All About Autos
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The Missouri New Vehicles Warranty Law, commonly called the "Lemon Law," protects buyers of new vehicles by enforcing the manufacturer's express warranty. The Lemon Law does not apply to used cars.
What vehicles are covered under Lemon Law?
All new vehicles sold or leased with warranty provisions are covered under the law, except for commercial and off-road vehicles, mo-peds, motorcycles and the nonchassis portion of recreational vehicles. Also included are demonstrators or leasepurchase vehicles as long as a manufacturer's warranty was issued as a condition of the sale.
What are vehicle owner responsibilites under Lemon Law?
No title, no deal
In most cases, if a vehicle's title is not properly transferred at the time of purchase, the sale is void.
New-vehicle owners must report problems or defects in writing to the manufacturer to use the provisions of the Lemon Law. The manufacturer must be permitted a "reasonable" number of attempts to correct the problem.
Under the law, it is presumed that the manufacturer has been given a "reasonable" number of attempts to correct the problem if:
- The vehicle has been in the repair shop for the same problem four or more times and the problem still exists; or
- The vehicle has been out of service because of a problem covered by warranty for 30 or more working days since delivery, excluding delays that are beyond the manufacturer's control.
If the problem cannot be fixed in a "reasonable number of repair attempts" the manufacturer can either offer you a cash refund or a vehicle of comparable value.
Under the law, manufacturers can deduct a "reasonable allowance for the consumer's use of the vehicle" from the refund. The law also stipulates that the replacement vehicle must be acceptable to the consumer.
Car repair disputes, auto warranties and Lemon Law
There is no state law allowing a buyer to return a car within a set time and expect a full or partial refund. Before you buy, ask a dealer if it has a policy to rescind a purchase contract.
If after a reasonable number of repair attempts you still believe the vehicle does not conform to the warranty, but the manufacturer or dealer has indicated that it doesn't believe you are due a refund, submit a complaint to the manufacturer.
Missouri law requires manufacturers to explain their complaint procedures to new car buyers. Most auto manufacturers have appeals procedures, with arbitration boards to resolve problems consumers have with the manufacturer or dealer. The contact information for your manufacturer's consumer appeals and arbitration center is in your owner's manual.
During or at the end of the dispute procedure, the manufacturer may make a settlement offer. You must decide whether to accept the offer or try to get a refund under the Lemon Law by going to court.
Before taking delivery of a new vehicle:
- Get a signed copy of the warranty.
- Make sure the vehicle's title has been transferred to you. The dealer typically does this by filling in and signing the transfer form on the back of the title. You then have 30 days to apply for a new title with the Missouri Department of Revenue before facing title penalties.
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