legislature finds and declares that manufacturers, distributors
and importers of new motor vehicles should be obligated to
provide speedy and less costly resolution of automobile warranty
problems. Manufacturers should be required to provide in as
expeditious a manner as possible a refund of the consumer's
purchase price, payments to a lessor and lessee, or a
replacement vehicle that is acceptable to the consumer whenever
the manufacturer is unable to make the vehicle conform with its
applicable warranty. New motor vehicle dealers and used motor
vehicle dealers cannot be sued under this chapter.
"Board" means the New Hampshire new motor vehicle
"Business day" means any day during which the service
departments of authorized dealers of the manufacturer of the
motor vehicle are normally open for business.
"Consumer" means the purchaser, other than for
purposes of resale of a new motor vehicle; the lessee of a new
motor vehicle, other than for the purpose of sublease; any
person to whom such motor vehicle is transferred during the
duration of an express warranty applicable to the motor vehicle;
or any other person entitled by the terms of the warranty to
enforce the obligations of the warranty. "Consumer"
shall not include any governmental entity.
"Distributor" means any person who sells or
distributes new or used motor vehicles to motor vehicle dealers
or who maintains distributor representatives within this state.
"Early termination costs" means expenses and
obligations incurred by a motor vehicle lessee as a result of an
early termination of a written lease agreement and surrender of
a motor vehicle to a manufacturer, including penalties for
prepayment of finance arrangements.
"Factory branch" means any branch office maintained by
a manufacturer for the purpose of selling, leasing, or offering
for sale or lease, vehicles to a distributor or new motor
vehicle dealer or for directing or supervising, in whole or in
part, factory distributor representatives.
"Lease" or "leased" means a written
agreement with a lessee which shall be for the use of a motor
vehicle for consideration for a term of 2 or more years.
"Lessee" means any consumer who leases a motor vehicle
pursuant to a written lease agreement for a term of 2 or more
"Manufacturer" means any person, resident or
nonresident, who manufactures or assembles new motor vehicles,
or imports for distribution through distributors of motor
vehicles or any partnership, firm, association, joint venture,
corporation or trust, resident or nonresident, which is
controlled by a manufacturer. The term "manufacturer"
includes distributors and factory branches.
"Motor vehicle" means:
A motor vehicle, as defined in RSA 259:60, of the private
passenger or station wagon type with a gross weight not
exceeding 9,000 pounds that is purchased or leased by a
Any other 4-wheel motor vehicle with a gross weight not
exceeding 9,000 pounds, except tractors, off highway
recreational vehicles, and mopeds; or
"Motor vehicle dealer" means any person engaged in the
business of selling, offering to sell, leasing, soliciting or
advertising the sale of new or used motor vehicles or possessing
motor vehicles for the purpose of resale either on his own
account or on behalf of another, either as his primary business
or incidental thereto. However, "motor vehicle dealer"
shall not include:
Receivers, trustees, administrators, executors, guardians, or
other persons appointed by or acting under judgment, decree or
order of any court; or
Public officers while performing their duties as such officers.
"Motor vehicle lessor" means a person who holds title
to a motor vehicle leased to a lessee under written lease
agreement for a term of 2 or more years, or who holds the
lessor's rights under such an agreement.
"New motor vehicle" means a passenger motor vehicle
which is still under the manufacturer's express warranty.
"Nonconformity" means a defect or condition that
substantially impairs the use, value or safety of a motor
vehicle, but does not include a defect or condition that results
from an accident, abuse, neglect, modification, or alteration of
the motor vehicle by persons other than the manufacturer or its
authorized service agent.
"Warranty" includes express warranties as defined in
the Uniform Commercial Code, RSA 382-A, plus any written
warranty of the manufacturer.
Enforcement of Warranties.
Every new motor vehicle sold in this state shall conform to all
It shall be the manufacturer's obligation under this chapter to
insure that all new motor vehicles sold or leased in this state
conform with the manufacturer's express warranties. The
manufacturer may delegate responsibility to its agents or
authorized dealers provided, however, in the event the
manufacturer delegates its responsibility under this chapter to
its agents or authorized dealers, it shall compensate the dealer
for all work performed by the dealer in satisfaction of the
manufacturer's responsibility under this chapter.
