Lemon Law in Missouri
Shopping for anything used requires the buyer to be on full alert. This is especially true with used cars. Even if a car is deemed “certified pre-owned” it still means it is a used car. For the most part, when you opt to purchase a used vehicle you’re buying that car “as is.” That means if anything breaks down, it’s on you. That is not necessarily the case with new vehicles.
If your new car breaks down and can’t be fixed you might have options to replace that car under the Missouri Lemon Law. Unfortunately, this Missouri state law (Chapter 407 in the revised statutes) does not cover used cars, but it does cover leased autos.
Missouri Lemon Law Qualifications
Merely proclaiming to all who will listen that you’re driving a lemon isn’t enough. Under the Missouri Lemon Law the car in question first needs to be a new car that is still covered under the original manufacturer’s warranty. This does not include motorcycles or off-road vehicles.
At the first sign of trouble in your car, you need to alert the car maker to give them the chance at repairs. This should be a “reasonable number of attempts.” Specifically that means at least 4 shots at a fix. Then you qualify as having a lemon.
You can also qualify if your car was out of commission for at least 30 days because of this problem. Incidentally, the problem that is at issue needs to be the same problem. For instance if you go into the shop for a transmission issue, get that fixed and then the following week have a brake issue that doesn’t always mean you have a lemon. For a lemon it’s one issue at a time.
Missouri Lemon Law Remedies
Once you’ve established that you do indeed have a lemon then the manufacturer has two options. They can either issue you a full refund or provide you with a replacement vehicle of the same value. Your option as the owner of the lemon allows you to pick which is better for you.
If you decide on the refund, the car maker will pay back the full purchase price of the car along with any taxes, registration or license fees you paid. Obviously, if you took out an auto loan, the bulk of this money will be going to pay that loan back. Technically, even if you give back the car, you’re still on the hook for the car loan.
If you decide on the replacement, the car will basically be the same kind of car you bought. You can’t turn in a lemon VW and get BMW back. Before you take delivery of your replacement vehicle make sure to get a signed copy of the new warranty. Also make sure the new car’s title is transferred over to you.
Most car makers have established arbitration boards to handle lemons. The Missouri Law allows for the car maker to work through these boards to find a remedy. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you then have the right to take the car maker to civil court and sue them. However, with that option, you’ll be paying for your lawyer fees and the carmaker’s lawyer fees if you lose the case.