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Once your car has passed state hurdle to be classified to become a lemon, you must take actions to get restitution. Each state has a different procedure you must follow. Some states requre that you send a letter to manufacturer to give them one last chance to repair defect. Other states have arbitration panels you must deal with to get restitution.
No matter what method state has in place for you to seek restitution, you always have option of working with an attorney if you do not feel issue was solved to your satisfaction. You should consider an attorney as a last resort as not all states allow you to be reimbursed for your legal fees if you win. (And of course if you lose, you would not get reimbursed.) So as frustrating as this situation may be, it is best to persue all state sponsored remedies before seeking legal help.
What happens if you win?
If your vehicle is determined to be a lemon under your state's law, you are entitled to a refund or a comparable replacement vehicle. A comparable vehicle most be indentical or a reasonable equivalent of your current vehicle. A refund will include your purchase price, taxes and any other options installed in vehicle minus a usage fee based on how much you used car. The terms will very a bit from state to state but this is generally what you can expect.
What happens to car after manufactuer takes it back?
The manufacturer will generally recondition it and put it back for sale within its network. Depending on state where problem occurred, title may or may not be stamped with a phrase like "Lemon Law Buyback" when it is returned to that state for resale. However, not all states require this and if car was transferred from one state to another, information may not follow on title issued from new state.
Used car buyer beware!
While lemon cars are only a very small percentage of used cars that are sold, this issue with titles not always conveying true history of car, it shows importance of doing research on any used car purchase. If you are buying a used car from a dealer, you should insist on a Carfax lemon check report and if you are buying from an individual, you should do one yourself at carfax.com. It is a very reasonable price to pay to be sure your car has no hidden defects.
Steven Chabotte is a freelance writer that writes for Lemon Law Resources http://www.lemonlawresources.com and My Attorney Finder http://www.myattorneyfinder.com.