Vehicle Lemon Laws in Maine

Lemon laws are designed to protect consumers who purchase a defective motor vehicle. The state of Maine's lemon laws provide the consumer with a state arbitration hearing. The state defines a lemon as a vehicle that was purchased or leased in Maine that has a defect which substantially impairs the use of the vehicle and has not been repaired after a reasonable number of attempts to do so have been made.

Qualifiying Vehicles

Maine's lemon law covers any new or used vehicle. This includes a car, truck, van, motorcycle or RV that has been purchased or leased from a dealer in the state of Maine. This protection extends for three years, or 18,000 miles, whichever is attained first. There are some vehicles that are not covered by the lemon law program. These include vehicles purchased from a governmental agency, a commercial vehicle with a gross vehicle weight exceeding 8,500 pounds, or vehicles purchased with the intent to resell.

Issues not covered

Certain issues are not covered by Maine's lemon law program. A defect is not covered if it does not significantly impair the use of the vehicle. Defects that are caused by owner negligence are also not covered, along with defects that resulted from an accident or vandalism. If the defect results from an unauthorized repair or modification to the vehicle that is made by someone other than the manufacturer or its agents, the lemon law would not be applied. The lemon law also would not apply if the defect creates subjective lack of confidence in the buyer that does not withstand objective scrutiny.

What Is Substantial Impairment

The lemon law applies in cases where the use, safety or value of the vehicle has been significantly impaired by the defect. However, the state does not provide a specific list of defects that fall under this umbrella. The arbitration process is used to determine if your particular situation rises to this standard.

Last Chance

If a substantial defect occurs, and your dealer has made several unsuccessful attempts to correct the problem, you are required to give them a "Final Opportunity to Repair" notice. This is a written notice of your refund or replacement request. It should state that you will give the manufacturer one final opportunity to repair the vehicle and provide them with a minimum of seven business days to correct the problem. This notice should be sent by registered mail, with a return receipt request to the manufacturer's regional office. The location of this office can be obtained from your warranty information or by calling the Maine Attorney General's Lemon Law Arbitration program at 207-626-8848.

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