remedies. You may be able to get a new vehicle or your money back.

Q: How many repair attempts must be made before my motor home is considered a lemon?
A:
 A lemon motor home is one where:
1)   substantially the same problem has been subject to repair three or more times and still exists or recurs;
 2)   the vehicle has been out of service for a total of 30 or more calendar days for repairs;
 3)   eight or more attempts have been made to repair any substantial defect or condition that does not comply with the warranty;
 4)   at least one repair attempt has been made for a safety-related problem and the problem either continues to exist or recurs.

Q: I think I have a lemon motor home. What should I do?
A:
 Contact the manufacturer directly if your dealer has been unable to correct the problem within a reasonable amount of time or reasonable number of attempts. Consider asking the manufacturer to replace your vehicle or buy it back. If you’re unable to reach an acceptable agreement with the manufacturer, you may want to ask that your dispute be arbitrated, if arbitration is available.

A motor vehicle manufacturer cannot require you to go through any arbitration process under the Ohio Lemon Law unless the process has been “state-certified.” No motor home manufacturer uses a state-certified arbitration board at this time, except for Workhorse. Always check with the Ohio Attorney General’s office for current information. If the vehicle manufacturer (e.g., Fleetwood, Gulf Stream, Forest River or Winnebago) has not received state certification for its arbitration board, you may want to seek help from a lawyer. 

Q: How can I find out more about the Ohio Lemon Law and other consumer-related issues?
A:
 For more information, or to file a consumer complaint, write to the Ohio Attorney General, Consumer Protection Office, 30 E. Broad St., 14th floor, Columbus, OH 43215-3428. Or you can call the toll free helpline at the Consumer Protection Office, 1-800-282-0515. For online information or to file a complaint, visit: www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov.

2/3/2013

This “Law You Can Use” column was provided by the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA). It was prepared by attorney Ronald L. Burdge of the Burdge Law Office Co, LPA in Dayton. 

Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney.

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