A new car with a lasting, unfixable defect is commonly called a “lemon.” This is the term behind the so-named “lemon laws” on the books in every state. State lemon laws help consumers by requiring manufacturers to repair a car or replace cars with substantial defects that affect the consumer’s ability to use it or its market value. These laws generally provide specific steps for consumers to follow, and those steps can vary from state to state. Here’s a summary of Montana’s lemon laws.
Montana’s Lemon Law
Montana's lemon law covers new motor vehicles purchased (and leased) for personal, family, or household purposes that have “any defect or condition that substantially impairs the use and market value or safety of the motor vehicle to the consumer.” This generally covers most major problems with a car, but you should check with a manufacturer or knowledgeable source.
Consumers must follow certain steps. First, written notice must be provided to the manufacturer either within two years of delivery or 18,000 miles – whichever comes first. Notice within this period can extend the time during which repairs are made by the manufacturer for an additional year.
Second, the manufacturer or dealer will have “a reasonable number of attempts” to correct or repair the defect. This is defined as four or more attempts or when the vehicle is out of service for 30 or more business days. After these steps, if the defect is not repaired then the manufacturer must replace the vehicle with the same model or a car of comparable market value. Alternatively, it can offer a full refund minus some costs for the use of the vehicle.
Montana’s Department of Justice maintains an arbitration process for disputes between manufacturers and consumers. Violations also amount to unfair and deceptive trade practices, something that hurts car manufacturers and dealerships.
|Code Sections||61-4-501, et seq.|
|Title of the Act||New Motor Vehicle Warranty Act/|
|Definition of Defects||Any defect or condition that substantially impairs the use and market value or safety of the motor vehicle to the consumer.|
|Time Limit for Manufacturer Repair||Warranty period either two years from delivery or within 18,000 miles of operation, whichever is earlier. One year time extension if notice given to manufacturer within this period.|
|Remedies||Repair, replacement, or refund.|
Related Resources for Lemon Laws
Discovering that your nice, new car is a lemon can be rough. Taking action within the short period of time provided by law is critical. Montana’s Department of Justice offers guidance on the state’s lemon law. More generalized information can also be found in our lemon law section. Finally, you can consult an experienced lemon law attorney in Montana to evaluate your case and begin the process of exercising your rights under the law.
Contact a qualified attorney.