Maryland's Lemon Law applies to new or leased motor vehicles (including cars, light trucks and motorcycles), registered in Maryland, that are less than 24 months old and have been driven less than 18,000 miles. The law provides for consumers whose cars meet certain criteria to receive a refund or a replacement vehicle if repair attempts have failed to correct a problem, and the problem substantially impairs the use and market value of the vehicle.
Maryland's lemon law applies only to cars, light trucks and motorcycles that:
1. Are registered in Maryland, and
2. Have been driven less than 18,000 miles and been owned less than 24 months.
(Even if you are not the original owner, the Lemon Law might apply to your vehicle if the original owner purchased it less than 18 months ago.)
The law provides that a dealer or manufacturer must correct a defect within 30 days after the consumer writes to the manufacturer by certified mail. If the manufacturer or dealer is unable to do so, the consumer is entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle under the Lemon Law if the car has:
If you suspect your car is a lemon—for example, if the dealer has tried once or twice unsuccessfully to repair the problem and you believe the problem substantially impairs the use and market value of the vehicle—you should write to the manufacturer immediately. You do not need to wait until the dealer has made the four repair attempts, or until the car has been out of service for 30 days.
If your car is a lemon, you are entitled to a replacement vehicle or the manufacturer must refund the full purchase price minus an allowance for use, not to exceed 15 percent of the purchase price.
If you have not yet notified the manufacturer and you think your car meets the definition of a lemon, you should immediately notify the manufacturer by letter, sent via certified mail, return receipt requested. (See sample letter B.) Senda copy of your letter to the Consumer Protection Division along with a completed complaint form, and keep a copy for your own files. In your letter, you should:
List the make, model, year and VIN of your vehicle.
Include the name of the dealership from which your automobile was purchased and the date of purchase.
Describe the problem you are having.
Describe what you have done to address the problem and include copies of repair orders and dates of repair attempts.
Once the manufacturer receives your letter, it has 30 days to fix the problem. The manufacturer can authorize the dealer to make the repair.
If your car is a lemon and the manufacturer is unable to correct the problem within 30 days of receiving your letter, the manufacturer must repurchase or replace your vehicle. If you previously contacted the manufacturer, you will want to send a follow-up letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, outlining your problem, the steps you have taken to resolve it and what action you want taken. (See sample letter C.)
The manufacturer can replace your vehicle with a comparable one that is acceptable to you, or buy it back, whichever you prefer. The repurchase price you are offered should cover the full purchase price including license fees, registration fees and other similar governmental charges. The manufacturer can subtract up to 15 percent of the purchase price for your use of the vehicle, and a reasonable allowance for damage not attributed to normal wear and tear.
Excise taxes are not refunded by the manufacturer. The Motor Vehicle Administration will return those to you or apply them against your next vehicle. If you have questions about excise taxes, you can call the Motor Vehicle Administration's customer service line at 800-950-1MVA.
If the manufacturer refuses to provide you with a replacement vehicle or refund, or if you need assistance in negotiating the appropriate refund price, you may file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division, and we will contact the manufacturer to assist you in your negotiations.