Ohio Lemon Law FAQs
My vehicle is defective. What can I do about it?
You should take advantage of Ohio and/or federal consumer laws designed to protect consumers who have purchased a problem vehicle, including the Ohio Lemon Laws, the Ohio Consumer Protection Act, Ohio Uniform Commercial Code, Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and other contract remedies. These laws may enable you to get rid of or replace your defective vehicle, get your loan paid off and even get your money back. Contact William F. Perry Co. LPA for a free, no-obligation consultation and we’ll tell you if we can help.
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What can I recover if I prove my vehicle is defective?
If your vehicle qualifies as a “lemon” under Ohio’s Lemon Laws, you are entitled to a “buy back” or a “repurchase” of the vehicle, which means you get your money back or a new car. But even if you’re not eligible to recover under the Lemon Laws, you may be able to file a Breach of Warranty or similar claim. What you can recover under these laws is not as clearly defined, though most of our clients who file a Breach of Warranty claim receive a partial refund and keep the vehicle.
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What is a "lemon"?
A lemon is an informal term used to describe a defective product, such as an automobile that doesn’t run properly. All states have a Lemon Law designed to help consumers who bought problem vehicles. Read Ohio’s Lemon Laws.
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What is the purpose of Ohio’s Lemon Laws?
Ohio Lemon Laws are designed to protect consumers from unsafe and defective vehicles. Under certain circumstances, Ohio’s Lemon Laws require manufacturers to replace or buy back an owned or leased vehicle with a defect that substantially impairs its use, value or safety, and that cannot be or has not been properly repaired in a timely manner.
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What vehicles are covered under Ohio’s Lemon Laws?
Ohio’s Lemon Laws cover virtually all motor vehicles, including passenger cars, motorcycles, motor homes and recreational vehicles (engine and chassis; does not include interior items such as refrigerators or stoves), "light" trucks (those which are designed to carry a load of no more than one ton, and which are not used in the course of a business for profit) and motorized scooters. Boats are not covered under Ohio’s Lemon Laws. However, boat owners are protected by other state and federal consumer protection laws.
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Is my vehicle a lemon?
If you recently purchased a new or used vehicle and you’re experiencing problems with it, you may have lemon. One way to determine if your vehicle is a lemon is to take our online Lemon Test. You can also contact us and talk for free with an experienced Lemon Law attorney who will review your vehicle history with you and let you know what options are available to you.
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What is required to prove a Breach of Warranty case (Magnuson-Moss)?
A Breach of Warranty can occur in various ways. Some of the most common situations occur when there have been an unreasonable number of attempts to fix a particular problem during a vehicle’s warranty period, or there has been an unreasonable amount of time that the vehicle has been out of service because of repairs. The warranty can also be breached if the manufacturer refuses to repair a particular problem during the warranty period that should be covered under the warranty, but for whatever reason they claim it is not, or the manufacturer refuses to repair a particular defect after the warranty period has ended, but the problem was actually reported to them while the vehicle was still under warranty. Another possible way to prove Breach of Warranty is to show that the warranty has failed of its essential purpose because there have been so many problems with the vehicle that the warranty does not help much at all. Because there are so many possibilities we suggest you contact us as soon as possible to discuss your options. As always, there is no charge for you to consult with one of our Lemon Law/Warranty attorneys.
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What do I have to do to file a Lemon Law or Breach of Warranty case?
Contact us immediately! If you’re having problems with your vehicle, you may be able to get rid of it, replace it, or get some or all of your money back, including your out-of-pocket vehicle-related expenses.
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How long does a Lemon Law or Breach of Warranty case take?
Every case is unique and the amount of times it takes to resolve it can vary greatly. We have settled Breach of Warranty cases in as little as three weeks. It is not unusual for cases to be resolved favorably within 45 to 90 days. On the other hand, a Lemon Law or consumer Breach of Warranty case that winds its way through the courts can take anywhere from four (4) to twelve (12) months, or longer. It is important that you do not delay.
