Lemon Laws in North Dakota
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North Dakota’s lemon laws apply to new vehicles, purchased or leased by a North Dakota resident for personal or household use, for the first year of ownership or the length of the warranty, whichever comes first.
No one expects to wind up with a lemon when they buy a new car, and as a result, not many people are prepared to deal with one.
Like most other car-related issues, it’s complex and not often easy to navigate. But thankfully, at least getting car insurance has gotten less complicated, thanks to Jerry.
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Read on to learn more details about lemon laws in North Dakota.
What is a lemon law?
A “lemon” usually refers to automobiles, including cars, trucks, and motorcycles that are defective. Lemon laws shift responsibility for the defect onto its manufacturers rather than consumers.
All fifty states and Washington D.C. have their own variation of lemon laws, including their own limitations and coverages. Overall, the general process is the same, but details can vary from state to state.
A vehicle is considered a lemon if it has a manufacturer’s defect that can’t be sufficiently repaired in a reasonable period of time, and the vehicle is still under the manufacturer’s warranty. A “reasonable” period of time varies by state and the length of the vehicle’s warranty. If the vehicle can’t be fixed, the manufacturer, not the dealership, is required to buy the car back or replace the faulty car with a new one, so that the consumer isn’t stuck footing the bill for a vehicle they can’t use.
Is my defect covered under North Dakota’s lemon law?
North Dakota’s lemon laws cover defects found in motor vehicles purchased or leased in North Dakota for personal or household use. Lemon law coverage only applies to current residents of the state of North Dakota.
Your vehicle could be considered a lemon if it meets the following criteria within one year of delivery, or when the manufacturer’s warranty expires (whichever comes first):
- You’ve had to bring it in for repairs four or more times or the defect cannot be repaired in less than 30 cumulative days
- Your vehicle’s problems are all caused by the same defect
- The defect was not caused by any neglect, abuse, or alterations on your part
You, the consumer, will be required to report any defect to the manufacturer either within the duration of your warranty, or within a year of delivery, whichever comes first.
Key Takeaway North Dakota’s lemon laws do not have a mileage requirement.
Are used cars covered under the lemon law?
No, North Dakota’s lemon laws do not cover used cars.
For this reason, do your due diligence when it comes to used car shopping. Test drive the car before you buy it.
Make sure to purchase a CARFAX report or look into the vehicle’s history, including any recalls for the make, model, and year. Have a mechanic evaluate it, if you can.
What about new cars?
Yes, North Dakota’s lemon laws cover new cars that are purchased or leased for personal, family, or household use. It also covers trucks weighing less than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, and vehicles utilizing a truck chassis with a seating capacity of four or more passengers
Motor homes and motorcycles are not covered under North Dakota’s lemon laws.
If you have altered your car in any way since you purchased or leased it, you may no longer qualify for protection under lemon laws.
How to pursue your lemon law rights in North Dakota
Report the defect to the manufacturer
To qualify for lemon law protection, make sure you are reporting any and all defects causing your car to break down as soon as possible.
They must be reported to the manufacturer within the warranty term or the first year after the original delivery date of the vehicle, whichever comes first. Your claim may be dismissed if you do not prove that the manufacturer received direct notification about the defect.
Let the manufacturer attempt to fix the defect
Your manufacturer then has three attempts to fix the defect, even if the repairs are attempted after the warranty expires.
If these attempts are unsuccessful, or cannot be completed within thirty cumulative days, you must go through the manufacturer’s informal dispute settlement program, commonly known as arbitration.
Make sure that you keep track of all the documents of every repair made to the car. Having these records on hand will help strengthen your case in both arbitration and if you need to go to court. In arbitration, you can request either a refund of the purchase price of your vehicle, or a replacement.
Consult an attorney
It’s highly recommended that you hire a lemon law attorney before arbitration. Lemon law cases are complex legal processes with a lot of gray areas. Manufacturers will have the legal help to navigate this process, so it’s important that you do as well.
Bear in mind that following every step isn’t a guarantee that you will win. But if the arbitration’s result is unfavorable, you are able to pursue the claim further in court. The manufacturer, on the other hand, must abide by whatever decision the arbitrator has come to.
Key Takeaway Make sure you file a claim with your manufacturer before you apply for arbitration or file a lawsuit. Keep diligent records of all the repairs that you have had done on your vehicle.
Lemon law tips
Here are a few things to keep in mind about lemon laws:
- If you modify your vehicle in any way, whether by customization, neglect, abuse, or misuse, lemon laws will no longer apply to you.
- All repairs should be made through the manufacturer or dealership, or by repair facilities that the dealer has authorized. Keep all records of these repairs.
- Keep your terminology consistent. If you initially referred to the defect as the car “stalling,” for example, keep referring to it as “stalling.” Don’t change how you refer to the problem, or a manufacturer can argue that the issue did not need to be fixed repeatedly, which is not covered by the lemon law.
- Lemon laws can vary from state to state, including their requirements. If your situation is not covered by the lemon laws in your state, you may still be protected by the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Talk to an attorney to discuss your options.
Finding cheap car insurance
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