Q: Can Ohio’s Lemon Law help me if my motorcycle is a lemon?
A: Yes. The law can require the manufacturer to replace or buy back a motorcycle 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 added to your bike by a dealer.
Q: What if I have a small engine motorcycle or a scooter? Does the Lemon Law still cover my vehicle?
A: Yes. Neither the engine size nor the vehicle size matters. As long as it is motorized and a noncommercial vehicle, it is covered by the Ohio Lemon Law.
Q: Does the Lemon Law cover my used motorcycle?
A: Generally, no. It will only be covered if you bought the motorcycle 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: I bought a sidecar for my motorcycle. Does the Lemon Law cover my sidecar?
A: No. However, you may be able to recover its cost if your motorcycle turns out to be a lemon and you purchased the sidecar at the same time you bought your motorcycle, since in that case, the sidecar could be considered a dealer-installed option or part of your “incidental” damages. (Incidental damages might include, for example, the cost of equipment you bought for your bike that can’t be used without the bike.)
Q: How do I know if my motorcycle is a lemon?
A: All new motorcycles come with warranties from the manufacturer. If you have problems, you should go back to your dealer or another authorized repair shop 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 motorcycle or your money back.
Q: How many repair attempts must be made before my motorcycle is considered a lemon?
A: Your motorcycle will be considered a lemon if:
1) substantially the same problem has been subject to repair three or more times and still exists or recurs;
2) the motorcycle 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 motorcycle. What should I do?
A: While not required, it may be helpful for you to 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 motorcycle 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 motorcycle manufacturer cannot require you to go through any arbitration process under the Ohio Lemon Law unless the process has been “state-certified.” No motorcycle manufacturer uses a state-certified arbitration board at this time. Always check with the Ohio Attorney General’s office for current information. If the vehicle manufacturer (e.g., BMW, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Suzuki, Triumph, Yamaha, etc.) 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?
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
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.