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Are used vehicles covered by state and/or federal consumer protection laws?
Generally, no. Ohio’s Lemon Laws may cover used vehicles under certain circumstances. If the vehicle was re-sold within the first year or the first 18,000 miles of operation, and problems were reported during that same period, it is covered by the Lemon Law. Also, if the vehicle was still covered by the original manufacturer's warranty when you bought it (or your vehicle was "Certified" by the manufacturer or dealer), Ohio’s Lemon Laws may still apply. Even if it doesn’t qualify under the Lemon Laws, you may still qualify for relief under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. To find out if you have a claim resulting from the purchase of a used vehicle, contact us.
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Are leased vehicles covered by consumer protection laws?
Yes. If the vehicle is defective, it doesn’t matter if you purchased or leased it. Either way you can recover damages.
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How many attempts must be made to repair a vehicle before it can be considered a lemon?
In Ohio, before a vehicle can be considered a "lemon," there must be a manufacturer's defect that "substantially impairs" its use, value or safety. If one or more of the following circumstances occur within the first year or 18,000 miles, the manufacturer, through the dealer, is presumed to have made a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle if:
- substantially the same problem has been subject to repair three or more times
- the vehicle has been out of service for a total of 30 or more calendar days for repairs
- eight or more different defective parts or problems have impaired the vehicle’s use or value
- there has been at least one repair attempt for a safety-related problem, and the problem either continues to exist or recurs
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What will it cost me to file a Lemon Law or Breach of Warranty claim?
Nothing! Should William F. Perry Co. LPA agree to represent you in a Lemon Law or Breach of Warranty case, all attorney’s fees are paid by the manufacturer when your case is settled or won. If we don’t win, we don't get paid! We do this so there is no risk to you and because we believe our system works.
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How much time do I have to file a Lemon Law or Breach of Warranty claim?
Under Ohio’s Lemon Law, you must report a substantial defect or condition within the first 12 months and 18,000 miles of vehicle use, or the vehicle must have been out of service for 30 days or more during that time. Subsequent repair attempts can occur after the first 12 months or 18,000 miles. However, a Breach of Warranty can occur at almost any time, depending on the circumstances. Most of the time the defect only has to be reported within the warranty period to make a claim for Breach of Warranty (that is, within the original manufacturer’s warranty or within the time/mileage period of an extended Warranty).
Under Ohio’s Lemon Laws, you must file your claim within four years after the third repair attempt or within five years after the date of purchase.
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What if my dealer says my vehicle doesn’t qualify for relief under the Lemon Laws?
Do not be misled by dealers, repair technicians, or others who say your vehicle doesn’t qualify under the Lemon Laws. First, it’s in their best interest for you to not file a claim. Second, the Lemon Laws are complicated and they may not be qualified to determine if you may be entitled to relief. Finally, the Lemons Laws are just one way to recover. You may have a Breach of Warranty claim or a claim under the Ohio Consumer Protection Act, Ohio Uniform Commercial Code, Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, or other contract remedies. To find out what your options are, talk to a William F. Perry Co. LPA Lemon Lawyer today. We’ll provide a free, no-obligation consultation and let you know if you’re entitled to compensation for the problems you’ve experienced.
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What if my vehicle was eventually repaired? Can I still file a Lemon Law or Breach of Warranty claim?
Yes. Under Ohio’s Lemon Laws, the manufacturer is required to repair the vehicle after a reasonable number of repair attempts. If the dealership tried and failed to successfully repair your vehicle or if your vehicle was out of service for an unreasonable amount of time, you still have a Lemon Law claim even if the vehicle was ultimately repaired. You may be able to recover under a Breach of Warranty claim or a claim under the Ohio Consumer Protection Act, Ohio Uniform Commercial Code or the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
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What if I’ve had problems with my vehicle but not so many that it qualifies as a lemon?
