Montana Lemon Law
The Montana lemon law protects consumers who purchase vehicles with significant defects. Specifically, the used car lemon law defines defects as those which impair the safe operation of the car, or those that significantly reduce the market value of the car.
Under the law, consumers must allow manufacturers a reasonable number of attempts to correct the problem. After four unsuccessful attempts to repair the same issue, manufacturers may be required to refund the consumer or offer a replacement car.
Consumers must provide written notice to the manufacturer, and keep all documentation related to the defect. To claim a lemon law refund, buyers must first follow a state-approved dispute resolution process.
If they are not able to resolve the issue through dispute resolution, the consumer may file a lawsuit to claim damages. Keep reading for valuable information on how Montana’s new car lemon law works, and what it means for consumers.
What is the Lemon Law in Montana?
The Montana lemon law, more commonly referred to as the “New Motor Vehicle Warranty Act,” protects consumers who purchase vehicles that qualify as “lemons.”
In the state, the car lemon law requires dealers to comply with the terms of a new vehicle’s warranty in the event of significant defects or repair issues.
If repeated repair attempts to fix the problem have been unsuccessful, the law may require the manufacturer to repair or replace the car.
The law applies to vehicle purchases (including motorcycles), that are titled or leased in the state, provided they are less than two years old and have 18,000 miles or less on the odometer.
Under the federal lemon law guidelines, a car qualifies as a lemon if it has significant defects that affect the safe operation of the vehicle or significantly reduces the market value of the vehicle.
The warranty period lasts up to two years of the date of delivery or the first 18,000 miles of operation, whichever occurs first.
Does the Montana Lemon Law apply to used cars?
There is no 30 day lemon law for used cars in Montana. Instead, consumers should refer to the state’s Department of Justice guidelines for used cars.
In the state, lemon laws apply to used cars, so long as they are less than two years old and have less than 18,000 miles on the odometer. According to the law, consumers who purchase vehicles outside of these guidelines are responsible for all repair costs associated with the car.
How does the Lemon Law work in Montana?
The MT car lemon law requires consumers to allow manufacturers a reasonable number of attempts to fix the problem. According to federal lemon law rules, the manufacturer must repair or replace a vehicle that has had four or more unsuccessful repair attempts for the same issue.
The law also applies if the vehicle has been out of service for the same problem for 30 or more business days after notification to the manufacturer or dealer.
The state lemon law suggests that after the third unsuccessful repair attempt, the consumer should provide written notice to the manufacturer regarding the problem.
Although not required, it serves as official documentation that the manufacturer has been notified of the issue. Consumers should send their written notification by certified mail, with a return receipt requested.
If the manufacturer is unwilling to make the necessary repairs, the consumer must file a formal dispute with a state-certified dispute settlement program.
A dispute settlement program mediates between the manufacturer and consumer, and helps both parties reach an agreement on the issue. Consumers receive protection under the law regarding lemons after they have followed a dispute resolution program.
Montana Lemon Law Lawyers
Although not required, a Montana lemon law attorney can be of great help to consumers. A lemon law attorney can mediate between a manufacturer and the consumer. Further, a counselor can represent a client during any dispute mediation procedures.
Additional New and Used Car Laws in Montana
The law extends the lemon law warranty period in MT up to a year, providing the manufacturer was notified in writing during the warranty period, and the defect was not repaired before the expiration of the warranty.
Consumers must keep documentation of all repairs and communication with the manufacturer or dealer when making a lemon law claim. When filing a complaint, the law requires buyers to provide the following evidence:
- Purchase or lease agreements
- Maintenance records
- Repair orders
- Any documentation related to the defect
If the manufacturer agrees to offer a refund, the company must refund the full purchase price, as well as sales tax, license fees, car registration fees and property tax.
The state lemon law allows manufacturers to withhold from the refund any amount equal to the consumer’s use of the car. If the manufacturer offers to replace the vehicle, the car company must provide a new vehicle of the same model and style as the one being replaced.
How to Tell if Your New Car is a Lemon in Montana
To be deemed a lemon car, a vehicle owner must first show that the car is less than two years old, and has less than 18,000 miles on the warranty to qualify for a warranty.
Further, by lemon law definition, the vehicle must have experienced at least four unsuccessful repair attempts for the same issue. To qualify, buyers must show that they have appropriately notified the dealer of the problem within the warranty period.
Buyers cannot claim damages under the lemon law buyback program for defects resulting from abuse, neglect or improper modifications or alterations to the vehicle.