Hawaii’s New Motor Vehicle Lemon Law establishes a procedure and forum for resolving complaints between consumers and motor vehicle manufacturers. Under Hawaii’s New Motor Vehicle Lemon Law, a consumer buying a new motor vehicle in this state should receive from the dealer, a written notice explaining the consumer’s lemon law rights and the terms of the State Certified Arbitration Program. The notice must include the manufacturer’s name and address to which the consumer must send written notification of any defect.
Under the lemon law, if a consumer’s motor vehicle develops warranty related defects which are not corrected after three or more repair attempts, or has been out of service for repairs for a cumulative total of 30 or more business days, and the defect substantially impairs the vehicle’s use, safety, or value, the manufacturer has a duty to provide the consumer with a refund or a replacement vehicle. Also, if the defect has been subject to examination or repair at least once but continues to be a defect which is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, the manufacturer has a duty to provide a refund or a replacement vehicle.
The written notification to the manufacturer of the defect (remember this is the manufacturer and not the dealer), must be sent before the lemon law rights period expires. The lemon law rights period means the term of the manufacturer’s express warranty, the period ending 2 years after the date of the original delivery of a vehicle to a consumer or the first 24,000 miles of operation, whichever occurs first. After the lemon law rights period expires, the consumer has 1 year within which to file for SCAP, the State Certified Arbitration Program. SCAP is a self-help program. The SCAP case administrator is not your representative and will not be present with you during the arbitration. At the arbitration, you will have the opportunity to prove to the neutral arbitrator, that the defect is covered under warranty, the defect is a substantial impairment of the vehicle’s use, safety, or value, and you provided the manufacturer with a reasonable opportunity to repair.
There is a $50 filing fee to file an application for arbitration with SCAP. This fee will be returned to the consumer, if the arbitrator decides in the consumer’s favor. The arbitrator’s decision will be issued within 45 days after the initiation of the case.
For more information on the New Motor Vehicle Lemon Law Arbitration Program, dial 587-4272.