If a new motor vehicle does not conform to all applicable
express warranties and the consumer reports the nonconformity to
the manufacturer, its agent or authorized dealer during the term
of the warranty, the manufacturer shall cause whatever repairs
are necessary to conform the vehicle to the warranties,
notwithstanding the fact that the repairs are made after the
expiration of a warranty term.
A manufacturer, its agent or authorized dealer shall not refuse
to provide a consumer with a written repair order and shall
provide to the consumer, each time the consumer's vehicle is
brought in for examination or repair of a defect, a written
summary of the complaint and a fully itemized statement
indicating all work performed on the vehicle including, but not
limited to, examination of the vehicle, parts, and labor.
If, after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer, its
agent or authorized dealer or its delegate is unable to conform
the motor vehicle to any express warranty by repairing or
correcting any defect or condition covered by the warranty which
substantially impairs the use, market value, or safety of the
motor vehicle to the consumer, the manufacturer shall, at the
option of the consumer within 30 days of the effective date of
the board's order, replace the motor vehicle with a new motor
vehicle from the same manufacturer, if available, of comparable
worth to the same make and model with all options and
accessories with appropriate adjustments being allowed for any
model year differences or shall accept return of the vehicle
from the consumer and refund to the consumer the full purchase
price or to the lessee, in the case of leased vehicles, as
provided in paragraph IX. In those instances in which a refund
is tendered, the manufacturer shall refund to the consumer the
full purchase price as indicated in the purchase contract and
all credits and allowances for any trade-in or down payment,
license fees, finance charges, credit charges, registration
fees, and any similar charges and incidental and consequential
damages or, in the case of leased vehicles, as provided in
paragraph IX. Refunds shall be made to the consumer and lien
holder, if any, as their interests may appear, or to the motor
vehicle lessor and lessee as provided in paragraph IX. A
reasonable allowance for use shall be that amount directly
attributable to use by the consumer prior to the first repair
attempt and shall be calculated by multiplying the full purchase
price of the vehicle by a fraction having as its denominator
100,000, or for a motorcycle with an engine size of 250 cubic
centimeters or smaller 20,000, or for a motorcycle with an
engine size greater than 250 cubic centimeters 40,000, and
having as its numerator the number of miles that the vehicle
traveled prior to the first attempt at repairing the vehicle.
It shall be an affirmative defense to any claim under this
chapter that an alleged nonconformity does not substantially
impair the use, market value, or safety or that the
nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized
modifications or alterations of a motor vehicle by a consumer.
It shall be presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have
been undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to the applicable
The same nonconformity as identified in any written examination
or repair order has been subject to repair at least 3 times by
the manufacturer, its agent, or authorized dealer within the
express warranty term and the same nonconformity continues to
The vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of one or more
nonconformities, defects, or conditions for a cumulative total
of 30 or more business days during the term of the express
warranty. The term of any warranty and the 30-day period shall
be extended by any period of time during which repair services
were not available to the consumer because of war, invasion,
strike, fire, flood, or other natural disaster. If an extension
of time is necessitated due to these conditions, the
manufacturer shall provide for the free use of a vehicle to the
consumer whose vehicle is out of service. A vehicle shall not be
deemed out of service if it is available to the consumer for a
major part of the day.
In order for an attempt at repair to qualify for the
presumptions of this section, the attempt at repair shall be
evidenced by a written examination or repair order issued by the
manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer. The
presumptions of this section shall only apply to 3 attempts at
repair evidenced by written examination or repair orders
undertaken by the same agent or authorized dealer, unless the
consumer shows good cause for taking the vehicle to a different
agent or authorized dealer.
In cases in which a refund is tendered by a manufacturer for a
leased motor vehicle under paragraph V, the refund and rights of
the motor vehicle lessor, lessee, and manufacturer shall be in
accordance with the following:
The manufacturer shall provide to the lessee the aggregate
deposit and rental payments previously paid to the motor vehicle
lessor by the lessee, and incidental and consequential damages,
if applicable, minus a reasonable allowance for use. The
aggregate deposit shall include, but not be limited to, all cash
payments and trade-in allowances tendered by the lessee to the
motor vehicle lessor under the lease agreement. The reasonable
allowance for use shall be calculated by multiplying the
aggregate deposit and rental payments made by the lessee on the
motor vehicle by a fraction having as its denominator 100,000 or
for a motorcycle 20,000, and having as its numerator the number
of miles that the vehicle traveled prior to the first attempt to
repair the vehicle.
