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Am I Required To Give The Manufacturer A Chance At Resolving The Issue Prior To Filing A Lemon Law Claim?

Key Takeaways:

  • Arizona’s Lemon Law do not technically require you to give your car’s manufacturer a chance to make a settlement or resolution offer before you file. However, in practice, Judges tend to frown upon taking a claim to Court without first trying to resolve the matter outside of Court.
  • There are two presumptions in the Arizona Lemon Law: that you tried to repair the vehicle’s defect to no avail after four repair attempts, and that the car was out of use for a total of 30 days cumulatively.
  • Meeting either of the presumptions of the Lemon Law is likely to help your case significantly, since it shifts the burden of proof from you as the consumer to the manufacturer with respect to whether your vehicle’s repair history is unreasonable. Still, while it is almost always helpful, meeting the presumptions is not a guarantee that you will win the case.
  • It is also possible to make a valid Arizona Lemon Law claim without meeting the law’s presumptions exactly. The presumptions can be considered guideposts to help the consumer understand what is generally considered unreasonable by the Court, rather than strict cutoffs of how many car repairs and how many days out of use are required to file a claim.

The Arizona Lemon Law does not specifically say that you have to provide your car’s manufacturer with a chance to offer a reasonable settlement or resolution prior to filing a Lemon Law claim in Court. However, as a practical matter, a Judge would not be happy if a consumer filed a claim without giving that kind of opportunity to the manufacturer.

There’s are numerous civil cases in the judicial system, and Courts prefer to rule on cases where the parties truly weren’t able to agree on an out-of-court settlement. Judges view Court as a last-ditch effort that should be utilized only in cases where the parties have tried and failed to come to a resolution on their own.

Of course, this presupposes that you at least tried to resolve your Arizona Lemon Law claim out of Court, which presupposes that you gave the manufacturer a chance to make an offer or negotiate a settlement.

So, although it is not an express requirement of the Arizona Lemon Law statute (notice of the claim is specifically required prior to litigation), it is advisable to give a reasonable settlement opportunity to the manufacturer prior to deciding to file a formal Lemon Law lawsuit.

Do I Have To Meet All Of The Presumptions Of The Arizona Lemon Law In Order To File A Valid Arizona Lemon Law Claim?

No, you do not have to meet all of the presumptions of the Arizona Lemon Law in order to bring a valid Lemon Law claim. Presumptions are included in the Arizona Lemon Law to help consumers prove their claims. They are a guidepost of what is an unreasonable repair history rather than a requirement.

There are two of these presumptions in the Arizona Lemon Law, under ARS section 44-1264:

  • Four or more repair attempts were made to repair the vehicle’s defect or nonconformity, but the defect continues to exist.
  • The vehicle has been out of service for at least 30 days (which can be cumulative rather than consecutive, and can result from any of the vehicle’s defects rather than just one)

It is helpful to your case if you meet either of those presumptions since that shifts the burden of proof from you as the consumer bringing the claim to the manufacturer who is defending the claim. Since consumers are the one bringing Lemon Law claims, they have the burden of proof to show by a preponderance of evidence that their vehicle’s repair history is unreasonable under the circumstances (meaning, to prove that their argument is more likely than not to be correct; this is analogous to scoring more points in a football, basketball, or baseball game).

Meeting the presumptions shifts the burden of proof to the manufacturer. If you can prove that you meet either presumption, it becomes the manufacturer’s responsibility to try to prove that even though you meet the presumption(s), the defect repair history is still reasonable somehow under the circumstances. This is very difficult for a vehicle manufacturer to do—much more so than arguing the validity of a Lemon Law claim, even if you don’t meet the presumptions.

It should be noted that meeting either or both presumptions for a Lemon Law claim does not guarantee that you will prevail—even though it does improve your chances significantly. That’s because you also have to prove that the vehicle’s defect, condition, and/or nonconformity substantially impaired the use and value of the vehicle to you.

Be that as it may, even if you don’t meet either presumption, you could still have a valid, winnable Lemon Law case. In our view, if you have at least three repairs for a substantial defect, or 25 days in the repair shop, in our mind that’s still unreasonable for a new vehicle and it would likely qualify as a valid Lemon Law claim.

Generally, there is no specific number of how many repair attempts must be made, or how many days the car has to be out of service by reason of repair. The presumptions are kind of a guidepost to give you a sense of what is considered unreasonable, but they are not exact definitions or requirements.

For more information on Resolving A Lemon Law Issue Prior To Filing A Claim,Free Lemon Law Evaluation is your next best step. Get the evaluation you are seeking by calling (480) 237-2744 today.

Amar Law Group

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