Illinois residents can find the answers to questions regarding the Illinois Lemon Law right here in our Online Lemon Law Resource Center.
The Illinois Lemon Law…important facts for consumers
Reliability is the number one reason we’re willing to pay extra for a brand new car instead of settling for something used and taking our chances. When you purchase a new car the last thing you expect is that it’s going straight to the shop for repairs. That’s exactly what some consumers face after purchasing a new car and the repairs sometimes cost significant loss of time and money.
If this has happened to you, the Illinois Lemon Law may be just what the doctor ordered, but first you need to determine whether your new car fits the definition of a “lemon” under the law.
How Can I Tell if My Vehicle is a Lemon?
In order to be covered by the Illinois Lemon Law, a vehicle must:
- have a nonconformity that both substantially impairs the use, market valueor safety of the vehicle and is not repairable by the dealer or manufacturer inat least four attempts for the same repair, or
- be out of service for a total of 30 or more business days.
The Illinois Lemon Law DOES Cover:
- New Cars (purchased or leased)
- Light Trucks and vans under 8,000 pounds
- Recreational vehicles (excluding trailers)
- Vehicles in their first 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever occurs first
- Vehicles purchased in Illinois
The Illinois Lemon Law DOES NOT Cover:
- Used Cars
- Altered or modified vehicles
- Motorcycles and boats
How Does the Illinois Lemon Law Work?
Manufacturers establish an Industry Third Party Dispute Resolution Program to evaluate your claim. You can find information about this program in your vehicle ownership manual. To initiate action under the Lemon Law, contact the designated manufacturer representative for your vehicle. This representative will forward the required information and forms to you.
Preserving Your Claim
Lemon Law claims cannot be initiated directly through the dealer. Many consumers have lost their Lemon Law remedy because they waited longer than 12 months from the purchase date, the time period in which Lemon Law complaints must be filed, all the while believing they were proceeding under the Lemon Law through their dealer.
Keep in mind – it is extremely important that you file with your designated representative before your right to do so has expired!
Winning Your Claim
If the Dispute Board rules in your favor, you can expect one of the following compensations:
- you will receive a replacement vehicle of like or similar value.
- the manufacturer will buy your vehicle back from you, less the value for miles driven.
If you are dissatisfied with the decision of the Dispute Board, you may bring a civil action to enforce your rights under this Act. The manufacturer, however, may not dispute the board’s decision.
There are also other Federal and Illinois laws that deal with contracts and warranties for new products. Before deciding on a particular course of action, you are strongly urged to consult with a private attorney to discuss the various alternatives and determine the best course of action for your situation.
Remember- Keep Good Records!
Keep all receipts and records concerning repairs to your vehicle. Note the purpose and date of all repairs along with the length of time your vehicle is in the shop. The records you keep will be important in winning your claim!
Illinois Lemon Law Statutes
Illinois Lemon Law 815.380.1
This Act shall be known and may be cited as the New Vehicle Buyer Protection Act.
Illinois Lemon Law 815.380.2 Definitions.
For the purposes of this Act, the following words have the meanings ascribed to them inthis Section.
(a) "Consumer" means an individual who purchases or leases for a period of at least one year a new vehicle from the seller for the purposes of transporting himself and others, as well as their personal property, for primarily personal, household or family purposes.
(b) "Express warranty" has the same meaning, for the purposes of this Act, as it has for the purposes of the Uniform Commercial Code.
(c) "New vehicle" means a passenger car, as defined in Section 1-157 of The Illinois Vehicle Code, a motor vehicle of the Second Division having a weight of under 8,000 pounds, as defined in Section 1-146 of that Code, and a recreational vehicle, except for a camping trailer or travel trailer that does not qualify under the definition of a used motor vehicle, as set forth in Section 1-216 of that Code.
(d) "Nonconformity" refers to a new vehicle’s failure to conform to all express warranties applicable to such vehicle, which failure substantially impairs the use, market value or safety of that vehicle.
(e) "Seller" means the manufacturer of a new vehicle, that manufacturer’s agent or distributor or that manufacturer’s authorized dealer. "Seller" also means, with respect to a new vehicle which is also a modified vehicle, as defined in Section 1-144.1 of The Illinois Vehicle Code, as now or hereafter amended, the person who modified the vehicle and that person’s agent or distributor or that person’s authorized dealer. "Seller" also means, with respect to leased new vehicles, the manufacturer, that manufacturer’s agent or distributor or that manufacturer’s dealer, who transfers the right to possession and use of goods under a lease.
(f) "Statutory warranty period" means the period of one year or 12,000 miles, whichever occurs first after the date of the delivery of a new vehicle to the consumer who purchased or leased it.