If the defects with your vehicle do not meet the requirements of Ohio’s Lemon Laws, you may have a Breach of Warranty claim or a claim under other state and federal laws that protect owners of new or used vehicles. Ohio’s Lemon Laws are only some of the many laws designed to protect consumers who buy or lease a vehicle. You may also pursue claims under the Ohio Consumer Protection Act, Ohio Uniform Commercial Code, Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, or other laws.
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What documents do I need to file a claim?
To build a strong Lemon Law or Breach of Warranty case, you’ll need the paperwork that shows the details of the purchase and the service/repair history of the vehicle, including dates and work performed, as well as proof of ownership (title and registration). Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the copies of the repair orders. We can obtain all the relevant documents you’ll need to file a claim. The most important thing is to get started sooner rather than later. Sending us the documents you have can get your case moving in the right direction and then we can supplement with other documents as we move forward.
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Do I have to accept a replacement vehicle from the manufacturer?
No. Under Ohio’s Lemon Laws, you get to decide whether you get a replacement vehicle or your money back. If you choose a refund, you’re entitled to all of your out-of-pocket vehicle-related expenses. The manufacturer cannot deduct for the wear and tear on your lemon vehicle.
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The manufacturer wants to give me an extended warranty instead of replacing my car. If I accept it, can I still file a Lemon Law or Breach of Warranty claim?
If you accept the extended warranty, you might lose your right to file a Lemon Law or Breach of Warranty claim. It’s common for manufacturers to offer an extended warranty as it’s an inexpensive resolution for them. Before you agree to accept an extended warranty, talk to a William F. Perry Co. LPA Lemon Lawyer. We’ll provide a free, no-obligation review of your situation and let you know if you’re entitled to more. Our experience has been that if a manufacturer wants to resolve your case with an extended warranty we will usually be able to get you some money back in addition to the extended warranty.
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Do I need a lawyer to handle my Lemon Law or Breach of Warranty claim?
You can try to work things out on your own and any recovery you get will be all yours. However, our experience has been that few consumers who represent themselves receive the full compensation they’re due. Most of our clients report wasting a lot of time trying to get the manufacturer or dealer to do the right thing before they call us. Hiring an attorney likely will put an end the delays and run-around and sends a strong message to the manufacturer that you mean business. And, because there are no out-of-pocket costs to you for our services, there’s no risk to letting us do the work for you in your Lemon Law or Breach of Warranty claim.
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What is arbitration?
First of all, know that we can handle the arbitration process for you at no cost. Arbitration is a process whereby a "neutral" third party makes a decision about your case. In Ohio, if the vehicle manufacturer is one that uses a state-certified arbitration board, you must go through the arbitration process before you can go to court. Arbitration is free and in most cases, a decision is made within about forty five (45) to sixty (60) days after your application for arbitration has been received by the Board.
There are two arbitration programs in Ohio: the National Center for Dispute Settlement (NCDS) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB AUTO LINE). If the vehicle manufacturer has not been given state certification for its own arbitration board, you may choose to go through arbitration or pursue the matter through the courts. If you receive an unfavorable arbitration decision you can still sue the manufacturer under the provisions of the Lemon Law.
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Can I hire an attorney before going through the arbitration process?
Yes. We will file the arbitration on your behalf if it is necessary. Keep in mind that generally, you are not bound by the arbitrator’s decision and, even if he or she rules against you, you can still file a Lemon Law or Breach of Warranty complaint in a court of law. Filing a complaint with the courts is usually your best chance to get your money back, obtain a new car or receive money which would be equivalent to a full or partial refund.
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Ohio Lemon Law Statute
(After September 15, 1999)
Sections 1345.71 thru 1345.77 of the Revised Code
As used in sections 1345.71 to 1345.77 of the Revised Code:
As used in sections 1345.71 to 1345.78 of the Revised Code:
(A) "Consumer" means any of the following:
(1) The purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, of a motor vehicle;
(2) Any lessee of a motor vehicle in a contractual arrangement under which a charge is made for the use of the vehicle at a periodic rate for a term of thirty days or more, and title to the vehicle is in the name of a person other than the user;
(3) Any person to whom the motor vehicle is transferred during the duration of the express warranty that is applicable to the motor vehicle;
(4) Any other person who is entitled by the terms of the warranty to enforce the warranty.
