Is your new assistive device a lemon? You may be eligible for a refund

October 21, 2013 / assistive technology

Has your assistive device dealer tried to fix the same problem at least three times without success? Has your assistive device been in the shop for more than 45 days? Under Ohio’s Assistive Device Lemon Law, you may be entitled to a refund or a replacement device.

The Assistive Device Lemon Law protects consumers who have purchased or leased a new assistive device. It requires the seller to provide a warranty covering the full cost of repair or replacement for at least a year. All you have to do is return the device to the dealer and explain what is wrong before the warranty has expired, even if the repairs are made later. If the problem can’t be fixed in three tries, or if your device is in the shop for more than 45 days, you are entitled to either a replacement or a full refund (minus charges for reasonable use), whatever you prefer. If you financed the purchase of the device, you may recover interest paid. Also, if the device is being repaired for more than 21 days, the supplier must provide you with a comparable loaner device in the meantime.

The law has a few limitations. It does not cover hearing aids (though it covers devices intended to be used by an individual with a hearing disability). The law does not apply if the defect was caused by misuse of the device or an unauthorized modification. Also, the law only requires a one-year warranty after the first sale. However, if you purchased or leased a used device within its warranty period, you will still be covered until that period expires. Additionally, the law bars a dealer from reselling a device returned as a lemon without full disclosure of the defect to the new buyer.

If your new assistive device just won’t work and you are getting the runaround from your dealer, call Disability Rights Ohio for advice about your rights. If a dealer does not comply with the law and you need to hire an attorney to protect your rights, the law provides for attorney’s fees if you go to court and win. Also, a violation of the Assistive Device Lemon Law often violates other consumer protection laws, such as the Consumer Sales Practices Act.

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