Consumers may recover damages after buying a “lemon”

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2019 | Consumer Law

Buying a new car should be exciting, but if the vehicle has manufacturing defects, the experience could turn into a nightmare of repeated trips to the dealership for repairs and disappointment over the results. Fortunately, Missouri has a Lemon Law that protects consumers who purchase new vehicles that are sold with a manufacturer’s warranty.

According to the Missouri Attorney General, vehicle owners have certain responsibilities before they can take legal action against a manufacturer for a faulty vehicle. The first is to report the problem to the manufacturer in writing. The consumer must also provide the manufacturer with opportunities to correct the issue.

The law only requires a reasonable number of attempts, which may mean the vehicle goes to the repair shop at least four times to fix the same issue or defect and the problem still exists. Alternately, the law considers the consumer to have allowed reasonable attempts if he or she is unable to drive the vehicle for at least 30 working days since receiving the vehicle because of a problem that is covered by the warranty. In this instance, if there are delays beyond the manufacturer’s control, those days do not count toward the 30-day minimum.

The manufacturer should offer a refund if the vehicle still is not in compliance with the warranty, but if this is not honored, the consumer should submit a formal complaint according to the procedures the manufacturer has in place. These procedures should be explained to all new car buyers, and may involve arbitration and appeals. If the manufacturer offers a settlement that the consumer finds unacceptable, he or she may decide to take the matter to court.

The Missouri Revised Statutes 407.577 states that damages may include the total amount of costs, expenses and attorney fees.