What’s covered under the Alaska Lemon Law
The Alaska Lemon Law coverage only applies to NEW vehicles (does not include a tractor, farm vehicle, or a vehicle designed primarily for off-road use). The Lemon Law provisions may be invoked in the event you have had three unsuccessful repairs for a defect or your vehicle is out of service for 30 consecutive days within one year of purchase or the warranty of the vehicle whichever is shorter.
What’s the definition of a “defect” or “non-conforming condition” under the Alaska Lemon Law?
Under Alaskan law, a “non-conformity” means a defect or condition in a motor vehicle caused by a manufacturer, distributor, dealer, or repairing agent that substantially impairs the use or market value of a vehicle.
The non-conformity must not be the result of alteration, abuse or neglect by the owner or their agents.
Who can invoke the Alaska Lemon Law
Only the purchaser can invoke the terms of the Alaska Lemon Law. The vehicle must be used substantially for persona, family or household purposes.
How to invoke the Alaska Lemon Law
If the manufacturer has an established an informal dispute settlement procedure that’s documented in your owner’s manual or on its website and that settlement procedure meets the terms of federal rules and regulations of 16 C.F.R. 703, you must use that settlement procedure first before invoking the terms of the Alaska Lemon Law.
If you’re participated in the manufacturer’s informal dispute settlement process and your problem is still not resolved and you intend to invoke the terms of the Alaska Lemon Law you must notify the car or truck maker by certified mail that your vehicle has a “non-conforming” condition and that you intend to invoke the terms of the lemon law.
The notice must be made before 60 days have elapsed after the expiration of the manufacturer’s warranty or one year after the date of delivery, whichever occurs first.
The notice must state the vehicle has a nonconformity including a description of the problem and a statement that the manufacturer, dealer or distributor has made a reasonable number of attempts to repair the problem and that you now demand a refund and are willing to return the vehicle within 60 days.
Include the identification of the vehicle including year, make, model and VIN number and shall a description of the non-conforming condition, documentation of previous repair attempts along with identification of the facility that attempted the repairs and the dates and times of the attempted repairs.
The manufacturer has thirty days to notify you of its intention to attempt a final repair at a reasonably accessible repair facility. Once you deliver the vehicle to that facility, the manufacturer has 14 days to attempt repair.
What the Alaska Lemon Law allows if the manufacturer can’t fix the defect
If you’ve followed the procedure and given the manufacturer a final opportunity to fix the defect and they are unable to do so, the manufacture shall, at your option, allow you to return the vehicle for
1) A new comparable vehicle
2) Return of purchase price minus a reasonable allowance for the mileage accumulated since purchase.
Avoid these common mistakes that can ruin your chances of recovering under the terms of the Alaska Lemon Law
1) Not keeping the written service records. This is your evidence. The records should include the vehicle VIN, date of service, mileage and description of the problem. Even if the technician can’t duplicate the condition, you must keep the paperwork.
2) Allowing the service department to examine the vehicle without writing up an actual service report. Never allow the service writer or technician to check or test drive the vehicle without a written service report. In other words, never leave the dealer without documentation that you brought the vehicle in for repair.
3) Not being clear with the service writer about the actual problem. In you hear a noise, describe the noise. Do NOT try to diagnose the problem yourself or try to identify the source of the noise. That’s THEIR job. If you say the noise is coming from the tires or transmission and the technician determines those components aren’t the source of the noise and they can’t hear the noise, you’ve wasted one of your three opportunities. Be general. If you hear a clunk, just say you hear a clunk. Before you sign the service order, make sure your complaint accurately describes the condition you want addressed.
4) Not checking the service order before leaving the dealer. Make sure no changes have been made to the work order before you leave the dealer. The order must include the description of the problem.
5) Waiting too long to get the problem addressed. Remember, the first report of the problem must occur within the first year of ownership and within the first 12,000 miles.
6) Failing to provide all the necessary information in your certified letter to the manufacturer. Include all copies of your paperwork in your notice. Don’t hold anything back.
7) Giving the dealer more than three chances. The dealer is supposed to follow set procedures when they can’t fix a problem. Dealers don’t like to do that, so they try to convince you to give them more chances. Don’t fall for that. After the third chance, initiate the informal dispute resolution process and then follow through with invoking the formal notification.
8) Not allowing the manufacturer a final chance. Yeah, you have to do this. If you don’t, kiss your Alaska Lemon Law protection goodbye.