The manufacturer shall provide to the motor vehicle lessor the
aggregate of the following:
The lessor's actual purchase cost, less payments made by the
The freight cost, if applicable;
The cost for dealer or manufacturer-installed accessories, if
Any fee paid to another to obtain the lease;
An amount equal to 5 percent of the lessor's actual purchase
cost as prescribed in subparagraph IX(b)(1). The amount in this
subparagraph shall be instead of any early termination costs.
The lessee's lease agreement with the motor vehicle lessor and
all contractual obligations shall be terminated upon a decision
of the board in favor of the lessee. The lessee shall not be
liable for any further costs or charges to the manufacturer or
motor vehicle lessor under the lease agreement.
The motor vehicle lessor shall release the motor vehicle title
to the manufacturer upon the payment by the manufacturer under
the provisions of this section.
The board shall give notice to the motor vehicle lessor of the
lessee's filing of a request for arbitration under this chapter
and shall notify the motor vehicle lessor of the date, time and
place scheduled for a hearing before the board. The motor
vehicle lessor shall provide testimony and evidence necessary to
the arbitration proceedings. Any decision of the board shall be
binding upon the motor vehicle lessor.
Procedure to Obtain Refund or Replacement.
After the third attempt at repair or correction of the
nonconformity, defect or condition, or after the vehicle is out
of service by reason of repair of one or more nonconformities,
defects or conditions for a cumulative total of 30 or more
business days as provided in this chapter, the consumer shall
notify the manufacturer along with a clear and conspicuous
disclosure notice of the rights of the consumer under this
chapter at the time the new motor vehicle is delivered, of the
nonconformity, defect or condition and the consumer's election
to proceed under this chapter. The forms shall be made available
by the manufacturer to the New Hampshire new motor vehicle
arbitration board, and any other public or nonprofit agencies
that shall request them. Forms and notices shall be in a form
prescribed by rule of the department of justice and shall not
include window stickers. The consumer shall, in the notice,
elect whether to use the dispute settlement mechanism or the
arbitration provisions established by the manufacturer or to
proceed under the New Hampshire new motor vehicle arbitration
board as established under this chapter. The consumer's election
of whether to proceed before the board or the manufacturer's
dispute settlement mechanism shall preclude his recourse to the
method not selected.
A consumer shall not pursue a remedy under this chapter if he
has discontinued financing or lease payments, if the payments
have been discontinued due to the manufacturer's breach of
obligation under this chapter or due to a breach of the
A consumer who elects to proceed before the board shall pay a
filing fee of $50 and the manufacturer shall pay a filing fee of
$250. Such fees shall be retained by the department of safety
and used to defray costs associated with the work of the board,
including per diem costs of board members and any other
Arbitration of the consumer's complaint, either through the
manufacturer's dispute settlement mechanism or the board, shall
be held within 40 days of receipt by the manufacturer or the
board and the manufacturer of the consumer's notice electing the
remedy of arbitration unless the consumer or the manufacturer
has good cause for an extension of time, not to exceed an
additional 30-day period. If the extension of time is requested
by the manufacturer, the manufacturer shall provide free use of
a vehicle to the consumer if the consumer's vehicle is out of
service. In the event the consumer elects to proceed in
accordance with the manufacturer's dispute settlement mechanism
and the arbitration of the dispute is not held within 40 days of
the manufacturer's receipt of the consumer's notice and the
manufacturer is not able to establish good cause for the delay,
the consumer shall be entitled to receive the relief requested
under this chapter.
Within the 40-day period set forth in paragraph IV, the
manufacturer shall have one final opportunity to correct and
repair the defect which the consumer claims entitles him to a
refund or replacement vehicle. If the consumer is satisfied with
the corrective work done by the manufacturer or his delegate,
the arbitration proceedings shall be terminated without
prejudice to the consumer's right to request that arbitration be
recommended as provided in RSA 357-D:11, I(b) if the repair
The manufacturer shall refund the reasonable allowance provided
for in RSA 357-D:3, V or IX, or make the replacement required by
the board within 30 days of a decision of the board or within 15
days of final adjudication.
New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board Established.
