The South Dakota Lemon Law

The South Dakota lemon law covers new vehicles that develop unfixable defects.

Does the SD Lemon Law Cover My Vehicle?

The lemon law in South Dakota covers all new vehicles except motor homes (recreational vehicles, or RVs) and any vehicle weighing 10,000 pounds or more.

The coverage period is for 12 months from the original date of delivery, or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The manufacturer must have made at least four repair attempts, with at least one of them occurring during the coverage period. Or the vehicle must have been out of service for at least 30 calendar days.

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

I Own a South Dakota Lemon. What's Next?

You need to inform the manufacturer about your lemon, and your claim for compensation. Write a letter, outlining your claim, and send it by certified mail, return receipt requested. Include copies of your notes, all service orders and work invoices, and any other supporting documentation you may have.

The manufacturer has seven calendar days from the date they receive the letter to notify you of a nearby repair location, where they are allowed to make one last repair attempt. This attempt must be completed within 14 calendar days of you bringing the vehicle in for the repair. If the defect remains, or recurs, you're entitled to compensation.

Arbitration or Law Suit?

If the manufacturer disagrees with your claim, you'll have to go to arbitration before you file a law suit. Any arbitrator's decision is usually binding on the manufacturer but not on you. If you disagree with the decision, you are then free to file a law suit. You have three years from the original date of delivery to file a suit.

If you choose to file a law suit, I recommend that you consult a lemon law attorney, a lawyer with South Dakota lemon law experience. If you win, you could receive the lemon law lawyer's fees as additional damages.

Replacement or Refund?

The South Dakota lemon law gives you the choice of receiving a replacement vehicle or a refund.

If you choose a replacement, it must be a vehicle of comparable value, including all dealer-installed options. Normally, this means the same make and model as the lemon, or one of at least the same monetary value.

If you opt for a refund, you will receive the full contract price, including charges for undercoating, dealer prep, and transportation, plus all options installed as part of the purchase price, plus the non refundable portion of any extended warranty or service contract you may have purchased.

In addition, you'll receive sales and excise tax, license and registration fees, any financing charges you incurred after you first reported the defect, and incidental damages (including the cost of alternative transportation while your lemon is out of service).

The manufacturer is allowed to deduct a reasonable use fee, based on the mileage you put on the vehicle before you first reported the defect. This is an excellent reason to monitor your vehicle and report any defect, no matter how minor, as soon as you detect it.

South Dakota Lemon Law Summary

The lemon law in South Dakota covers all new vehicles for 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. If your vehicle meets the criteria above, you can receive a replacement vehicle or a refund of all your purchase price costs, less a reasonable use fee.

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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