(B) "Manufacturer" and "distributor" have the same meanings as in section 4517.01 of the Revised Code, and "manufacturer" includes a remanufacturer as defined in that section.
(C) "Express warranty" and "warranty" mean the written warranty of the manufacturer or distributor of a new motor vehicle concerning the condition and fitness for use of the vehicle, including any terms or conditions precedent to the enforcement of obligations under that warranty.
(D) "Motor vehicle" means any passenger car or noncommercial motor vehicle or those parts of any motor home that are not part of the permanently installed facilities for cold storage, cooking and consuming of food, and for sleeping but does not mean any mobile home or recreational vehicle or any manufactured home as defined in section 3781.06 of the Revised Code.
(E) "Nonconformity" means any defect or condition that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of a motor vehicle to the consumer and does not conform to the express warranty of the manufacturer or distributor.
(F) "Full purchase price" means both of the following:
(1) In the case of a sale, the contract price for the motor vehicle, including charges for transportation, undercoating, dealer-installed options and accessories, dealer services, dealer preparation and delivery charges; all finance, credit insurance, warranty, and service contract charges incurred by the consumer; and all sales tax, license and registration fees, and other government charges.
(2) In the case of a lease, the capitalized cost reduction, security deposit, taxes, title fees, all monthly lease payments, the residual value of the vehicle, and all finance, credit insurance, warranty, and service contract charges incurred by the consumer.
(G) "Buyback" means a motor vehicle that has been replaced or repurchased by a manufacturer as the result of a court judgement, a determination of an informal dispute settlement mechanism, or a settlement agreed to by a consumer regardless of whether it is in the context of a court, an informal dispute settlement mechanism, or otherwise, in this or any other state, in which the consumer has asserted that the motor vehicle does not conform to the warranty, has presented documentation to establish that a nonconformity exists pursuant to section 1345.72 or 1345.73 of the Revised Code, and has requested replacement or repurchase of the vehicle.
(H) "Mobile Home," "Motor Home," "Noncommercial Motor Vehicle," "Passenger Car," and "Recreational Vehicle" have the same meanings in section 4501.01 of the Revised Code.
(A) If a new motor vehicle does not conform to any applicable express warranty and the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer during the period of one year following the date of original delivery or during the first eighteen thousand miles of operation, whichever is earlier, the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer shall make any repairs as are necessary to conform the vehicle to such express warranty, notwithstanding the fact that the repairs are made after the expiration of the appropriate time period.
(B) If the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer is unable to conform the motor vehicle to any applicable express warranty by repairing or correcting any nonconformity after a reasonable number of repair attempts, the manufacturer, at the consumer's option and subject to division
(D) of this section, either shall replace the motor vehicle with a new motor vehicle acceptable to the consumer or shall accept return of the vehicle from the consumer and refund each of the following:
(1) The full purchase price;
(2) All incidental damages, including, but not limited to, any fees charged by the lender or lessor for making or canceling the loan or lease, and any expenses incurred by the consumer as a result of the nonconformity, such as charges for towing, vehicle rental, meals, and lodging.
(C) Nothing in this section imposes any liability on a new motor vehicle dealer or creates a cause of action by a buyer against a new motor vehicle dealer.
(D) Sections 1345.71 to 1345.78 of the Revised Code do not affect the obligation of a consumer under a loan or retail installment sales contract or the interest of any secured party, except as follows:
(1) If the consumer elects to take a refund, the manufacturer shall forward the total sum required under division (B) of this section by an instrument jointly payable to the consumer and any lienholder that appears on the face of the certificate of title or the lessor. Prior to disbursing the funds to the consumer, the lienholder or lessor may deduct the balance owing to it, including any fees charged for canceling the loan or the lease and refunded pursuant to division (B) of this section, and shall immediately remit the balance if any, to the consumer and cancel the lien or the lease.
