People who buy new cars typically expect the vehicle to be free from defects, or that any defects, once discovered, will be promptly corrected by the dealer or manufacturer. Unfortunately some consumers purchase cars with defects that never seem to get fixed no matter how many times the car is brought in for repair. A number of states, including Montana, have passed so-called lemon laws to provide consumers relief from perpetually defective vehicles.
Montana's lemon law is applicable only to vehicles that were purchased, titled or leased in the state of Montana. To qualify as a lemon, the vehicle must be less than 2 years old. The vehicle must have no more than 18,000 miles on its odometer, and the vehicle must have significant defects that adversely affect the vehicle's safety, market value or use. Montana's lemon law applies to passenger vehicles and motorcycles.
Montana's New Vehicle Warranty Act provides consumers with recourse against defective new vehicles in specific instances.To be covered under the New Vehicle Warranty Act, a consumer must report the defect to the manufacturer during the warranty period. The vehicle must have been out of service for repairs for more than 30 days, or have been serviced for the same defect four times and the defect is still uncorrected.
Consumers are required to notify the manufacturer of the defect and request repair. If the defect persists after three attempts to repair it, the consumer must submit the request for repair to the manufacture by certified mail. If the manufacturer cannot or will not repair the defect after receiving written notification, the consumer is entitled to a refund of the full purchase price of the vehicle or a replacement with an identical or substantially similar vehicle.
To process a claim under Montana's New Vehicle Warranty Act, the consumer should provide copies of all documents related to the original purchase or lease of the vehicle. The consumer should additionally provide copies of all maintenance records, repair records, receipts for supplies, a copy of the certified letter notifying the manufacturer of the complaint and any other documentation regarding the complaint.
All documentation must be submitted to:
Montana Department of Commerce
New Motor Vehicle Warranties Administrator
1424 9th Avenue
PO Box 200501
Helena, MT 59620-0501
Not all vehicles are covered by Montana's Lemon Law. Trucks over 10,000 pounds are not covered. Off-road vehicles and vehicles that are non-motorized are not covered. Used cars are not covered. Vehicles which were purchased new and would otherwise qualify are not eligible once they have exceeded 18,000 miles or after two years of ownership, whichever comes first. Trivial or cosmetic defects do not qualify, nor do defects that are the result of abuse, neglect, alteration or accidents.
- Photo Credit Girl repair car on road image by Vasyl Dudenko from Fotolia.com
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