South Dakota’s lemon law only applies to new vehicles purchased within the state. The law allows consumers to request a refund or replacement vehicle after buying a car with severe defects.

A defect must be caused by general use and not by abuse, neglect or unauthorized modifications. In order for a claim to be successful, attempts must be made to repair the defect within the vehicle warranty.

If a consumer is unsatisfied with the settlement agreements, he or she may take further action under the law. The state’s used car lemon law does not permit second-hand vehicles to claim refunds or replacements due to defects.

What is the Lemon Law in South Dakota?

The lemon law in South Dakota protects consumers who have recently purchased severely defective vehicles. The law does not apply to all defects and certain steps must be taken before a claim can be filed.

The defect must affect the vehicle’s use, value or safety. In no circumstances does a defect caused by abuse, neglect, modifications or an accident qualify for a claim.

Vehicles may experience more than one defect at the same time. In which case, both issues must meet the above requirements.

Attempts to fix car lemon law defects must be initiated and recorded by the owner. If these attempts are unsuccessful, the consumer may request a refund or replacement vehicle.

If the consumer selects a replacement, the vehicle must be a comparable make and model to the first car issued. Additional fees, such as collateral charges, excise tax, license fees and registration fees must be paid back to the owner in full.

If the consumer selects the lemon law buyback option, the manufacturer must refund the full sale price at the time it was bought, including all extended warranty fees and transportation charges.

In addition, the refund must include collateral fees, vehicle registration fees, finance charges and incidental fees.

Note: A deduction to a refund may be applied by the manufacturer. This deduction represents the use of the vehicle by the owner before the first defect was flagged.

Does the South Dakota Lemon Law apply to used cars?

The state’s lemon law definition only describes new vehicles as eligible for benefits under the law. Passenger cars, trucks and motorcycles are the only new vehicles covered. Motor homes or vehicle weighing over 15,000 pounds are not included.

How does the Lemon Law work in South Dakota?

If you have recently purchased a vehicle that is exhibiting an eligible defect, you may qualify for a refund or replacement car. Consumers must submit their vehicles for repairs within the lemon law warranty period.

More specifically, the repair must be attempted within 12 months or 12,000 miles after you purchase the vehicle. If the first defect is repaired outside of the warranty period, the vehicle will not be covered under the law.

There are two situations that must apply before a refund or replacement vehicle can be issued. Complete one of the following two repair procedures before requesting a claim.

  1. Make four attempts to repair the same defect. More than one lemon law defect may be present. However, four attempts must be made to fix each one to qualify. Only one the four attempts needs to be within the above-mentioned warranty period. The defect must be unresolved to move forward with your claim; or
  2. Record at least 30 days of your vehicle being out-of-service due to a qualifying defect. The 30 days do not need to be consecutive but at least one of the repair attempts must be made within the warranty period. If the vehicle is non-operational due to conditions out of the manufacturer’s control, such as a natural disaster, the federal lemon law does not apply.

If one of the above two scenarios are satisfied, you may submit a request to the manufacturer for a refund or replacement vehicle. A written request must be sent via certified mail explaining that all attempts to fix the issue have been completed.

The manufacturer has 14 days to respond and attempt one final repair. If the defect is still unresolved, the manufacturer may use any settlement procedures already in place under its warranty to resolve the claim.

The consumer must exhaust all applicable avenues of a manufacturer’s settlement procedure before further legal action may be taken. If a settlement is not reached, or the consumer is not satisfied, he or she has the right to file for civil action against the manufacturer.

Note: You must keep all new-car lemon law repair receipts and documents as proof of the defect. If you do have the correct documents to support your claim, your case will be rejected.

South Dakota Lemon Law Lawyers

It is recommended to seek legal counsel early on in your case so you may better understand your options. An experienced lemon law attorney will ensure the correct paperwork is submitted to the manufacturer within the right deadlines.

In addition, if you are not happy with the result of your claim, you are entitled to bring a civil action lawsuit against the manufacturer. Specialized lawyers will help you navigate the legal system with greater efficiency and work towards a more desirable solution.

The manufacturer may try to prove that the defect was caused by the consumer or does not hinder the vehicle in ways that would classify it a lemon. Fighting these claims and provided enough evidence to support them may be better executed with the help of a lawyer.

In some cases, lemon law attorney fees may be recouped if your case is won.

Additional New and Used Car Laws in South Dakota

The state’s lemon law also applies to repurchased vehicles that are subsequently resold. The law does not allow vehicles to be resold unless the following criteria are met:

  1. The manufacturer must disclose the vehicle’s history and details of the non-conformity in clear writing to all and any prospective buyers; and
  2. The manufacturer must inform the South Dakota department of revenue of the returned vehicle. Per state statutes, the certificate of title will be branded with the following phrase: “This vehicle was returned to the manufacturer because it did not conform to its warranty.”

How to Tell if Your New Car Is a Lemon in South Dakota

Despite meeting the above eligibility requirements, your vehicle may not be classified as a lemon. One of the most common mistakes that can happen when a new or used car is purchased, is understanding the extent of the warranty.

If the car’s contract has the words ‘as is’ listed in the document, it will restrict your rights under the law. The phrase ‘as is’ refers to the dealership’s lack of responsibility in fixing any defects that occur after the vehicle is sold.

Therefore, make sure that any warranties issued are supported in writing and do not conflict with the vehicle’s sale contract. Before buying a car, make sure that you understand the terms and conditions of the sale.

Last updated on Wednesday, September 23 2020.