Lemon Laws in South Dakota

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South Dakota’s lemon laws cover new cars that have been purchased by a resident of South Dakota. The lemon law covers cars for the first year after delivery or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.
If you’ve recently discovered your new car is a lemon, Jerry’s compiled a guide to help you navigate lemon laws in South Dakota.
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Keep reading to learn more about lemon laws in South Dakota.
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What is a lemon law?

Lemon laws are laws designed to protect consumers from products that are defective, while holding manufacturers financially responsible for amending the situation.
The term “lemon” usually refers to automobiles, including cars, trucks, and motorcycles, although it typically applies to any product.
All fifty states and Washington D.C. have their own variation of lemon laws, including their own limitations and coverages.
A vehicle is considered a lemon if it has a manufacturer’s defect that can’t be adequately repaired in a reasonable period of time, and the vehicle is still under the manufacturer’s warranty.

Is there a lemon law in South Dakota?

Yes, South Dakota’s lemon law covers new and used cars.

Is my defect covered under the lemon law?

South Dakota’s lemon laws cover defects found in motor vehicles purchased, not leased, intended for public highway operation, family, personal, or household use. The motor vehicle must also be protected by a manufacturer’s warranty. The only vehicles not covered are motor homes or vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds.
Your vehicle could be considered a lemon if it has met the following criteria:
  • 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
  • The defect is something that is covered under your vehicle’s express warranty
The defect that is affecting your car must be reported by the manufacturer within the first year after your vehicle’s delivery, or within 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. The manufacturer is no longer obligated to make repairs after two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first, so time is of the essence.
Key Takeaway South Dakota’s lemon laws are among the broadest in the state in terms of vehicles covered, as all cars intended for use on public highways are covered.

Are used cars covered under the lemon law?

Yes, South Dakota is unusual in that its lemon laws cover used cars.
The caveat is that the car has to be within the two years of the car’s initial delivery, or fewer than 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. This severely limits the number of used cars eligible for lemon law protection.
For this reason, use 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.
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What about new cars?

Yes, new and used purchased cars, excluding motorhomes and vehicles over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, are covered under South Dakota’s lemon laws. Leased cars do not qualify.
If your new car requires the same repair more than four times, with one attempt within the vehicle’s warranty period, or if it spends more than 30 days in the shop as a result of the same defect, then your car is considered a lemon.
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 South Dakota

If you’re looking to pursue your lemon law rights in South Dakota, you will need to notify the manufacturer of the defect in question and allow them a repair attempt within the first year after your vehicle’s delivery, or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.
The manufacturer is no longer obligated to make repairs after two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first.
After the four failed attempts or 30 cumulative days, you must send written notice to the manufacturer via certified mail that the defect or nonconformity is still occurring. The manufacturer now has one final opportunity to fix the defect within fourteen days of receiving this notice. Keep a copy of the notice for your records.
Keep records of all repair attempts. This will help to strengthen your case. It’s also advised that you enlist the help of a lemon law attorney to help you navigate what is still a complex legal process. Taking these steps does not guarantee you a victory in arbitration or court, but will greatly improve your case.

Enter arbitration

If the defect still cannot be fixed within fourteen days, you must undergo arbitration via the manufacturer’s certified informal dispute settlement program.
The manufacturer is bound to whatever decision the arbitrator comes to, but you can file a lawsuit if you’re unsatisfied with the decision. You may claim either a refund of your vehicle minus a reasonable allowance fee, or a replacement for your car with a comparable make and model.
Key Takeaway Make sure you keep diligent records of all the repairs you make on the car and of any contact you have with the manufacturer.

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 your car.
  • All repairs should be made through the manufacturer or dealership, or by repair facilities that the dealer has authorized. Keep all of the 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. Consult with an attorney to go over your options.
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