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Kentucky Lemon Laws

Lemon laws protect car buyers from purchasing subpar vehicles. Generally, for a car to qualify as a "lemon" requiring replacement, the car must have at least one substantial defect within a certain time of purchasing that isn’t repaired after a reasonable number of attempts by the dealer or manufacturer. Each state law varies, but most lemon laws are divided into options for new car and used car laws. The new car laws are more likely to require a replacement or damages (financial losses) while used car laws (when available at all) may only require paying for damages in some cases.

The Kentucky lemon laws generally only cover new car buyers (not motorcycles or motor homes), but there's one protection provided for purchasers of used vehicles as well. If a car seller rolls back the odometer on a vehicle, that’s a Class D felony and the victim is entitled to three times their actual damages, plus attorney fees and court costs. A Class D felony has a sentencing range of 1-5 years in prison and a fine of $1,000-$10,000 or double what was gained from the crime, for example the excess made on the fraudulent sale of the car.

The following table provides a brief overview of the lemon laws in Kentucky.

Code Sections Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter 367 – Consumer Protection
Title of Act Defective New Cars
Definition of Defects The defect(s) to the new car must be a nonconformity to any applicable express warranty that significantly impairs the use, value, or safety of the motor vehicle.
Time Limit for Manufacturer Repair The vehicle must have the defect(s) within the first 12 months following date of delivery to the buyer or the first 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. The buyer has to report the nonconforming in writing to the manufacturer or its agents.

The manufacturer has a “reasonable number of attempts” to fix the vehicle. This can be shown by the same defect requiring repair four or more times in the first 12 months or 12,000 miles or the vehicle is out of service for at least 30 days total during that period (not due to parts being unavailable due to war, riots, floods, or other natural disasters).
Remedies The buyer has two options for the lemon car, the manufacturer either:
  1. Replaces the vehicle with a comparable motor vehicle OR
  2. Accepts the return of the vehicle for a refund of the full purchase price including the amount paid for the vehicle, any finance charges, all sales tax, licensing fee, registration fee, any similar government charges, plus all related charges, less a reasonable offset for the consumer’s use of the vehicle, when it was working
Informal Dispute Resolution Kentucky law requires car manufacturers to offer buyers a free, impartial, comprehensive informal dispute resolution system, as long as the buyer elects it within the first 2 years or 25,000 miles. This process involves oral hearings, if elected, or decisions based on documents submitted to a decision-making panel. The Office of the Attorney General monitors the dispute resolution system.

This can result in legally binding, out-of-court settlement agreements. Before signing any settlement agreement on any legal matter, it’s a good idea to have an attorney review the agreement to ensure you aren’t waiving your rights unnecessarily.

If you’ve bought a lemon and need help asserting your rights under the Kentucky consumer protection laws, then you should speak with an experienced lemon law attorney.

Note: State laws change all the time, you should verify these laws by conducting your own legal research or contacting a knowledgeable lawyer.

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