used in this chapter, unless the context indicates otherwise,
the following terms have the following meanings.
Consumer. "Consumer" means the purchaser, other than
for purposes of resale, or the lessee, of a motor vehicle, any
person to whom the motor vehicle is transferred during the
duration of an express warranty applicable to the motor vehicle
and any other person entitled by the terms of the warranty to
enforce the obligations of the warranty, except that the term
"consumer" shall not include any governmental entity,
or any business or commercial enterprise which registers three
or more motor vehicles.
Manufacturer. "Manufacturer" means manufacturer,
importer, distributor or anyone who is named as the warrantor on
an express written warranty on a motor vehicle.
Motor Vehicle. "Motor vehicle" means any motor driven
vehicle, designed for the conveyance of passengers or property
on the public highways, which is sold or leased in this State,
except that the term “motor vehicle” does not include any
commercial vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 8,500 pounds
Reasonable allowance for use. "Reasonable allowance for
use" means that amount obtained by multiplying the total
purchase price of the vehicle by a fraction having as its
denominator 100,000 and having as it numerator the number of
miles that the vehicle traveled prior to the manufacturer’s
acceptance of its return.
State-certified arbitration. "State-certified
arbitration" means the informal dispute settlement
procedure administered by the Department of the Attorney General
which arbitrates consumer complaints dealing with new motor
vehicles that may be so defective as to qualify for equitable
relief under the Maine lemon laws.
Consumer Rights. Nothing in this chapter in any way limits the
rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a consumer
under any other law.
Manufacturers, distributors, agents and dealers. Nothing in this
chapter in any way limits the rights or remedies of franchisees
under chapter 204 or other applicable law.
Waivers void. Any agreement entered into by a consumer which
waives, limits or disclaims the rights set forth in this chapter
shall be void as contrary to public policy.
Rights and duties.
Repair of nonconformities. If a new motor vehicle does not
conform to all express warranties, the manufacturer, its agent
or authorized dealer shall make those repairs necessary to
conform the vehicle to the express warranties if the consumer
reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, its agent or
authorized dealer during the term of the express warranties,
within a period of 2 years following the date of original
delivery of the motor vehicle to a consumer, or during the first
18,000 miles of operation, whichever is the earlier date. This
obligation exists notwithstanding the fact that the repairs are
made after the expiration of the appropriate time period.
Failure to make effective repair. If the manufacturer or its
agents or authorized dealers are unable to conform the motor
vehicle to any applicable express warranty by repairing or
correcting any defect or condition, or combination of defects or
conditions, which substantially impairs the use, safety or value
of the motor vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts, the
manufacturer shall either replace the motor vehicle with a
comparable new motor vehicle or accept return of the vehicle
from the consumer and make a refund to the consumer and lien
holder, if any, as their interests may appear. The consumer may
reject any offered replacement and receive instead a refund. The
refund shall consist of the following items, less a reasonable
allowance for use of the vehicle:
The full purchase price or, if a leased vehicle, the lease
payments made to date, including any paid finance charges on the
purchased or leased vehicle;
All collateral charges, including, but not limited to, sales
tax, license and registration fees and similar government
Costs incurred by the consumer for towing and storage of the
vehicle and for procuring alternative transportation while the
vehicle was out of service by reason of repair.
provisions of this section shall not affect the obligations of a
consumer under a loan or sales contract or the secured interest
of any secured party. The secured party shall consent to the
replacement of the security interest with a corresponding
security interest on a replacement motor vehicle which is
accepted by the consumer in exchange for the motor vehicle, if
the replacement motor vehicle is comparable in value to the
original motor vehicle. If, for any reason, the security
interest in the new motor vehicle having a defect or condition
is not able to be replaced with a corresponding security
interest on a new motor vehicle accepted by the consumer, the
consumer shall accept a refund. Refunds required under this
section shall be made to the consumer and the secured party, if
any, as their interests exist at the time the refund is to be
made. Similarly, refunds to a lessor and lessee shall be made as
their interests exist at the time the refund is to be made.
Reasonable number of attempts; presumption. There is a
presumption that a reasonable number of attempts have been
undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to the applicable express
The same nonconformity has been subject to repair 3 or more
times by the manufacturer or its agents or authorized dealers
within the express warranty term, during the period of 2 years
following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to
a consumer or during the first 18,000 miles of operation,
whichever is the earlier date, and at least 2 of those times the
same agent or dealer attempted the repair but the nonconformity
continues to exist; or
The vehicle is out of service by reason of repair by the
manufacturer, its agents or authorized dealer, of any defect or
condition or combination of defects for a cumulative total of 15
or more business days during that warranty term or the
appropriate time period, whichever is the earlier date.
