A.G. Schneiderman Announces More Than $2.5 Million in Consumer Recovery Under Lemon Law in 2015, $12.4 Million Since 2011

A.G. Schneiderman Announces More Than $2.5 Million in Consumer Recovery Under Lemon Law in 2015, $12.4 Million Since 2011

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that in 2015, more than $2 million was refunded to 53 New York consumers who claimed their new cars were lemons, and nearly $500,000 was awarded to 15 consumers who had problems with used cars. Lemon laws provide a legal remedy for consumers who are buyers or lessees of new cars and certain used cars that do not conform to the terms of its written warranty, and the manufacturer or its authorized agent is unable to repair defects with the car after a reasonable number of attempts. Since Attorney General Schneiderman took office, New York consumers have recovered $12,391,367 through the Attorney General’s Lemon Law Arbitration Program.

The $2 million in refunds in 2015 include cash awards, vehicle replacements, and out-of-court settlements. Specifically, cash awards to consumers totaled more than $1.6 million for new cars and more than $400,000 for used cars. Consumers recovered more than $400,000 in out-of-court settlements that were reported to the Attorney General’s office after claims were initially submitted for arbitration. Twenty-three consumers also received favorable arbitration decisions reducing by more than $33,000 in total the amounts claimed for wear and tear on their leased vehicles.

“The Lemon Law Arbitration Program has proven to be efficient and effective means for both consumers and the auto industry to resolve disputes,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Under this program, hundreds of auto consumers have obtained compensation without the costs and delays of going to court.”

In 2015, there were a total of 292 new car applications received. A total of 79 new car cases were decided by arbitrators in 2015, with 43 in favor of the consumer and 36 in favor of the manufacturer. Counting settlements and decisions in favor of the consumer, it was estimated that approximately $2,089,000 was refunded to consumers in 2015 under the new car program. Since 2011, the new car arbitration program has resulted in more than $10,382,000 being returned to consumers.

In the used car lemon law program, there were 253 arbitration applications received in 2015. There were 26 decisions rendered: 13 for consumers and 13 for dealers. The estimate for the total recovery by consumers in 2015 was $456,342. Since 2011, the used car arbitration program has returned more than $1,846,000 to consumers. 

The top 10 hearing locations for accepted applications by the OAG by region from 2015 are:

·        Hempstead: 89

·        Smithtown: 37

·        Brooklyn: 23

·        Yonkers: 18

·        Bronx: 17

·        Albany: 16

·        Manhattan: 14

·        Rochester: 11

·        Buffalo: 11

·        Staten Island: 11

·        Poughkeepsie: 10

·        New City: 10

·        Syracuse: 9

·        Jamaica: 9

To apply for arbitration, a consumer must first complete a "Request for Arbitration" form, which may be obtained from the Attorney General’s website, or from any of the Attorney General's regional offices and returned to the Attorney General's Lemon Law Arbitration Unit, Office of the Attorney General, 120 Broadway, New York, New York 10271.

Both programs are administered by the New York State Dispute Resolution Association. The arbitrators are volunteers who have been trained in the lemon law and in arbitration procedures by the Attorney General's office and the Administrator. All Requests for Arbitration are reviewed by the Attorney General's office. This review is for screening purposes only—to determine whether the claim may be heard by an arbitrator. If the form is accepted, it is forwarded to the Administrator for further processing. More information about the Lemon Law program is available here.