(2) If the consumer elects to take a new motor vehicle, the manufacturer shall notify any lienholder noted on the certificate of title under section 4505.13 of the Revised Code or the lessor. If both the lienholder or the lessor and the consumer consent to finance or lease the new motor vehicle obtained through the exchange in division (B) of this section, the lienholder or the lessor shall release the lien on or surrender the title to the nonconforming motor vehicle after it has obtained a lien on or title to the new motor vehicle. If the existing lienholder or lessor does not finance or lease the new motor vehicle, it has no obligation to discharge the note or cancel the lien on or surrender the title to the nonconforming motor vehicle until the original indebtedness or the lease terms are satisfied.
It shall be presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken by the manufacturer, its dealer, or its authorized agent to conform a motor vehicle to any applicable express warranty if, during the period of one year following the date of original delivery or during the first eighteen thousand miles of operation, whichever is earlier, any of the following apply: (A) Substantially the same nonconformity has been subject to repair three or more times and either continues to exist or recurs;
(B) The vehicle is out of service by reason of repair for a cumulative total of thirty or more calendar days;
(C) There have been eight or more attempts to repair any nonconformity;
(D) There has been at least one attempt to repair a nonconformity that results in a condition that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven, and the nonconformity either continues to exist or recurs.
(A) At the time of purchase, the manufacturer, either directly or through its agent or its authorized dealer, shall provide to the consumer a written statement on a separate piece of paper, in ten-point type, all capital letters, in substantially the following form: IMPORTANT: IF THIS VEHICLE IS DEFECTIVE, YOU MAY BE ENTITLED UNDER STATE LAW TO A REPLACEMENT OR TO COMPENSATION. In the case of a leased motor vehicle, the written statement described in this division shall be provided to the consumer by the manufacturer, either directly or through the lessor, at the time of execution of the lease agreement.
(B) The manufacturer or authorized dealer shall provide to the consumer, each time the motor vehicle of the consumer is returned from being serviced or repaired, a fully itemized written statement indicating all work performed on the vehicle, including, but not limited to, parts and labor as described in the rules adopted pursuant to section 1345.77 of the Revised Code.
(A) Any consumer may bring a civil action in a court of common pleas or other court of competent jurisdiction against any manufacturer if the manufacturer fails to comply with section 1345.72 of the Revised Code and, in addition to the relief to which the consumer is entitled under that section, shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees and all court costs.
(B) The remedies in sections 1345.71 to 1345.78 of the Revised Code are in addition to remedies otherwise available to consumers under law.
(C) Any action brought under division (A) of this section shall be commenced within five years of the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle. Any period of limitation of actions under any federal or Ohio laws with respect to any consumer shall be tolled for the period that begins on the date that a complaint is filed with an informal dispute resolution mechanism established pursuant to section 1345.77 of the Revised Code and ends on the date of the decision by the informal dispute resolution mechanism.
(D) It is an affirmative defense to any claim under this section that a nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect, or the unauthorized modification or alteration of a motor vehicle by anyone other than the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer.
(A) A buyback may not be resold or leased in this state unless each of the following applies:
(1) The manufacturer provides the same express warranty that was provided to the original consumer, except that the term of the warranty shall be the greater of either of the following: (a) Twelve thousand miles or twelve months after the date of resale, whichever is earlier; (b) The remaining term of any manufacturer's original warranty.
(2) The manufacturer provides to the consumer, either directly or through its agent or its authorized dealer, and prior to obtaining the signature of the consumer on any document, a written statement on a separate piece of paper, in ten-point type, all capital letters, in substantially the following form:
WARNING: THIS VEHICLE PREVIOUSLY WAS SOLD AS NEW. IT WAS RETURNED TO THE MANUFACTURER OR ITS AGENT IN EXCHANGE FOR A REPLACEMENT VEHICLE OR REFUND AS A RESULT OF THE FOLLOWING DEFECT(S) OR CONDITION(S):
Buyer's Signature _____________
The manufacturer shall list each defect or condition on a separate line of the written statement provided to the consumer.
