Lemon Law in Minnesota
Minnesota legislators call it 325F.655. Everybody else knows it as the Minnesota Lemon Law enacted to protect car buyers when they get stuck with a dud of an auto. One thing to remember about a lemon law is that it’s not meant to cover “buyer’s remorse.” Just because you’re having second thoughts about the car you just bought because you’re not crazy about the cup holders doesn’t mean you can get a replacement.
The lemon law is for those cars that are not conforming up to the manufacturer’s intent which is a car that does everything the car is supposed to do. The Minnesota law sets up a special arbitration board to handle matters pertaining to a lemon. First you have to make sure that your circumstances meet the requirements for arbitration.
Minnesota Lemon Law Qualifications
The first requirement is that the car in question needs to have been bought or leased in the state of Minnesota. This includes cars, trucks and vans as long as they are being used for at least 40% of time for family or personal uses. In other words, a company car might not be covered. The law does cover used vehicles as long as the car is still under the original manufacturer’s warranty.
The defect in question has to occur within the original warranty period or the first two years of ownership. As much of an annoyance as this might be, you will have to make at least four repair attempts for the same single problem before you can call your car a lemon. It could also be in the shop for 30 days. Of course, if there is an issue with the steering or brakes then you don’t have to wait out those first two requirements and can proceed to the remedy phase.
Minnesota Lemon Law Remedy
Upon certified notification, the car maker is given one last attempt to fix the problem. If it still persists you might have to go through the car maker’s own arbitration program. This is where you get to present your arguments for a replacement or refund. These are considered informal hearings where you don’t really need a lawyer.
What you do need is all your paperwork. This should include any repair bills, estimates or diagnostic reports from your mechanic. Note that this mechanic of choice should be certified. It can’t be a family member who fixes cars in their spare time. You are also entitled to get an independent appraisal which is always recommended. Think of it as a second opinion.
If the arbitration board rules in your favor, you can either get a replacement of the same make and model or a refund. In the case of a refund, you’re entitled to receive the purchase price along with any additional taxes, fees or repairs costs. For a leased vehicle you’ll get back all the payments you made minus a reasonable driving allowance.
In the event that the arbitration hearing doesn’t go in your favor, you are entitled to sue the car maker in civil court. However, you will then be at risk for your own lawyer’s fee in addition to the car maker’s lawyer’s fees if they win again.