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Michigan's Lemon Law - Avoid Getting Stuck with A Lemon

Most new vehicles are reliable. But some will turn out to be lemons. If you bought or leased a defective vehicle, Michigan’s Lemon Law can help. Below you’ll find answers to the most common Lemon Law questions. 

Question: Which vehicles are covered by Michigan’s Lemon Law?

Answer: The Lemon Law applies to passenger vehicles, sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, and vans purchased or leased in Michigan. If the vehicle wasn’t purchased or leased in Michigan, it must have been purchased or leased by a Michigan resident. At the time of purchase or lease, it must have had a manufacturer’s express warranty.

The Lemon Law does not apply to motor homes, buses, trucks other than pickups and vans, motorcycles, or off-road vehicles.

Question: What about used vehicles?

Answer: Generally, the Lemon Law does not apply to used vehicles. But the Lemon Law does apply to vehicles still “covered by a manufacturer’s express warranty at the time of purchase or lease.” The problem must be reported to the manufacturer or its authorized dealer within one year from the date it was delivered to the original buyer. If those criteria are met, the Lemon Law may apply to a “used” vehicle.

Question: Does the Lemon Law apply to me? 

Answer: Yes, if the following is true. 

  1. You buy or lease a new vehicle for personal, family, or household use. You can’t sell or lease it to anyone else. 
  2. You enforce the provisions and follow the terms of the express warranty.  
  3. Under the Lemon Law a “person” means a natural person, a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, association, unit, or agency of government, trust, estate, or other legal entity.

Question: Can I return my vehicle within three days of purchase?

Answer: No. Some written contracts have a legal “cooling off period” where you can cancel under certain circumstances. This does not apply to purchasing a new vehicle. Consumers do not have the right to cancel a sale of goods or services. Learn more about your contract cancellation rights here

The Lemon Law does include a right to return the vehicle and receive a refund for the purchase or leased price. This only applies to vehicles that have had a reasonable number of repairs. These repairs must happen beyond three days after purchase.

Question: What problems or defects does the Lemon Law cover?

Answer: It covers defects or conditions that impair the use or value of the new vehicle. It also covers defects or conditions that prevent the new vehicle from conforming to the manufacturer’s express warranty.

It does not cover:

  • Defects or conditions caused by modifications made after purchase. Those changes need to be installed or made by, or for, the manufacturer. 
  • Defects or conditions that come from abusing or neglecting the vehicle. 
  • Damage that happens after the vehicle was purchased or leased. 

Question: What is the first step to recovery under the Lemon Law?

Answer: Report the problem to the manufacturer or its authorized dealer. They must receive notice during the warranty term or one year from the original buyer’s delivery date. Whichever comes first. 

If they receive timely notice, they must repair the problem. This applies even if the repair happens after the warranty expires. 

Question: What if the problem I reported continues to be an issue?

Answer: If the problem continues after a reasonable number of repair attempts, you may be entitled to a refund. The refund would be for the purchase or lease price of a comparable replacement vehicle. 

Question: What is considered a reasonable number of repair attempts?

Answer: A reasonable number of repair attempts means one of the following has happened: 

  1. The same problem still exists even after the vehicle has been in for repairs four or more times within two-years of the first attempted repair.
  2. The vehicle is out for repairs for 30 or more days during the warranty term. Or 30 or more days within one year from the date of delivery to the original buyer. Whichever comes first. This option does not require it to be the same problem causing the days out of service. 

Question: My vehicle still isn’t fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts. How do I get a refund or replacement?

Answer: The manufacturer must have one last chance to repair the vehicle. You will need to give the manufacturer a written notice that the vehicle needs to be fixed. You must send the notice by return receipt service.

You can send the notice any time after the third repair attempt. Or any time after the vehicle has been out of service for at least 25 days at a repair facility. 

After they receive notice, they must respond to you as soon as reasonably possible. Their response should include the name of an accessible repair facility. 

Once the repair facility has the vehicle, they have five business days to repair it. If it is not repaired within five days, you may receive a comparable replacement vehicle. You may also receive a refund of the purchase or lease price.

If a manufacturer has or participates in an informal dispute settlement procedure, the Lemon Law will not apply unless you first follow their procedure. The procedure must: 

  • Comply with the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. 2301 et seq.;
  • Bind the manufacturer by a consumer agreed-upon decision;
  • Not force the consumer to accept the decision. The consumer could then investigate Lemon Law options; and,
  • Require the manufacturer to begin the final settlement process no more than 30 days after the agreement was reached.

Question: If the manufacturer offers a replacement vehicle, can I have a refund instead?

Answer: Yes. The buyer or lessee has the right to a refund or a comparable replacement vehicle. The vehicle must be currently in production. 

If you are leasing, and agree to accept a replacement vehicle, the lease agreement cannot be changed. The agreement will be updated to list the new vehicle identification number.

Question: What is considered the purchase or lease price for purposes of a refund under the Lemon Law?

Answer: The purchase price or lease price includes the cost of any options or other modifications installed or made by or for the manufacturer, and the amount of all other charges made by or for the manufacturer, less a reasonable allowance for your use of the vehicle, and an amount equal to any appraised damage that is not attributable to normal use or to the defect or condition.

The manufacturer must pay towing costs and reasonable costs for a comparable rental vehicle. These costs must have come from the vehicle’s defect or condition. 

Question: How can I protect my rights under the Lemon Law?

Answer:

  •  Keep copies of all correspondence to and from the manufacturer and the dealer.
  • Keep copies of all work orders for repairs. Included the date(s) the work was performed. List the vehicle’s mileage at the time of the repair(s).
  • Follow all requirements of the warranty. This includes any requirement that the repairs must be done by an authorized dealer picked by the manufacturer.

The BBB National Programs BBB AUTO LINE

Through its BBB AUTO LINE program, BBB National Programs has helped more than two million consumers find a solution to their vehicle problems since its inception in 1978. If your auto manufacturer participates in the BBB AUTO LINE program, dispute resolution specialists can help you negotiate with the manufacturer and, if necessary, hold an arbitration hearing. If your manufacturer does not participate in the program, BBB AUTO LINE will route your complaint to that manufacturer.

To report a scam, file a complaint, or get additional information, contact the Michigan Department of Attorney General:

Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
517-335-7599
Fax: 517-241-3771
Toll free: 877-765-8388
Online complaint form