Understanding the Lemon Law in Nebraska


Buying a new car should be an exciting experience. However, that excitement can quickly turn to frustration if you discover the vehicle you purchased is defective. This is often referred to as buying a “lemon.” Fortunately, Nebraska has strong lemon laws that protect consumers when they end up with a faulty vehicle. This article will provide an overview of your rights and options if you purchase a lemon car in Nebraska. An Omaha personal injury lawyer can discuss the details of your specific case with you and help you determine the best course of action for your needs.

What Qualifies as a Lemon Under Nebraska Law?

Under Nebraska’s lemon law statutes (commonly referred to as the Motor Vehicle Warranty Act), a vehicle qualifies as a lemon if it meets certain criteria regarding attempted repairs of defects. A defect must “substantially impair” the vehicle’s use, market value, or safety.

The law applies to personal vehicles, including passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs that meet the following lemon qualifications:

  • The vehicle is still under the manufacturer’s express warranty
  • There have been at least four repair attempts for the same defect, or the vehicle has spent 30 total days out for repair
  • The defect still exists and substantially impairs the safety or value of the vehicle
  • The vehicle has 18,000 miles or less at the time of the first repair attempt

The Time Period for Action Under the Lemon Law

Consumers must file legal action against the manufacturer within one year from the vehicle’s original delivery date to the buyer. This underlines the importance of keeping diligent repair records and acting quickly when you have given the manufacturer adequate chances to fix your vehicle’s defects.

Important Steps if You Believe You Have a Lemon

The lemon law establishes certain responsibilities for manufacturers, dealerships, and consumers regarding vehicles with significant defects. Here are some key steps to take if your repeated repair attempts are unsuccessful:

  • Carefully document all repair visits
  • Send a letter to the manufacturer
  • File a claim under Nebraska’s state-run arbitration program
  • Consider hiring a lemon law attorney

Keeping Detailed Records of Your Repair Attempts

One of the most important steps if you find yourself with a potential lemon on your hands is keeping thorough logs of each time the vehicle goes into the shop for repair. Every repair attempt related to the defect should be documented. Make sure to diligently track details like:

  • The date of each repair visit
  • The mileage at the time of each visit
  • How long the vehicle was kept in for service
  • The specific issues you asked the shop to address
  • Any remarks the service technicians made regarding diagnosis or parts replacements
  • Itemized receipts for any repairs attempted

You may not realize at first how significant a recurring issue or unusual sound can become down the road. Log anything out of the ordinary so you have even minor issues recorded. Having complete maintenance records dated over the course of months or years will serve you extremely well if you need to prove your case as a lemon. This demonstrates with hard evidence that you gave the manufacturer ample opportunity to fix the flaw.

Notifying the Manufacturer in Writing

An important aspect of your letter to the manufacturer is properly documenting the defect and repair attempts. Be sure to include:

  • Identification details like VIN, make, model year
  • Description of the defect
  • Repair history – dates, mileage, length of time, parts replaced, etc.
  • Formal request for replacement or refund

Send via certified mail and retain a dated copy for yourself. Proper notification establishes a timeline if legal action becomes necessary.

Filing a Claim under Nebraska’s State-Run Arbitration Program

If you believe you have a strong lemon law case, Nebraska provides an inexpensive state-run arbitration program to resolve auto warranty disputes. Here is a summary of key details about this program:

  • It is administered by the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • There is a $50 filing fee to initiate a claim, which is added to the final settlement if you prevail.
  • You must file within 6 months from the manufacturer’s last repair attempt and notify them of one final chance to fix the vehicle.
  • The arbitration case will be reviewed by a neutral third-party panel appointed by the state.
  • They will render a legally binding decision within 60 days.

This no-cost arbitration program aims to resolve warranty disputes faster and less expensively than traditional litigation. Having a knowledgeable lemon law attorney from Monge & Associates guide you through the nuanced process can significantly strengthen the outcome of your claim.

What Remedies Are Available in Nebraska?

If your claim qualifies under the lemon law statutes, these are typical remedies manufacturers may be required to provide:

  • Refund – This would include a full refund of the vehicle purchase price, sales tax, license and registration fees, finance charges, insurance premiums, and other associated costs.
  • Replacement – The manufacturer may offer an identical or comparable replacement vehicle.
  • Cash settlement – You may negotiate a cash settlement with the automaker to offset the vehicle’s loss in value.

It is uncommon for vehicle manufacturers to willingly offer refunds or replacement vehicles initially. Having legal representation to demonstrate you have a strong lemon law claim is often essential to obtain the best outcome. An attorney with expertise in this area understands how to build leverage and put pressure on the manufacturer by initiating litigation if that becomes necessary.

Consult a Lemon Law Attorney Today

Purchasing a defective vehicle can turn an exciting new purchase into a devastating financial blow and logistical stressor. If you believe you were sold a faulty lemon vehicle in Nebraska, do not simply accept the runaround from repeated trips to the dealership’s service department. The state’s lemon laws exist specifically to hold automakers accountable in situations like these.

Work with an experienced Nebraska lemon law attorney to thoroughly evaluate your case and develop an assertive legal strategy if the vehicle qualifies under the statute’s repair attempt and impairment standards. An attorney has the knowledge and resources to demand the manufacturer offer a full buyback settlement or replacement and take legal action if necessary. This frees you from the hassles and delays of fighting it alone against their legal team.

Don’t get stuck driving a brand-new lemon! Understand your consumer rights and explore your options by contacting Monge & Associates, a lemon law lawyer serving Nebraska drivers today. We will fight to get you the maximum refund, replacement value, or compensation you deserve.

We have offices in 32 locations and 19 states, including Nebraska, Maryland and Mississippi.

Call now for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597.

Voted Best Law Firm by American Institute of Trial Lawyers