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Updated lemon law widens coverage in state

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POSTED: January 23, 2009 2:29 p.m.
ATLANTA –– Georgians who buy or lease a new car after Jan. 1 have greater protections against recurring problems with their vehicle, thanks to an update of the Georgia Lemon Law.
The revised law offers broader protections, a more streamlined process and is more consumer-friendly.
“Other than a house, a new car is probably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make in your lifetime,” said Joe Doyle, administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs, the agency that administers the law.
One of the main improvements of the revised law is that the lemon law rights period has doubled from 12 months or 12,000 miles to 24 months or 24,000 miles. In addition, the maximum gross vehicle weight rating requirements have increased from 10,000 pounds to 12,000 pounds, extending coverage to bigger pickups.
What’s more, the revised lemon law has broadened its scope to include more small businesses.
“The current economic crisis has been particularly tough on small businesses,” Doyle said. “The new lemon law will provide many of these businesses with protections that could save them thousands of dollars in vehicle repair or replacement.”
Georgia’s law protects consumers and small businesses that buy, register or lease a new vehicle in the state. The law is foremost to help consumers get defective vehicles repaired. If the manufacturer fails to repair a recurring problem after a reasonable number of attempts and the consumer and vehicle meet eligibility requirements, he may apply for an arbitration hearing. An arbitrator hears complaints and decides whether the consumer is entitled to a replacement vehicle or a refund. It is not necessary to hire an attorney for this procedure. The lemon law is a self-help process that calls for the consumer to follow certain steps, which are described in detail on the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs Web site. To review these steps or for additional information about the law go to www.consumer.ga.gov/lemonlaw.
 

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