Lemon Law

The Arbitration program, established in 1984, provides consumers with a forum through which to resolve warranty problem(s) with motor vehicles pursuant to Sections 4170-4181 of 9 V.S.A.

A consumer may file a Demand for Arbitration to request a hearing after demonstration of reasonable repair, which is usually three unsuccessful attempts or thirty cumulative calendar days out of service within the manufacturer's express warranty. At least the first repair for a "three-times-out" claim must occur within the express warranty.

The final repair attempt is a legal provision that provides an opportunity for the manufacturer to assess and repair the claimed defect(s) to the consumer's satisfaction prior to hearing. The consumer may withdraw from the arbitration process if the repair is acceptable, but would retain the option to request a hearing if the condition recurs, as long as the vehicle is still within the manufacturer's express warranty.

If the consumer is not satisfied with the vehicle after the final repair attempt and continues to hearing, he/she must convince the Board that the defect(s)/condition(s) substantially impairs the vehicle's use, market value or safety. The consumer may continue to hearing even if the claimed condition appears to be fixed. The Board would then weigh the reason(s) for dissatisfaction.

There are five Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board members and three alternates appointed by the Governor for a three-year term. Each may be appointed for additional three-year terms twice. "One member of the board and one alternate shall be new car dealers in Vermont, one member and one alternate shall be persons active as automobile technicians, and three members and one alternate shall be persons having no direct involvement in the design, manufacture, distribution, sales or service of motor vehicles or their parts."(9 V.S.A. Section 4174)

Hearings are usually held monthly. Demands will not proceed to hearing if they are resolved by settlement, acceptance of the final repair attempt, administrative dismissal or other disposition.

The Board has authority to order:

  • a pro-rated refund based on a statutory formula with guidelines for reimbursement of fees, incidental and consequential damages, and purchase and use tax,
  • a comparable new replacement vehicle,
  • in favor of the manufacturer,
  • a dismissal, or
  • a continuance.

Additional Resources

Lemon Law & Vehicle Arbitration Forms below. To see all available forms visit "Forms & Information" page.

Related Forms & Information

FAQs

The Consumer's Repair Summary For A 3-Times-Out Claim will help you organize the repair history when filing under the "3 times out" provision.

3-Times-Out Claim (Filing Method A):

  • A Demand may be filed after the manufacturer/authorized dealer has had reasonable opportunities to repair a warranted defect(s). The lemon law presumes that three unsuccessful repair attempts meet this requirement. The first attempt must occur within the manufacturer's express warranty.
  • A consumer filing with fewer than three repair attempts must convince the Board that the manufacturer was allowed a reasonable opportunity to repair. This could be for a safety-related defect/condition, if the dealer/manufacturer presents the condition is characteristic and no repair is needed, or for other reasons.
  • The symptom of a claimed defect(s) must be present as of the date of filing.
  • Please review the eligibility requirements prior to filing and enclose the requested supporting documentation, which must be received prior to the scheduling of a hearing.

30 Days Out-Of-Service Claim (Filing Method B):

  • A Demand may be filed after a vehicle has been out-of-service for multiple days by reason of a reasonable number of repairs within the manufacturer's express warranty.
  • The lemon law presumes that a reasonable number of repairs have been made when the vehicle has been out-of-service for 30 calendar days.
  • A consumer may file with fewer than 30 days out-of-service but must demonstrate why the Board should accept fewer than 30 days as being reasonable.
  • "Out-of-service" is defined as the vehicle being unavailable for the consumer's use for a major portion of the day (4 hours or more) while being under the control of the manufacturer, its agent or authorized dealer.
  • The 30 days may be cumulative or consecutive.
  • Please review the eligibility requirements prior to filing and enclose the requested supporting documentation, which must be received prior to the scheduling of a hearing.
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