Buying a new vehicle is always a mixture of excitement and worry. It’s great to get that new vehicle, but it’s also a big investment, and you want everything to be perfect.
But what happens if you do get a problem vehicle? Many people don’t know, but the Michigan Lemon Law is a comprehensive set of regulations designed specifically to deal with this situation and protect consumers. Lemon Law in Michigan applies privately owned passenger vehicles and those leased after January 1, 2000. These vehicles must be used for household, personal or family purposes, but some business-type vehicles may also be covered. Large trucks, motorcycles, motor homes and off-road vehicles are not covered under Michigan’s Lemon Law. Under select conditions, a “used vehicle” may be covered under the Lemon Laws in Michigan.
The Lemon Law in Michigan is there to support any consumer who has ongoing issues with a defective vehicle. The statute allows anyone who purchases a Lemon vehicle in Michigan to obtain a replacement vehicle or full refund for the purchase price, along with possible reimbursement for finance charges and other expenses incurred due to the vehicle, such as breakdown recovery and so on.
If you didn’t know about the Michigan Lemon Law, this all will sound great, but as with most things, to take advantage of the Lemon Law in Michigan, you need to know when it applies, how you file a complaint and what you can expect from the process. We want you to understand the right way to approach the Michigan Lemon Law, and avoid making frustrating, and even costly, mistakes.
The requirements for your vehicle to qualify under the Michigan Lemon Law
If you get a problem with your new vehicle it can be incredibly frustrating, but that doesn’t mean you can run out and file for a new car or a refund, not all problems are covered by the Lemon Law in Michigan. There is a reason for this, vehicles have problems, even new ones, if just a single small fault was enough to provide a refund, there would be very few manufacturers left.
It’s important to note that the Lemon Law in Michigan does not cover any defect or condition that is the result of a modification a user installed themselves or got installed at a non-authorized dealership or shop. Lemon Law also doesn’t cover damages that occurred as the result of an accident, abuse or neglect of the motor vehicle.
Michigan Lemon Law Duty to Repair
Before you’re able to claim that your car is a lemon in Michigan, you need to give the manufacturer the chance to fix it. A reasonable number of repair attempts is established if either of the following occurs:
- Four or more repair attempts have been undertaken on the same defect or condition that substantially impairs the use or value of the motor vehicle within two years of the date of the first repair attempt, and the defect or condition continues to exist
- The same defect or condition persists, putting the vehicle out of service for 30 days or more within the express warranty or within one year from the customer’s deliver date, whichever comes first
Under Michigan Lemon Law, a consumer must notify the manufacturer in writing after the third attempt to repair the same nonconformity or after the vehicle has been out of service for at least 25 days in a repair facility before seeking remedy. Once they receive this notice, the manufacturer must notify the consumer as soon as possible of a repair facility at which one final repair attempt can be made. The manufacturer has five business days to repair the problem. If a natural disaster, strike, fire, war or invasion occurs, that five-day repair period is extended.
Proving the Michigan Lemon Law Applies
Under the Michigan Lemon Law, you must go through many steps before you’re able to file a lemon law claim in court. If the proper steps aren’t followed, your claim may not be successful. Any consumer who is looking to file a lemon law claim must go through the vehicle manufacturer’s informal dispute settlement procedure as long as the procedure:
- Complies with the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and 16 C.F.R. Part 703, then the consumer must first resort to the informal dispute settlement procedure
- Requires the manufacturer to be bound by a decision that the consumer agrees to
- Provides that the consumer is not obligated to accept the decision and may pursue the remedies provided by the lemon law
- Requires the manufacturer to begin the process of implementing any final settlement not more than 30 days after the settlement has been reached
Throughout this whole process, you’ll want to keep the following recommendations in mind when you experience problems with your vehicle.
Take notes of everything
The best way to prove the vehicle is a lemon is to keep records of everything that takes place. This includes
- Dates, Names and Content of all phone conversations with the dealer and manufacturer.
- Make sure all service records are complete, insist the dealer includes any conversations in their notes to avoid later problems.
Don’t ignore servicing recommendations
Even if it seems that there is nothing that can be done, keep taking the vehicle to the dealer. The more times it is in for service, the more records, the easier it is to show that the Lemon Law in Michigan is applicable. Unless your attorney says otherwise, keep the servicing going.
Follow the Warranty
All manufacturers are different, but you must read the warranty and make sure you follow the procedures it lays out for you. That generally means only using authorized service centers. Taking the vehicle to a third-party will in most cases void the warranty.
Remedies from the Michigan Lemon law
If you have a successful lemon law claim, the law states that the manufacturer is to provide you with one of the following remedies:
- Buy back your vehicle for the full purchase price (this includes any costs associated with taxes, title and licensing)
- Replace the defective vehicle with a comparable vehicle
- Fix the defect and reimburse you for any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred relating to the defect
- Reimburse you for incidental costs if the manufacturer is required to buy back or replace your vehicle
Filing a claim on the Lemon Law in Michigan
Dealing with the legal complications, the potential issues of arbitration and being faced with expensive legal teams representing the manufacturer, there are many ways to fail to acquire your just remedies even with a proven lemon vehicle. It is therefore recommended you hire a lawyer to contest the Michigan Lemon Law.