There is created a New Hampshire new motor vehicle arbitration
board consisting of 5 members and 3 alternate members to be
appointed by the governor and council. Terms of members shall be
for 3 years. Board members may be appointed for no more than 2
terms. One member and one alternate of the board shall be new
car dealers in New Hampshire, one member and one alternate shall
be persons knowledgeable in automobile mechanics, and 3 members
and one alternate shall be persons who represent consumers and
have no direct involvement in the design, manufacture,
distributions, sales or service of motor vehicles or their
parts. Three members of the board shall constitute a quorum.
Members shall be paid $50 per diem plus mileage.
The board shall be administratively attached to the department
of safety under RSA 21-G:10.
The board shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, to implement
the provisions of this chapter.
The board shall hold a hearing within 40 days of receipt of a
complaint, unless an extension of time has been granted by the
board under RSA 357-D:4, IV, and shall render a decision within
30 days of the conclusion of a hearing. The board shall have the
authority to issue only damages as are provided by this chapter.
Appeal From Board's Decision.
The decision of the board shall be final and shall not be
modified or vacated unless, on appeal to the superior court, a
party to the arbitration proceeding proves, by clear and
convincing evidence, that:
The award was procured by corruption, fraud or other undue
There was evident partiality by the board or corruption or
misconduct by the board prejudicing the rights of any party.
The board exceeded its powers.
The board refused to postpone a hearing after being shown
sufficient cause to do so, refused to hear evidence material to
the controversy, or otherwise conducted the hearing contrary to
the rules adopted by the board so as to prejudice substantially
the rights of a party.
A party to the arbitration proceeding shall not pursue an appeal
until a final decision has been rendered by the board. Any
appeal shall be filed with the superior court within 30 days of
the date of the written board decision.
Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices.
of the manufacturer or distributor to comply with a decision of
the board shall constitute an unfair or deceptive act or
practice under RSA 358-A:2.
in this chapter imposes any liability on a franchised motor
vehicle dealer or creates a cause of action by a consumer
against a dealer, except for written express warranties made by
the dealer apart from the manufacturer's warranties. A dealer
shall not be made a party defendant in any action involving or
relating to this chapter, except as provided in this section.
The manufacturer shall not charge back or require reimbursement
by the dealer for any costs, including, but not limited to, any
refunds or vehicle replacements, incurred by the manufacturer
arising from this chapter.
Notification to Consumers.
with the model year following July 1, 1992, the manufacturer of
every motor vehicle sold in this state shall provide a clear and
conspicuous written notice of the consumer's rights under this
chapter as provided under RSA 357-D:4 at the time of the
delivery of every such new motor vehicle in this state. The
manufacturer shall provide the consumer with a self-addressed
notice in a form developed in accordance with rules adopted by
the department of justice under RSA 541-A and sufficient to
notify the manufacturer of the consumer's election to proceed
under this chapter. The manufacturer shall not delegate this
responsibility to its authorized dealers. The manufacturer of
every new motor vehicle sold in this state shall also provide a
clear and conspicuous notice that informs consumers of their
rights under this chapter.
Costs and Attorney's Fees.
any action by a consumer against the manufacturer or distributor
of a motor vehicle based upon the alleged breach of an express
warranty made in connection with the sale or lease of such motor
vehicle, the court, in its discretion, may award to the
plaintiff costs and reasonable attorney's fees. If the court
determines that the action was brought with no substantial
justification, it may award costs and reasonable attorney's fees
to the defendant.
Limitations on Actions.
Any proceeding initiated under the provisions of this chapter
shall be commenced within one year following the later of:
The expiration of the express warranty term; or
The manufacturer's final repair attempt of the nonconformity, as
provided in RSA 357-D:4, V which gave rise to the consumer's
request that the vehicle be replaced or the money refunded.
Nothing in this chapter shall in any way limit the rights or
remedies which are otherwise available to a consumer under any
other provision of law.
Sale of Defective Motor Vehicles.
For purposes of this section "a serious safety defect"
means a life-threatening malfunction or nonconformity that
impedes the consumer's ability to control or operate the motor
vehicle for ordinary use or reasonable intended purposes or
creates a risk of fire or explosion.
Any manufacturer or its agent or authorized dealer is prohibited
from reselling in New Hampshire any vehicle determined or
adjudicated by the board as having a serious safety defect.