Lemon Law in Iowa
There are some states that go full “gung ho” when it comes to consumer protection as it applies to car buying. Other states provide the minimum of protection. The Iowa Lemon Laws would fall into the latter category. The official Lemon Law can be found in the Iowa Code Chapter 322G.
Unlike other states which have set up distinct arbitration boards to handle these kinds of disputes, Iowa law provided the framework for retribution, but you’re pretty much on your own. That doesn’t mean you can’t get a refund or replacement vehicle for a lemon you bought in Iowa. If you qualify, the state will back you, but you’ll have to settle the matter in court.
Iowa Lemon Law Qualifications
It’s not hard to define a lemon when it’s your own car. If it’s brand new and doesn’t work, it’s a lemon. However, there are specific qualification requirements under the Iowa statues that need to be met in order to obtain official consumer protection. You will need to have taken your car into the mechanic at least 3 separate times to fix a single problem. You could skip over this “3 visit” rule if the defect is deemed to be so serious that if might cause serious physical injury or worse.
Another possible qualification would be that you couldn’t drive your car because of the problem for at least 20 days. Keep in mind that those 20 days don’t have to be all in a row.
All of those incidents need to occur during the Lemon Law rights period. The state of Iowa defines this as the length of the manufacturer’s original warranty or two years after you took ownership of the car or the first 24,000 miles whichever comes first.
Iowa Lemon Law Procedures
The first step in the Iowa Lemon Law remedy process is to send a certified letter to the car maker explaining the situation. Officially, they get at least one more chance to fix the problem. Note that the car maker is not the car dealer. You might have bought the car in Iowa but if they made it in Detroit, that’s where you’ll have to send the notice. Every car manufacturer has a specific department and address set up to handle these very situations.
Included in your letter should be copies of all the history you’ve had with this particular car including repair bills/estimates and dates. Make sure that these documents are easy to read and not just scribbled on the back of a napkin. You should also tell that same manufacturer that you want a reply to this matter within ten days. That doesn’t mean they’ll be rolling up with a new car to swap out the lemon with. However, they need to respond as to what they intend to do to remedy the issue. If they don’t contact you within ten days then you can move to the next step.
That next step is filing a lawsuit against the car maker using the Iowa Lemon Law as the basis for your complaint. Before that, make sure the car manufacturer doesn’t have their own dispute program in place. If so, you might have to go down that road first. Because this matter could ultimately be decided in a courtroom, you should consider having an experienced lawyer by your side for the proceedings. When a ruling is issued in your favor, you can seek a replacement car or refund from the car maker.