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When might a lemon be eligible for a refund or replacement?

In Minnesota, the “lemon law” offers certain protections for buyers of new or used vehicles that are still under the manufacturer’s original warranty. Under the law, a manufacturer may have to repair defects or other equipment issues so long as the owner reports the problem within a certain period of time.

However, if repair attempts fail to resolve the problem or if the issue poses a potentially serious safety risk, the manufacturer may have to provide either a refund of the auto’s purchase price or a replacement vehicle.

When does the manufacturer have an obligation to refund or replace?

The manufacture may have to supply a comparable replacement car or a purchase refund if the company, its agents or an authorized dealer is unable to correct issues covered under warranty through repairs. A refund or replacement may be necessary if:

  • There have been several unsuccessful attempts to fix the same issue.
  • The manufacturer is unable to repair a major safety issue, such as complete failure of the braking or steering systems.
  • The auto has been unserviceable for 30 or more business days due to warranty repairs.

The vehicle owner may choose to require a refund if the manufacturer offers a replacement car. A purchase refund may include both the cost of the vehicle itself as well as sales tax, licensing/registration fees and expenses related to having an inoperable auto, such as a towing service or vehicle rental.

In some cases, the owner of a defective vehicle may be able to work out a resolution through arbitration. However, if litigation becomes necessary, vehicle owners may be able to receive compensation for both costs related to their lemon auto and the legal fees incurred by going to court.