Final opportunity to repair. If the manufacturer or his agents
have been unable to make the repairs necessary to conform the
vehicle to the express warranties, the consumer shall notify, in
writing, the manufacturer or the authorized dealer of his desire
for a refund or replacement. For the seven business days
following receipt by the dealer or the manufacturer of this
notice, the manufacturer shall have a final opportunity to
correct or repair any nonconformities. This final repair shall
be at a repair facility that is reasonably accessible to the
consumer. This repair effort shall not stay the time period
within which the manufacturer must provide an arbitration
hearing pursuant to 1165.
Time limit; extension. The term of an express warranty, the
one-year and two-year periods following delivery of the 15-day
period provided in subsection 3, paragraph B, shall be extended
by any period of time during which repair services are not
available to the consumer because of a war, invasion, strike or
fire, flood or other natural disaster.
Dealer liability. Nothing in this chapter may be construed as
imposing any liability on a dealer or creating a cause of action
by a consumer against a dealer under this section, except
regarding any written express warranties made by the dealer
apart from the manufacturer’s own warranties.
Disclosure of notice requirement. No consumer may be required to
notify the manufacturer of a claim under this section, unless
the manufacturer has clearly and conspicuously disclosed to the
consumer, in the warranty or owner’s manual, that written
notification of the nonconformity is required before the
consumer may be eligible for a refund or replacement of the
vehicle. The manufacturer shall include with the warranty or
owner’s manual the name and address to which the consumer
shall send the written notification.
Notification of Dealer. Consumers may also satisfy a
manufacturer’s notice requirement by notifying in writing the
authorized dealer of a claim under this section. The dealer
shall act as the manufacturer’s agent and immediately
communicate to the manufacturer the consumer’s claim.
Disclosure at time of resale. No motor vehicle which is returned
to the manufacturer under subsection 2, may be resold without
clear and conspicuous written disclosure to any subsequent
purchaser, whether that purchaser is a consumer or a dealer, of
the following information:
That the motor vehicle was returned to the manufacturer under
That the motor vehicle did not conform to the manufacturer’s
express warranties; and
The ways in which the motor vehicle did not conform to the
manufacturer’s express warranties.
is an affirmative defense to any claim under this chapter that:
Lack of impairment. An alleged nonconformity does not
substantially impair the use, safety or value of the motor
Abuse. A nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect or
unauthorized modifications or alterations of a motor vehicle by
anyone other than the manufacturer, its agents or authorized
dealers since delivery to the consumer.
Informal dispute settlement.
a manufacturer has established an informal dispute settlement
procedure which complies in all respects with the provisions of
16 CFR, Part 703, as from time to time amended, the provisions
of section 1163, subsection 2, concerning refunds or replacement
shall not apply to any consumer who has not first resorted to
that procedure or to state-certified arbitration. This
requirement shall be satisfied 40 days after notification to the
informal dispute settlement procedure of the dispute or when the
procedure’s duties under 16 CFR, Part 703.5(d) are completed,
whichever occurs sooner.
Unfair or deceptive trade practice.
violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be
considered prima facie evidence of an unfair or deceptive trade
practice under Title 5, chapter 10.
the case of a consumer’s successful action to enforce any
liability under this chapter, a court may award reasonable
attorney’s fees and costs incurred.
New car leases.
the purposes of this chapter only, the following apply to leases
of new motor vehicles.
Warranties. If express warranties are regularly furnished to
purchasers of substantially the same kind of motor vehicles:
Those warranties shall be deemed to apply to the leased motor
The consumer lessee shall be deemed to be the first purchaser of
the motor vehicle for the purpose of any warranty provisions
limiting warranty benefits to the original purchaser.
Lessee’s rights. The lessee of a motor vehicle has the same
rights under this chapter against the manufacturer and any
person making express warranties that the lessee would have
under this chapter if the vehicle had been purchased by the
lessee. The manufacturer and any person making express
warranties have the same duties and obligations under this
chapter with respect to the vehicle that the manufacturer and
other person would have under this chapter if the goods had been
sold to the lessee.
State-certified, new car arbitration.
Neutral new car arbitration. All manufacturers shall submit to
state-certified, new car arbitration if arbitration is requested
by the consumer within 2 years from the date of original
delivery to the consumer of a new motor vehicle or during the
first 18,000 miles of operation, whichever comes first.
