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Lemon Laws in Missouri

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Missouri's
lemon law applies to new vehicles sold or leased with a warranty, but it doesn’t cover used cars. If you
buy a new car in Missouri
and find that it's defective, you might be protected by the state lemon law.
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What is a lemon law?

Lemon laws
are state and federal laws that protect buyers who have purchased damaged consumer goods—especially defective vehicles. The laws vary according to state but generally help owners secure compensation for vehicles that fail to meet basic quality and performance standards.

Is there a lemon law in Missouri?

Yes, Missouri's lemon law applies to new vehicles sold or leased with a warranty. Demonstrator and lease-purchase vehicles also qualify if they have a manufacturer’s warranty.
Lemon laws in Missouri do not cover used cars.
The laws also don’t cover the following vehicles:
  • Commercial and off-road vehicles
  • Mopeds
  • Motorcycles
  • Recreational vehicles (other than the structural framework)

Is my defect covered under the lemon law?

A car is considered a lemon in Missouri if it has a nonconformity—that is, a problem or condition that impacts the use, market value, or safety of the vehicle.
If the vehicle’s use, market value, or safety is not impaired by the defect, then it is not covered by the lemon law in Missouri. The law also doesn’t apply if the car’s defect is the result of abuse or neglect on the part of the consumer.
Key Takeaway Missouri’s lemon law might apply to your car if it has a nonconformity that impairs the use, market value, or safety of the vehicle.

Are used cars covered under the lemon law?

Missouri’s lemon laws do not apply to used cars.

What about new cars?

Yes, Missouri's lemon law covers new vehicles sold or leased with a warranty.
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How to pursue your lemon law rights in Missouri

If you want to pursue your lemon law rights in Missouri, you’ll need to report the problem, try to get it repaired, locate the consumer appeals and arbitration center, and pursue legal action if necessary.

Report and repair

You can pursue your case under the lemon law if your vehicle’s nonconformity is reported to the manufacturer in writing and the manufacturer does not repair the issue after a reasonable number of attempts.
In Missouri, a "reasonable number of attempts" is equal to four or more unsuccessful repairs. The laws also kick in if the car in question is in for warranty-covered repairs for 30 or more cumulative working days since its delivery. The exception to this provision is if the manufacturer cannot control the delays.
Be sure to keep all documentation from repair attempts, just in case you need to take legal action.
If the nonconformities that are plaguing the car persist, the manufacturer must offer you a replacement vehicle or a full refund (and yes, you have to approve of the replacement vehicle).

Consider arbitration

If the vehicle manufacturer doesn’t believe you’re entitled to a refund or replacement, you can file a complaint. To do this, check your owner’s manual for the location of the consumer appeals and arbitration center.
Most manufacturers will offer arbitration procedures to help settle the dispute without going to court. Since arbitration is free and less time-consuming than going to court, it’s always a good idea to try this option first.
If the issue isn’t resolved through arbitration, you may decide to file a lawsuit. If you go this route, hire an attorney. The legal process is complicated, and missing steps along the way can result in unnecessary delays or even a weaker case.
A lawyer can help you navigate the lemon laws in Missouri. And if you win, most states require the manufacturer to pay your legal fees.
Remember, though, that even a solid case isn’t a guaranteed win.
Key Takeaway Report any issues to your dealer as soon as possible and keep a paper trail of attempted repairs. If you do pursue a lemon law claim, hire an attorney to help you navigate everything.

Lemon law tips

Here are a few things to keep in mind about lemon laws:
  • Don’t pursue your lemon law rights if you made any
    unauthorized modifications
    to your car or if your car was damaged due to your own neglect, abuse, or misuse
  • Ensure any car repairs are taken care of at an authorized manufacturer or dealership (and hang onto all of your paperwork)
  • Lemon laws only apply to one problem being fixed repeatedly, so use the same wording each time you take your car in—if your car keeps stalling, specifically say that your car is stalling and ensure it’s written on the work orders
  • If Missouri’s lemon law doesn’t apply to your case, check out the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
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