Broken Arrow Woman Helps Get Lemon Law Passed

Thursday, May 21st 2009, 9:57 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- Oklahoma will soon have a new lemon law, largely because one woman lobbied for it.

State Rep. Rex Duncan credits her for changing the law.

Angie Gallant may not look like a lobbyist, but she managed to get the legislature to pass a new lemon law. It can help protect consumers from the problem she had buying a new car.

"It never could be fixed, and they never could find the problem and it was a 10-month odyssey with General Motors," Gallant said.

Gallant has always owned GM cars, but five years ago she got a lemon.

"It would periodically just not start, so it would leave my daughter and me stranded," she said.

Gallant eventually returned the car and won a partial refund but learned in the process that Oklahoma's lemon law was weak compared to other states.

"Oklahoma can do better and no one should have to go through this," Gallant said.

The new law defines a lemon as a new car needing at least four repairs for the same problem, requiring 30 days in the shop.

It gives the customer the power to decide between a replacement or refund and defines the cost of "reasonable use" the manufacturer can take off for the miles driven on the lemon.

It also requires manufacturers to label the car as a lemon to alert the next buyer.

The state Legislature passed the new law Monday, and it's waiting on a signature from Gov. Brad Henry.

Gallant says there are still stronger laws in other states, but the change is a big improvement.

"And it's very difficult to negotiate with this big company that has a whole legal department that deals with lemon laws and you're you," she said.

Gallant believes it would help protect people who are stuck with a new lemon and help alert people buying used that they might be buying a lemon second hand.

The new law would take effect in November. Henry's office has not said when he intends to sign it.

Read the entire Senate bill.