Lemon Law in Michigan
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Michigan’s lemon law is designed to protect drivers who purchase or lease a vehicle that ends up being defective, with either a refund or a replacement car, if deemed appropriate.
Vehicles covered under Michigan’s lemon law must be bought or leased in Michigan or, if they are purchased or leased in another state, this needs to be done by a Michigan resident.
Hopefully, you’ll never need to worry about your car becoming a lemon. However, you will need car insurance, as it’s mandated in Michigan and most other states.
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For everything you want to know about Michigan’s lemon law (which hopefully you’ll never have to worry about), keep reading!
What is a lemon law?
Lemon laws are designed to protect drivers when their vehicles have a defect that the manufacturer can’t fix after multiple attempts.
If the car is declared a lemon, a driver may be entitled to relief, such as a refund of the vehicle’s purchase or lease price, or a replacement vehicle of a similar make or model.
Key Takeaway Lemon laws vary among states, so make sure to check out your state’s guidelines.
MORE: Types of insurance
Is there a lemon law in Michigan?
Yes, Michigan’s lemon law covers a slew of new vehicles as well as used vehicles.
In Michigan, the lemon law covers the following new vehicles, with a warranty at the time of purchase or lease:
- Passenger cars
- Pickup trucks
Vehicles covered under the law must be bought or leased in Michigan or, if purchased or leased in another state, this must be done by a Michigan resident.
Michigan’s lemon law does not cover the following vehicles:
- Trucks other than pickups or vans
- Off-road vehicles
Are used cars covered under the lemon law?
Yes, used cars are covered under Michigan’s lemon law.
The lemon law will cover used cars if they are under warranty at the time of purchase and if any recurring problems are reported within one year of the original buyer’s purchase.
What about new cars?
Yes, Michigan’s law covers new passenger cars, SUVs, pick-up trucks, and vans that are under warranty.
Who does the lemon law apply to?
Michigan’s lemon law applies not only to private individuals, but also businesses, including but not limited to:
- Sole proprietorships
- Government agencies
- Other legal entities
The law applies to a person or business who does the following:
- Purchases or leases a new vehicle for their own personal use, and not to re-sell to another person or party
- Buys or leases no more than 10 vehicles per year
- Purchases or buys more than 10 vehicles per year, but only if they are for personal use
Key Takeaway Both a private individual and a business can have their vehicles covered under Michigan’s lemon law.
Is my defect covered under the lemon law?
Your vehicle’s defect will most likely be covered under Michigan’s lemon law if it significantly impedes its safety, use, or value, or if it prevents the vehicle from adhering to the terms of your warranty.
Keep in mind, your vehicle won’t be covered under Michigan’s lemon law for the following:
- Problems stemming from any modifications done by yourself or a repair facility not authorized by your manufacturer or dealership
- Any abuse, neglect, or misuse of the vehicle on your part
- Damage resulting from an accident
How to pursue your lemon law rights in Michigan
To pursue your lemon law rights in Michigan, you’ll need to report a recurring problem to your manufacturer or dealer, allow the manufacturer a reasonable amount of time to fix the defect and, if the problem persists, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement, so long as your vehicle meets certain conditions.
If you notice a nagging issue with your vehicle, report it to your manufacturer, preferably in writing. This must be done within the warranty term or, if a used car, within one year of the delivery date to the original owner, whichever comes first.
After receiving notice, the manufacturer is entitled to a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem.
If after the manufacturer’s attempted repair, the same problem persists, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle if one of the following two conditions are met:
- There have been four or more attempted repairs on the same problem, within two years of the date of the first repair attempt
- Your car is out of service for more than 30 days within the warranty’s term, or within one year of the original buyer’s purchase date—keep in mind, if your car is in for repair for this length of time, lemon law coverage may apply even if the extended shop stay is due to multiple problems with your car, not just one recurring issue
Before the manufacturer will offer a refund or replacement, under Michigan’s lemon law they are entitled to written notice of one final attempt to fix the defect. This notice can come after the third unsuccessful attempt to fix the same problem, or after your car has been inoperable for 25 days.
Upon delivery of your vehicle for the manufacturer’s final repair attempt, they have five business days to solve the issue. If the problem is not solved within five days, you may be eligible for a refund of the purchase or lease price, or a replacement vehicle.
An important note—if your manufacturer offers a dispute settlement process, Michigan’s lemon law requires you to try this avenue first. Only when that has been exhausted, and you are unable to come to a settlement with the automaker, can you pursue relief under the lemon law.
It is important to remember that the lemon law is complex, so it is advised to speak with a lawyer before pursuing relief under Michigan’s lemon law. If your claim is valid, the manufacturer will end up paying your legal fees, not you.
Keep in mind that if you go the legal route, any small mistake on your part could hurt your case. Alternatively, it is possible for you to do everything right and still run into problems with your case.
Lemon law tips
Here are some tips to keep in mind when thinking about pursuing a lemon law case in Michigan:
- It is vital to keep complete and accurate records of any visits to a repair shop, including any receipts, invoices, and work orders. You’ll need to provide these if you pursue relief under the lemon law.
- It is also a good idea to keep any correspondence between yourself and your dealer or manufacturer, especially if you put in writing that you’re experiencing issues with your vehicle—these may become pertinent if you make a lemon law claim.
- Be sure to use the same language to describe a repeated problem with the vehicle, as lemon laws mostly apply to repairs needed to fix a single problem multiple times.
- If Michigan’s lemon law does not apply in your case, you should look into the Federal Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act.
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