Missouri Assistive Device Lemon Law Consumer Guide
What is the Missouri Assistive Device Lemon Law?
The Missouri Assistive Device Lemon Law provides an expressed one-year warranty protection on all assistive technology devices purchased or leased to assist in performing a major life activity. Such devices include, but are not limited to, motorized/manual wheelchairs, scooters, hearing aids, telecommunication devices, speech synthesizers, scanners and other devices which enable a person with a disability to communicate, see, hear or maneuver.
The duration of the warranty must be no less than one year from the date of first delivery to the consumer. In the absence of a written warranty, the manufacturer is deemed to have given such a one-year warranty. The warranty covers both parts and labor.
Is the Law Retroactive?
No. The Missouri Assistive Device Lemon Law ONLY applies to new assistive devices purchased or leased on or after August 28, 1995.
When is a Device a "Lemon"?
A new assistive device can be considered a "lemon" when reasonable attempts to repair the device during the one year warranty period have been unsuccessful and meets the following requirements: there have been four attempts by the manufacturer to repair the same defect and the problem continues; or the device "down-time" is a total of 30 days during attempts to repair the same defect.
For example, if the screen display of an assistive device was non-functional (did not display the text) and the consumer returned the device for repair four times within the warranty period and the display continued to be non-functional, the consumer could request relief under the lemon law. Similarly, if the consumer returned the device with the non-functional screen display for repair and was left without a functional device for over a month, the consumer could also request relief under the lemon law.
When is a device NOT a "Lemon"?
A device is not a lemon when the defect is the result of consumer abuse, neglect or unauthorized modification or alteration by the consumer. In addition, consumer dissatisfaction issues (such as the device is the wrong color, has too many features, doesn't have enough features or is just not living up to expectations) would not typically cause a device to be considered a lemon. The device must have a defect or condition that requires repair to make it function properly rather than just general consumer dissatisfaction.
Do All Returns to the Manufacturer Count as Repairs?
No, assistive devices are frequently returned to the manufacturer for reasons other than defects that need to be repaired. For example, some of the custom made devices must be returned for fitting adjustments that are beyond the scope of a local vendor. Cleaning, routine maintenance and other similar services done by manufacturers would also typically not be considered returns to the manufacturer for repair.
What if an agency, business or employer owns an assistive device that is a lemon?
The statute defines "consumers" as the purchaser of an assistive device, a person to whom the assistive device is transferred for purposes other than resale, a person who will be able to carry out the warranty requirements, or a person who leases an assistive device under a written lease. Agencies, businesses and employers who have purchased the device for the consumer may seek relief under the assistive device lemon law.
Is the lemon law protection limited to Missouri manufacturers or distributors?
What Steps Can Be Taken to Report a Defective Assistive Device as Defined in the Statute?
If you feel you have a defective assistive device(s), you will need to fully document repeated repair attempts of the defective device, and/or days that the device was out of service for repair. Thus, it is very important to keep careful records of all complaints, original copies of all work orders, repair bills and correspondences.
You will need to include in a letter to the Attorney General's office pertinent information including:
- Your name, address and phone number
- A copy of the bill of sale or lease
- Description of the assistive device (i.e., scooter)
- Make and model of the device
- Date when device was delivered to you
- Manufacturer(s) name, and dealer or leasing agent information
- Describe the existing problems with your equipment
- Date when you first reported the problems to the dealer or manufacturer within the first year of warranty
Document all dates and repair attempts by the dealer or manufacturer and attach copies of each work order. If you do not have copies of the work orders from the dealer or manufacturer, these copies can be obtained after you have been accepted into the program with approval from an arbitrator. DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS. If the case is accepted by the attorney general's office, there may be a filing fee for filing a complaint with the arbitration firm who will be working with the consumer.
Send the information to:
- Missouri Attorney General's Office
- Consumer Protection Division
- Supreme Court Building, P.O. Box 899
- Jefferson City, MO 65102-0899