State-certified arbitration shall be performed by one or more
neutral arbitrators selected by the Department of the Attorney
General operating in accordance with the rules promulgated
pursuant to this chapter. The Attorney General may contract with
an independent entity to provide arbitration or the Attorney
General’s office may appoint neutral arbitrators. Each party
to an arbitration is entitled to one rejection of a proposed
Written findings. Each arbitration shall result in a written
finding of whether the motor vehicle in dispute meets the
standards set forth by this chapter for vehicles that are
required to be replaced or refunded. This finding shall be
issued within 45 days of receipt by the Department of the
Attorney General of a properly completed written request by a
consumer for state-certified arbitration under this section. All
findings of fact issuing from a state-certified arbitration
shall be taken as admissible evidence of whether the standards
set forth in this chapter for vehicles required to be refunded
or replaced have been met in any subsequent action brought by
either party ensuing from the matter considered in the
arbitration. The finding reporting date may be extended by 5
days if the arbitrator seeks an independent evaluation of the
Administered by Attorney General. The Department of the Attorney
General shall promulgate rules governing the proceedings of
state-certified arbitration which shall promote fairness and
efficiency. These rules shall include, but are not limited to, a
requirement of the personal objectivity of each arbitrator in
the results of the dispute that that arbitrator will hear, and
the protection of the right of each party to present its case
and to be in attendance during any presentation made by the
Consumer arbitration relief. If a motor vehicle is found by
state-certified arbitration to have met the standards set forth
in section 1163, subsection 2, for vehicles required to be
replaced or refunded, and if the manufacturer of the motor
vehicle is found to have failed to provide the refund or
replacement as required, the manufacturer shall, within 21 days
from the receipt of a finding, deliver the refund or
replacement, including the costs and collateral charges set
forth in section 1163, subsection 2, or appeal the finding in
Superior Court. For good cause, a manufacturer may seek from the
Department of the Attorney General an extension of the time
within which it must deliver to the consumer a replacement
Appeal of arbitration decision. No appeal by a manufacturer or
consumer of the arbitrator’s findings may be heard unless the
petition for appeal is filed with the Superior Court of the
county in which the sale occurred, within 21 days of issuance of
the finding of the state-certified arbitration.
the event that any state-certified arbitration resulting in an
award of a refund or replacement is upheld by the court,
recovery by the consumer may include continuing damages up to
the amount of $25 per day for each day subsequent to the day the
motor vehicle was returned to the manufacturer, pursuant to
section 1163, that the vehicle was out of use as a direct result
of any nonconformity, not issuing from owner negligence,
accident, vandalism or any attempt to repair or substantially
modify the vehicle by a person other than the manufacturer, its
agent or authorized dealer, provided that the manufacturer did
not make a comparable vehicle available to the consumer free of
addition to any other recovery, any prevailing consumer shall be
awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. If the court
finds that the manufacturer did not have any reasonable basis
for its appeal or that the appeal was frivolous, the court shall
double the amount of the total award to the consumer.
Consumer’s rights if arbitrator denies relief. The provisions
of this chapter shall not be construed to limit or restrict in
any way the rights or remedies provided to consumers under this
chapter or any other state law. In addition, if any consumer is
dissatisfied with any finding of state-certified arbitration,
the consumer shall have the right to apply to the
manufacturer’s informal dispute settlement procedure, if the
consumer has not already done so, or may appeal that finding to
the Superior Court of the county in which the sale occurred
within 21 days of the decision.
Disclosure of consumer lemon law rights. A clear and conspicuous
disclosure of the rights of the consumer under this chapter
shall be provided by the manufacturer to the consumer along with
ownership manual materials. The form and manner of these notices
shall be prescribed by rule of the Department of the Attorney
General. The notice disclosures shall not include window
Manufacturer’s failure to abide by arbitrator’s decision.
The failure of a manufacturer either to abide by the decision of
state-certified arbitration or to file a timely appeal shall
entitle any prevailing consumer who has brought an action to
enforce this chapter to an award of no less than 2 times the
actual award, unless the manufacturer can prove that the failure
was beyond the manufacturer’s control or can show it was the
result of a written agreement with the consumer.
Consumer request for information. Upon request from the
consumer, the manufacturer or dealer shall provide a copy of all
repair records for the consumer’s motor vehicle and all
reports relating to that motor vehicle, including reports by the
dealer or manufacturer concerning inspection, diagnosis or
test-drives of that vehicle and any technical reports, bulletins
or notices issued by the manufacturer regarding the specific
make and model of the consumer’s new motor vehicle as it
pertains to any material, feature, component or the performance
of the motor vehicle.
Penalties. It shall be prima facie evidence of an unfair trade
practice under Title 5, chapter 10, for a manufacturer, within
21 days of receipt of any finding in favor of the consumer in
state-certified arbitration, to fail to appeal the finding and
not deliver a refund or replacement vehicle or not receive from
the Department of the Attorney General an extension of time for
delivery of the replacement vehicle.
New car arbitration account. To defray the costs of this
program, a $1 arbitration fee shall be collected by the
authorized dealer from the purchaser as part of the new motor
vehicle sale agreement. Pursuant to rules adopted by the
Secretary of State, this fee shall be forwarded annually by the
dealer or its successor to the Secretary of State and deposited
in the General Fund. At the end of each fiscal year, the
Department of the Attorney General shall prepare a report
listing the annual money generated and the expenses incurred in
administering this arbitration program.