Missouri Lemon Law Damages

March 9, 2010

When a consumer wins a Missouri lemon law claim, the statute provides that the

“manufacturer shall, at its option, either replace the new motor vehicle with a comparable new vehicle acceptable to the consumer, or take title of the vehicle from the consumer and refund to the consumer the full purchase price, including all reasonably incurred collateral charges, less a reasonable allowance for the consumer’s use of the vehicle.”

This means the manufacturer has 2 options: replace the vehicle, or repurchase the vehicle. While the statute does seem to allow the manufacturer to make the choice, no one can force a consumer to agree to a deal they don’t want to take.

If a consumer prefers a replacement, the vehicle must be “comparable.” Typically, this means a consumer must accept the same year, make, and model they currently own. If a newer model year is available, a consumer may be able to upgrade, but would also be responsible for any increase in MSRP. Under a Missouri lemon law replacement, the consumer would still be responsible for paying the manufacturer a “reasonable allowance”  for the use of the vehicle.

The repurchase option requires a manufacturer to take the vehicle back and refund the full purchase price of the vehicle, including “all reasonably incurred collateral charges.” The Missouri lemon law helpfully defines “collateral charges” as including all sales tax, license fees, registration fees, title fees and motor vehicle inspections. Whether finance charges should be included will the subject of a later post.

Next, we will examine how to determine a “reasonable allowance for the consumer’s use of the vehicle.”

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