If you've been dogged with vehicle problems and think that you have a lemon car, lemon truck, or lemon motorcycle, you have rights under South Dakota Lemon Law, as well as under federal law. To get the best possible settlement and the greatest compensation, however, it's extremely helpful to keep thorough records. When you do, you can easily prove that you have followed the procedures necessary to classify your vehicle as a lemon. Here are some tips to get you started with your South Dakota lemon law case:
Keep a logbook. Whether you use a spiral bound notebook or a computer spreadsheet, make a notation every time you speak to or visit the dealer or manufacturer. This proves that you have given them ample opportunity to fix the problem. In South Dakota, dealerships are required to present you with a repair invoice each time a car is repaired.
Write down every communication. In your logbook, write down the date and time, as well as the name, title, and phone number of the person to whom you spoke. Make an entry outlining the information and instructions you were given.
Keep track of your vehicle's performance. In your logbook, note the times and dates when the problems occur.
Note the days your vehicle is unavailable. In your logbook, record the dates you are unable to use your vehicle, either because it isn't in working condition or because it is in the shop for repair.
Keep repair records. This may seem obvious, but it's important to keep the original paperwork of all repair and maintenance orders — even those that may not pertain to the recurring problem with your vehicle. Never leave your vehicle at the dealership without a copy of the work order. If you can't find a repair order, ask the dealer for a copy. The South Dakota Auto Repair Act requires service departments to maintain records for two years.
Keep every piece of written correspondence. Hold on to a copy of every letter and email you send, as well as proof of delivery. South Dakota requires that you contact the car manufacturer and the leasing company via certified mail. Keep a folder with correspondence and delivery documentation.
Use the Web. If you want to know if your lemon has a history of problems, check the Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) for your vehicle at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov. TSBs alert dealerships to defects and repairs for certain models. Request that the dealer's service representative write your TSB request on your repair slip.