Minnesota Lemon Law
The Minnesota lemon law protects consumers who purchase vehicles with defects that significantly interfere with operation of the vehicle, or otherwise make cars unsafe to drive.
Under the car lemon law, the manufacturer has a duty to repair or replace a vehicle if the consumer follows the appropriate procedures.
In most cases, the manufacturer resolves disputes quickly and easily using an informal mediation program. With this program, consumers present their cases to mediators who ultimately decide whether to award a refund to the consumer or a replacement vehicle.
Consumers may appeal the mediator’s decision in court, and may enlist the help of a lemon law attorney to help them through the process.
Keep reading for more information on the lemon law buyback program, and how it can help consumers get a refund or a replacement vehicle for cars with major defects.
What is the Lemon Law in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, lemon laws provide protection for consumers who end up buying vehicles with significant defects. The used car lemon law applies to new and lightly used cars or trucks that have been purchased or leased in the state.
It also applies to the motor vehicle portion of recreational vehicles (RV). In the state, the attorney general’s office regulates the laws, and oversees the mediation process related to lemon vehicles.
Under used car laws, manufacturers must provide either a refund or replacement for cars determined to be lemons.
Does the Minnesota Lemon Law apply to used cars?
Both new and used vehicles are covered by the Minnesota lemon law. To qualify, vehicles must be used at least 40 percent of the time for personal use. Used vehicles are covered, as long they it is still under the original manufacturer’s warranty.
How does the Lemon Law work in Minnesota?
Although there is no formal 30 day lemon law for used cars, under the law, manufacturers have a duty to repair any vehicle that meets specific criteria.
The state lemon law requires manufacturers to repair a vehicle if the defect is covered under warranty, and the car is within the warranty period. Even if the warranty period has expired, the manufacturer must repair the vehicle if the problem was reported within two years of the original delivery date.
If a car has significant defects, the manufacturer must offer a refund or replace the vehicle. Customers may receive a refund under the state lemon car law if the following conditions have been met:
- The manufacturer has been unable to repair the car after four or more attempts
- One unsuccessful repair attempt that has caused a complete failure of the braking or steering system that renders the vehicle too dangerous to operate
- The vehicle has been out of service more than 30 cumulative months for a warranty repair
How to Request a Refund or Replacement Under the Minnesota Lemon Law Warranty
Under the federal lemon law, MN consumers must first provide written notice to the manufacturer or its authorized agent of their request.
The letter must clearly state their concerns and the consumer’s intent to resolve the dispute under Minnesota lemon law procedures. Consumers must also provide the following information in the letter:
- Name, address and contact information
- Date of purchase or lease
- The specific defect being reported
- Dates of all repair attempts
- A statement that problem still exists
- A request for the company’s arbitration procedures
To assist with their cases, consumers should retain copies of the purchase orders or lease agreements, receipts for repairs and all communication related to the defect in question.
Receipts for all repairs must include the date the vehicle was brought to the shop and the date it was ready to be returned to the consumer.
The manufacturer may require consumers to follow an informal mediation process before issuing a refund or replacement. Following the manufacturer’s mediation process may help consumers resolve their lemon law disputes without resorting to lengthy legal procedures.
Consumers who do not have success with the manufacturer dispute process may then file a lawsuit.
Items Refunded Under the Lemon Car Law in Minnesota
The Minnesota car lemon law requires manufacturer to refund all costs associated with the purchase of the vehicle. By lemon law definition and guidelines, the refund must include the full purchase price of the vehicle, taxes, license fees and vehicle registration fees.
The manufacturer must also refund costs for towing and rental car expenses. Manufacturers may deduct from the refund an amount that accounts for time the consumer was able to operate the vehicle.
Minnesota Lemon Law Lawyers
Minnesota lemon law attorney assistance can help consumers navigate the arbitration process. During mediation, consumers have the right to give an oral presentation concerning their cars’ defects.
Lemon law attorneys can help consumers prepare documentation, communicate with the manufacturer and appear at formal arbitration meetings. Attorney fees are not refunded if the manufacturer offers to replace the vehicle.
The mediation is not a legal proceeding, and the ruling of the mediator is not binding – unless agreed to by the consumer. If consumers are not happy with the decision, they may consult with a lemon car lawyer to file a lawsuit.
Additional New and Used Car Laws in Minnesota
In Minnesota, the lemon law allows consumers the right to an independent appraisal if the manufacturer states that there is no defect. The new car lemon law states that consumers must pay for the appraisal at their cost and no refund for the appraisal is rewarded.
If the consumer is dissatisfied with the mediation decision, he or she may file a lawsuit. Consumers have six months to appeal a mediation agreement in court, while the company has only 30 days to file an appeal.
However, if the court finds that the state or the manufacturer acted in bad faith, the other party may be awarded up to three times the actual damages.
How to Tell if Your New Car is a Lemon in Minnesota
Under the state lemon law, your car is likely a lemon if it fails four attempts to fix a chronic defect. If deemed a lemon, you can take the steps to seek reparations in the form of a refund or a buyback. To date, vehicle models such as the following have been flagged as common car lemons:
- Chevrolet: Cruze and Silverado
- Dodge: Challenger
- GMC: Arcadia
- Ford: Focus and Escape
- Jeep: Wrangler and Cherokee