For a vehicle repurchase under the West Virginia Lemon Law, you should get back everything you are entitled to under the law. The problem is that it is not easy to tell what you should get back without an attorney, and manufacturers take advantage of that. While the Lemon Law says generally what is to be refunded, it does not provide an exact calculation.
The law states that the purchase price, including but not limited to sales tax, license and registration fees and other reasonable expenses are to be reimbursed. Finance charges are not specifically listed as an item to be refunded, but I always argue that finance charges should be refunded in my Lemon Law repurchases.
Recently, car owners contacted me about an offer they received on their own without an attorney. The manufacturer had offered a repurchase based on the West Virginia Lemon Law but the owners were going to have to pay over $10,000 for the manufacturer to buy back the car. While there was some negative equity (money owned on the trade vehicle that was rolled in to the loan), that negative equity was nowhere near $10,000 and the car owners could not see where the calculation was wrong.
After reviewing the offer and the purchase documents, I saw several errors in the manufacturer’s number. Interest charges were not included in the refund. The manufacturer’s calculation was also a combination of two different methods of calculating the refund. Either one of the two methods of calculation would have been appropriate and given a correct number, but by combining the two different methods, the manufacturer improperly deducted negative equity and service contracts twice. After I pushed the manufacturer, the car owners’ amount to pay the manufacturer for the Lemon Law buyback due to negative equity was $14 instead of over $10,000.
The concerning thing here was that the car owners could not tell why the numbers were off until I got involved. While I knew that the service contracts and the negative equity were being subtracted twice due to the way the reimbursement was calculated, the negative equity and service contract were only listed in the calculation as subtracted once. The numbers looked correct on their face to the consumers. Only an experienced lemon law attorney who has done hundreds of repurchase calculations and knew what went into the payoff could see the errors
The discrepancy here was large enough that the clients knew something was wrong, even if they could not tell where the errors were. In a case where the difference is not as dramatic, the car owner would never know that the manufacturer was shorting them on their refund. This is an important reason to retain an experienced Lemon Law attorney if you have a potential case under the West Virginia Lemon Law. For most reputable Lemon Law attorneys, including myself, attorneys’ fees would be paid by the manufacturer on top of the repurchase reimbursement under the law and would not be subtracted from or reduce the repurchase amount. Instead of taking a risk of being cheated by the manufacturer on your Lemon Law buyback, consumers should retain an experienced Lemon Law attorney at no cost who can make sure that they get all they are entitled to under the law.