Understanding Mississippi Lemon Law
The Mississippi lemon law covers vehicles sold and operated in Mississippi used to transport persons or property.
The lemon law covers used vehicles, but not leased vehicles unless acquired through a lease-purchase. The lemon law further doesn’t cover off-road vehicles, motorcycles, or mopeds.
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Mississippi’s lemon law protects consumers purchasing vehicles used primarily for personal, family or household purposes. The lemon law further protects anyone to whom the vehicle is transferred within the warranty term, and anyone else entitled to enforce the warranty’s obligations.
The Mississippi lemon law covers what it calls “nonconformities.” The lemon law defines a nonconformity as any defect or condition that impairs the use, market value, or safety of the vehicle to the consumer. The lemon law does not cover nonconformities as a result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized vehicle modifications.
Mississippi’s lemon law compels manufacturers to repair any nonconformity consumers report to them within the warranty period or within one year of the vehicle’s delivery to the consumer, whichever is earlier. The manufacturer must make the repairs even after the expiration of the warranty or the one year period.
The Mississippi lemon law requires manufacturers to repurchase or replace a nonconforming vehicle if they are unable to repair the defect. The consumer must first allow the manufacturer a reasonable number of attempts to repair the nonconformity.
The lemon law defines a “reasonable number of attempts” as three attempts to fix the same problem without success. After this, if the nonconformity remains, or if the vehicle is out of service for more than 15 working days, the manufacturer must repurchase or replace the vehicle.
Manufacturers repurchasing a nonconforming vehicle must repay the full vehicle purchase price. That includes any taxes, registration, title and licensing fees, and any charges for accessories installed by the manufacturer. They must also repay all reasonably incurred collateral charges, including towing and replacement car rental costs. The manufacturer may withhold a reasonable allowance for the consumer’s vehicle use.
The Mississippi lemon law requires a manufacturer replacing a nonconforming vehicle to provide a comparable vehicle acceptable to the consumer. The lemon law defines “comparable” as identical or a reasonably equivalent vehicle. The consumer must pay a reasonable allowance for use of a replacement vehicle.
Mississippi’s lemon law requires consumers to resort first to a manufacturer’s informal dispute settlement procedure, i.e. arbitration, before seeking repurchase or replacement.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law questions, click here.
Mississippi consumers with warrantied vehicle problems would be well served to contact a law firm for a consultation on what their next step should be, whether it be going through with arbitration or proceeding to trial. In court, consumers are guaranteed the ability to gather evidence under the state’s civil discovery rules, and to be represented by a qualified lawyer who can guide them through the often complex legal process.
By pursuing a claim under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, Mississippi consumers can hire lemon law attorneys who will represent them without the vehicle owner having to pay any attorneys’ fees directly out of their pocket. This is because the federal Act provides that the vehicle manufacturer shall pay the claimants’ reasonable attorneys’ fees if the claimant prevails against the manufacturer.
Ross said clients can use funds earned from their settled lemon law claim for any purpose they choose.
Clients who purchased their vehicle via financing must continue making their monthly payments on the vehicle, no matter if the vehicle is still drivable or in the shop. Clients who fail to make their required monthly auto loan payments can inadvertently damage their lemon law claim. Clients who win out against their vehicle’s manufacturer or get a settlement before going to court can use those funds to pay off what remains of their auto loan. Freed from a restrictive and onerous loan, clients are free to look for a new vehicle.
Clients who bought their vehicle outright or paid their loan off by the time their lemon law claim resolves, could use those funds as a down payment on an entirely new vehicle – this time, hopefully, one without the recurring unfixable problems that plagued their previous vehicle.
The Mississippi lemon law can cover used cars as well, but it depends on the vehicle’s warranty. Most used vehicles are sold “as-is,” without a warranty, leaving a consumer without much legal recourse if the vehicle turns out to be defective. Most used vehicles sold at lots are sold long after their original manufacturer’s warranty expires.
Regardless of whether your vehicle’s manufacturer settles or you prevail against them in court, money awarded following the end of your lemon law claim is yours to use as you see fit. However, the statute of limitations could end your claim before it even begins. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act often takes its statute of limitations from the laws and codes of the state from which the claim originates, so you should act quickly. Contact Allen Stewart P.C. today and get your claim started.
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