Lemon Law in Hawaii
You might ask yourself, “What could possibly go wrong with living in a paradise like Hawaii?”
Clearly, you haven’t been watching “Hawaii 5-O!” Even life in paradise can come with its fair share of headaches. Just like folks on the mainland, Hawaii car owners have dealt with having their brand new cars turn out to be lemons.
To help Hawaii residents deal with defective cars, the state set up the State Certified Arbitration Program or SCAP. You can find all the legalese regarding this law under the Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 4811. This is a simple process established to bring car owners and car makers together to resolve the issues with a defective car. If it means a trip to Hawaii, you can bet the car makers will be flying out to resolve the matter in person.
Hawaii Lemon Law Qualifications
You can apply for a SCAP proceeding if your car is newly purchased with the manufacturer’s warranty still in effect. The car can be the family car or a company car, but it has to have been bought and registered in Hawaii. The Hawaii Lemon Laws won’t cover mopeds, motor scooters or motorcycles.
We should always keep records of our car’s repairs. This is especially true for a car with constant repair issues that might be headed to the lemon court. The defect for a lemon would have to be something that was caused in the original making of the car and not necessarily from your use. In other words, if you took the car off road and banged up the axle, that’s on you!
As for the lemon repair, you must have tried at least three times to get the issue fixed. After that you’re definitely in the lemon zone. Once that happens, you’ll have to notify the car maker by certified mail and give them once more shot at fixing your car. Beyond that it’s time for arbitration.
Hawaii Lemon Law Arbitration Procedures
Your first option with arbitration will be to decide if you want binding or non-binding. As you can imagine, with binding arbitration, the decision of the panel is final. In the case of non-binding, either side can appeal within 30 days of the final decision. Keep in mind that if you picked non-binding arbitration then file an appeal and lose, you will be responsible for any court costs and lawyers fees. That is not a bill you want to be stuck with!
At the arbitration proceeding, you will be allowed to present your case. This is where all those well kept notes of the car’s repair history come into play. You can even present your own expert witness in the form of your mechanic. The car maker will have their turn to present the response to your lemon claims.
Once the panel has heard both sides, they will have 45 days to issue a ruling. You’ll be notified by certified mail. That’s when you’ll be told if you qualify for a complete refund or a replacement. If you went for the binding arbitration and had the ruling in your favor, then the car maker will have to step up to the plate within 40 days. If they don’t comply, then yes, you’ll be able to say, “Book ’em, Danno!”