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The Missouri Lemon Law

The Missouri lemon law applies only to a new vehicle, protecting its owner should the vehicle develop a recurring defect that can't be fixed.

Does the MO Lemon Law Cover My Vehicle?

The lemon law in Missouri covers any new vehicle with a manufacturer's warranty, including cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, vans, and the chassis and drive train of motor homes (recreational vehicles, or RVs). Commercial and off road vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds and the living quarters of motor homes are not covered.

Coverage lasts for one year from the original date of delivery. You must report the defect during the coverage period; however, repairs can continue after the coverage expires.

The defect must substantially impair the use or safety of the vehicle, or substantially reduce its market value. And it cannot be due to abuse, neglect or unauthorized modifications to the vehicle.

The manufacturer must have made at least four repair attempts, or the vehicle must have been out of service for at least 30 business days, before you can make a claim.

You must report all problems and defects in writing to the manufacturer (repair/work orders are considered written reports).

I Have a Missouri Lemon. What Do I Do Now?

Does your vehicle meet the criteria above? Then you probably have a lemon, and can claim compensation.

Write to the manufacturer, claiming a lemon and demanding a replacement or refund. Send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested. Include photocopies of your notes, services orders and repair invoices, and any other supporting documentation. Be sure to photocopy your letter and keep that copy for your records.

Arbitration or Law Suit?

If the manufacturer has or uses an informal dispute resolution system that complies with federal regulations, you must use that system before you can file a suit in court. Any arbitration decision is usually binding on the manufacturer, but not on you. If you don't like the decision, you can file a Missouri lemon law suit against the manufacturer.

You must file your law suit within 18 months of the date of delivery (six months after the coverage period expires) or within 90 days of the decision of the informal dispute resolution system's arbitrator.

If you decide to go to court, I recommend that you consult a lemon law attorney, a lawyer with experience dealing with the Missouri lemon law. If you win your case, you'll be entitled to court costs and attorney's fees. However, if you lose, or you win but the award is not at least 10% higher than the manufacturer's original proposal, you will be required to pay all court costs and the manufacturer's attorney's fees.

Refund or Replacement?

The lemon law in Missouri gives the manufacturer the option of providing you with a replacement or a refund. The replacement must be a vehicle of comparable value that is acceptable to you. If the manufacturer decides to give you a refund, you will be paid the full contract purchase price, plus trade-in allowance (if any), plus collateral charges (sales tax, license and registration fees, title fees and vehicle inspections).

In either case, the manufacturer can deduct a reasonable use fee based on the number of miles you drove the vehicle.

Missouri Lemon Law Summary

The lemon law in Missouri protects the owners of new vehicles for a period of one year from the date of delivery. Once four repair attempts have been made, or the vehicle has been out of service for repairs for 30 business days or more, you can begin your claim through the manufacturer's informal dispute resolution system.

NOTE:The information here is not legal advice and is only presented to you so you can know your options if you purchased a lemon. As with any legal issue, you should seek the advice of a qualified attorney.


 

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