(g) "Lease cost" includes deposits, fees, taxes, down payments, periodic payments, and any other amount paid to a seller by a consumer in connection with the lease of a new vehicle.
Illinois Lemon Law 815.380.3 Failure of vehicle to conform; remedies; presumptions.
(a) If after a reasonable number of attempts the seller is unable to conform the new vehicle to any of its applicable express warranties, the manufacturer shall either provide the consumer with a new vehicle of like model line, if available, or otherwise a comparable motor vehicle as a replacement, or accept the return of the vehicle from the consumer and refund to the consumer the full purchase price or lease cost of the new vehicle, including all collateral charges, less a reasonable allowance for consumer use of the vehicle. For purposes of this Section, "collateral charges" does not include taxes paid by the purchaser on the initial purchase of the new vehicle. The retailer who initially sold the vehicle may file a claim for credit for taxes paid pursuant to the terms of Sections 6, 6a, 6b, and 6c of the Retailers’ Occupation Tax Act. Should the vehicle be converted, modified or altered in a way other than the manufacturer’s original design, the party which performed the conversion or modification shall be liable under the provisions of this Act, provided the part or parts causing the vehicle not to perform according to its warranty were altered or modified.
(b) A presumption that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform a new vehicle to its express warranties shall arise where, within the statutory warranty period,
(1) the same nonconformity has been subject to repair by the seller, its agents or authorized dealers during the statutory warranty period, 4 or more times, and such nonconformity continues to exist; or
(2) the vehicle has been out of service by reason of repair of nonconformities for a total of 30 or more business days during the statutory warranty period.
(c) A reasonable allowance for consumer use of a vehicle is that amount directly attributable to the wear and tear incurred by the new vehicle as a result of its having been used prior to the first report of a nonconformity to the seller, and during any subsequent period in which it is not out of service by reason of repair.
(d) The fact that a new vehicle’s failure to conform to an express warranty is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized modifications or alterations is an affirmative defense to claims brought under this Act.
(e) The statutory warranty period of a new vehicle shall be suspended for any period of time during which repair services are not available to the consumer because of a war, invasion or strike, or a fire, flood or other natural disaster.
(f) Refunds made pursuant to this Act shall be made to the consumer, and lien holder if any exists, as their respective interests appear.
(g) For the purposes of this Act, a manufacturer sells a new vehicle to a consumer when he provides that consumer with a replacement vehicle pursuant to subsection (a).
(h) In no event shall the presumption herein provided apply against a manufacturer, his agent, distributor or dealer unless the manufacturer has received prior direct written notification from or on behalf of the consumer, and has an opportunity to correct the alleged defect.
Illinois Lemon Law 815.380.4
(a) The provisions of subsection (a) of Section 3 shall not apply unless the consumer has first resorted to an informal settlement procedure applicable to disputes to which that subsection would apply where
(1) The manufacturer of the new vehicle has established such a procedure;
(2) The procedure conforms:
(i) substantially with the provisions of Title 16, Code of Federal Regulation, Part 703, as from time to time amended, and
(ii) to the requirements of subsection (c); and
(3) The consumer has received from the seller adequate written notice of the existence of the procedure. Adequate written notice includes but is not limited to the incorporation of the informal dispute settlement procedure into the terms of the written warranty to which the vehicle does not conform.
(b) If the consumer is dissatisfied with the decision reached in an informal dispute settlement procedure or the results of such a decision, he may bring a civil action to enforce his rights under subsection (a) of Section 3. The decision reached in the informal dispute settlement procedure is admissible in such a civil action. The period of limitations for a civil action to enforce a consumer’s rights or remedies under subsection (a) of Section 3 shall be extended for a period equal to the number of days the subject matter of the civil action was pending in the informal dispute settlement procedure.
(c) A disclosure of the decision in an informal dispute settlement procedure shall include notice to the consumer of the provisions of subsection (b).
Illinois Lemon Law 815.380.5
Persons electing to proceed and settle under this Act shall be barred from a separate cause of action under the Uniform Commercial Code.
Illinois Lemon Law 815.380.6
Any action brought under this Act shall be commenced within eighteen months following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer.
Illinois Lemon Law 815.380.7
The seller who sells a new vehicle to a consumer, shall, upon delivery of that vehicle to the consumer, provide the consumer with a written statement clearly and conspicuously setting forth in full detail the consumer’s rights under subsection (a) of Section 3, and the presumptions created by subsection (b) of that Section.
Illinois Lemon Law 815.380.8
This Act shall apply to motor vehicles beginning with the model year following the effective date of this Act.