Step 7: State-Operated Arbitration
If you submit a timely application after completing the previous steps and are accepted for state arbitration, you should know that:
- After the arbitration has been scheduled, you will receive a video explaining in much more depth how an arbitration hearing is conducted.
- You will be presenting your case before a panel of three arbitrators.
- You are not required to have an attorney present, although this is permissible.
- You may bring witnesses.
- A representative of the vehicle manufacturer will be present and may present evidence.
- Your vehicle should be present so that the panel can observe the defects.
- You need to bring all your relevant documents to the arbitration hearing.
In the arbitration panel's decision, either you or the manufacturer will prevail. If the decision is in your favor:
- You will be awarded your choice of either a repurchase or a replacement of your vehicle, less an offset for use [(Miles × purchase price) ÷ 100,000].
- You will be awarded collateral charges and incidental costs, if applicable.
- The panel has the discretion to award you attorney's fees and expert witness costs.
- The law places certain limits on the amount you can be reimbursed for a leased vehicle.
- The manufacturer must either comply with or appeal the decision within 40 days from the date it receives notice of your acceptance of the decision.
What to Do Next
- If the decision is in your favor,the process is complete (unless the manufacturer appeals, see Step 8).
- If the decision is in your favor but the manufacturer fails to comply within the 40-day period, contact the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection at 404-651-9397.
- If the decision is not in your favor,you have a window of opportunity to appeal. First, you must reject the decision by certified mail (return receipt requested) within 30 days from the date you receive the decision; then you may proceed to Step 8.
- If the decision is not in your favor and you do not appeal, the Lemon Law process has ended for the arbitrated defect.