(B) Notwithstanding the provisions of division (A) of this section, if a new motor vehicle has been returned under the provisions of section 1345.72 of the Revised Code or a similar law of another state because of a nonconformity likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven, the motor vehicle may not be sold, leased, or operated in this state.
(C) A manufacturer that takes possession of a buyback shall obtain the certificate of title for the buyback from the consumer, lienholder, or the lessor. The manufacturer and any subsequent transferee, within thirty days and prior to transferring title to the buyback, shall deliver the certificate of title to the clerk of the court of common pleas and shall make application for a certificate of title for the buyback. The clerk shall issue a buyback certificate of title for the vehicle on a form, prescribed by the registrar of motor vehicles, that bears or is stamped on it's face with the words "BUYBACK: This vehicle was returned to the manufacturer because it may not have conformed to its warranty." In black boldface letters in an appropriate location as determined by the registrar. The buyback certificate of title shall be assigned upon transfer of the buyback. for use as evidence of ownership of the buyback and is transferable to any person. Every subsequent certificate of title, memorandum certificate of title, or duplicate copy of a certificate of title issued for the buyback also shall bear or be stamped on it's face with the words "BUYBACK: This vehicle was returned to the manufacturer because it may not have conformed to its warranty." In black boldfaced letters in the appropriate location. The clerk of the court of common pleas shall charge a fee of five dollars for each buyback certificate of title,duplicate copy of a buyback certificate of title, memorandum certificate of title, and notation of any lien on a buyback certificate of title. The clerk shall retain two dollars and twenty-five cents of the fee charged for each buyback certificate of title, four dollars and seventy-five cents of the fee charged for each duplicate copy of a buyback certificate of title, all of the fees charged for each memorandum buyback certificate of title, and four dollars and twenty-five cents of the fee charged for each notation of a lien. The remaining two dollars and seventy-five cents charged for the buyback certificate of title, the remaining twenty-five cents charged for the duplicate copy of a buyback certificate of title, and the remaining seventy-five cents charged for the notation of any lien on a buyback certificate of title shall be paid to the registrar in accordance with division (A) of section4505.09 of the Revised Code, who shall deposit it as required by division (B) of that section.
(D) No manufacturer that applies for a certificate of title for a buyback shall fail to clearly and unequivocally inform the clerk of the court of common pleas to whom application for a buyback certificate for the motor vehicle is submitted that the motor vehicle for which application for a buyback certificate of title is being made is a buyback and that the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer is applying for a buyback certificate of title for the motor vehicle and not a certificate of title.
(A) The attorney general shall adopt rules for the establishment and qualification of an informal dispute resolution mechanism to provide for the resolution of warranty disputes between the consumer and the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer. The mechanism shall be under the supervision of the division of consumer protection of the office of the attorney general and shall meet or exceed the minimum requirements for an informal dispute resolution mechanism as provided by the "Magnuson-Moss Warranty Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act," 88 Stat. 2183, 15 U.S.C.A. 2301, and regulations adopted thereunder.
(B) If a qualified informal dispute resolution mechanism exists and the consumer receives timely notification, in writing, of the availability of the mechanism with a description of its operation and effect, the cause of action under section 1345.75 of the Revised Code may not be asserted by the consumer until after the consumer has initially resorted to the informal dispute resolution mechanism. If such a mechanism does not exist, if the consumer is dissatisfied with the decision produced by the mechanism, or if the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer fails to promptly fulfill the terms determined by the mechanism, the consumer may assert a cause of action under section 1345.75 of the Revised Code.
(C) Any violation of a rule adopted pursuant to division (A) of this section is an unfair and deceptive act or practice as defined by section 1345.02 of the Revised Code.