North Dakota Lemon Laws
Paying a hefty price for a new vehicle only to discover that it doesn’t live up to promised standards can be frustrating. Fortunately for consumers, all states have a lemon law in place to help those who purchase new cars with unfixable flaws. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) reminds consumers that such laws are there to help them resolve their issues with most manufacturers when vehicles don’t meet performance and safety standards. Here’s a look at North Dakota’s law protecting new car buyers:
North Dakota’s Lemon Law applies only to new vehicles. It does not apply to motorcycles, motor homes or used cars. The alleged problem or defect with the vehicle must be reported to the dealer or manufacturer within one year of purchase or during the term of warranty, whichever is less. The defect must also be major enough that it “substantially impacts the use and market value of the passenger motor vehicle.” Examples of such defects would be:
■ Engine knocking/noise
■ Failure to stay in alignment
■ Sunroof/Moonroof leakage issues
■ Any issue which renders the vehicle inoperable
It should be noted that these are just examples. Other flaws could also qualify the vehicle as a lemon. Small problems like cosmetic defects, a bad radio or a faulty air conditioner may not be covered. Dealers, however, are required to honor warranties for such issues. Also worth noting: To qualify for the lemon law, the problem cannot be the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized modifications by the consumer.
Lemon laws also state that a reasonable number of attempts to fix existing problems must first be made before a car is covered.
If you leased a car that has been determined to be a lemon, you are entitled to receive a refund of all lease payments, cash payments, and security deposits, less a reasonable deduction for use of the vehicle. The lease agreement will be canceled when the car is returned.
Different manufacturers’ contracts say varying things about how the situation should be handled from this point. Either the vehicle must be replaced, repurchased, or the arbitration process must begin. Your BBB offers a free arbitration program called BBB Auto Line which has aided more than two million consumers over the last 30+ years. Visit bbb.org/autoline/bbb-auto-line-process/participating-auto-manufacturers/ for a list of participating manufacturers.
What you will need
Consumers are advised to keep all paperwork involved in every repair made to the vehicle in question. Here is what should be documented:
■ Phone calls and trips to the dealership, repair department and manufacturer
■ Dates and reasons for each visit
■ Defects with the vehicle and what attempts to repair were made
■ Expenses you have had to pay
■ Towing receipts
To ensure a smooth process with Auto Line you will need the vehicle identification number, make, model and year of the vehicle and the current mileage. If you have questions about our Auto Line program, visit bbb.org/autoline or call (800) 955-5100.