following words and phrases which are used in this chapter
shall, for the purposes of this chapter, have the following
"Consumer" means a buyer, other than for purposes of
resale, of a motor vehicle, any person to whom that motor
vehicle is transferred for the same purposes during the duration
of any express or implied warranty applicable to that motor
vehicle, and any other person entitled by the terms of that
warranty to enforce its obligations.
"Dealer" means any person engaged in the business of
selling, offering to sell, soliciting, or advertising the sale
of new motor vehicles.
"Lease price" means the aggregate of:
Lessor's actual purchase costs.
Collateral charges, if applicable.
Any fee paid to another to obtain the lease.
Any insurance or other costs expended by the lessor for the
benefit of the lessee.
An amount equal to state and local sales taxes not otherwise
included as collateral charges, paid by the lessor when the
vehicle was initially purchased.
An amount equal to five percent (5%) of the lessor's actual
"Lessee" means any consumer who leases a motor vehicle
for one year or more pursuant to a written lease agreement which
provides that the lessee is responsible for repairs to such
motor vehicle or any consumer who leases a motor vehicle
pursuant to a lease-purchase agreement.
"Lessee cost" means the aggregate deposit and rental
payments previously paid to the lessor for the leased vehicle.
"Lessor" means a person who holds title to a motor
vehicle leased to a lessee under a written lease agreement or
who holds the lessor's rights under such agreement.
"Manufacturer" means any person, partnership, firm,
association, corporation, or trust, resident or nonresident,
which is engaged in the business of manufacturing or assembling
new motor vehicles, or which is engaged in the business of
importing new motor vehicles which are manufactured or assembled
outside of the United States.
"Motor vehicle" or "vehicle" means an
automobile, truck, motorcycle, or van having a registered gross
vehicle weight of less than ten thousand pounds (10,000 lbs.),
sold, leased, or replaced by a dealer or manufacturer after May
11, 1984, except that it shall not include a motorized camper as
defined in 31-1-3(q).
"Nonconformity" means any specific or generic defect
or malfunction, or any concurrent combination of such defects or
malfunctions, that substantially impairs the use, market value,
or safety of a motor vehicle.
"Term of protection" means one year or fifteen
thousand (15,000) miles of use from the date of original
delivery of a new motor vehicle to the consumer, whichever comes
first; or, in the case of a replacement vehicle provided by a
manufacturer to a consumer under this chapter, one year or
fifteen thousand (15,000) miles from the date of delivery to the
consumer of that replacement vehicle, whichever comes first.
Manufacturers' obligation to fulfill warranties.
a motor vehicle does not conform to any applicable express or
implied warranties, including, but not limited to, the implied
warranty of merchantability as defined in 6A-2-314 and the
implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose as defined
in 6A-2-315, and the consumer or lessee reports the
nonconformity to the manufacturer of the vehicle, its agent, or
its authorized dealer or lessor during the term of protection,
the manufacturer, its agent or its authorized dealer shall
effect such repairs as are necessary to conform the vehicle to
the warranty, notwithstanding the fact that those repairs are
made after the expiration of the term.
Replacement of nonconforming vehicle.
If the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer or
lessor does not conform the motor vehicle to any applicable
express or implied warranty by curing any nonconformity after a
reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer shall accept
return of the vehicle from the consumer or lessee and, at the
consumer's or lessee's option, refund the full contract price or
lease price of the vehicle including all credits and allowances
for any trade-in vehicle, less a reasonable allowance for use,
or replace it with a comparable new motor vehicle in good
working order. A manufacturer replacing a motor vehicle shall
have thirty (30) calendar days from the date of return of the
motor vehicle under the provisions of this chapter to deliver a
comparable motor vehicle. If, within that thirty (30) days, no
comparable motor vehicle has been delivered, the manufacturer
shall refund the full contract price or lease price less a
reasonable allowance for use. In instances in which a vehicle is
replaced by a manufacturer under the provisions of this chapter,
the manufacturer shall reimburse the consumer or lessee for any
fees for the transfer of registration or any sales tax incurred
by the consumer or lessee as a result of that replacement. In
instances in which a vehicle which was financed by the
manufacturer or its subsidiary or agent is replaced under the
provisions of this chapter, the manufacturer, subsidiary, or
agent shall not require the consumer or lessee to enter into any
refinancing agreement with an interest rate or other financial
terms which are less favorable to the consumer or lessee than
those stated in the original financing agreement. In instances
in which a refund is tendered under the provisions of this
chapter, the manufacturer shall also reimburse the consumer or
lessee for incidental costs including sales tax, registration
fee, finance charges, and any cost of non-removable options
added by an authorized dealer or lessor. Whenever a vehicle is
replaced or refunded under the provisions of this chapter, in
instances in which towing services and rental vehicles of
comparable year and size were not made available at no cost to
the consumer or lessee, the manufacturer shall also reimburse
the consumer or lessee for towing and reasonable rental costs
that were a direct result of vehicle nonconformity. Refunds
shall be made to the consumer or lessee and to the lien holder,
if any, as their interests may appear. A reasonable allowance
for use shall be obtained by multiplying the total contract
price or lessee cost of the vehicle by a fraction having as its
denominator one hundred thousand (100,000) and having as its
numerator the number of miles that the vehicle traveled prior to
the consumer's first report of the nonconformity to the
manufacturer, its agent, or its dealer or lessor plus the number
of miles that it traveled during any subsequent period when the
vehicle was not out of service by reason of repair. A consumer
or lessee shall have the option of retaining the use of any
vehicle returned under the provisions of this chapter until such
time as the consumer or lessee has been tendered a full refund
or replacement vehicle acceptable to the consumer or lessee. The
use of any vehicle retained by a consumer or lessee after its
return to a manufacturer under the provisions of this chapter
shall, in instances in which a refund is tendered, be reflected
in the above mentioned reasonable allowance for use.
If applicable, refunds shall be made to the lessor and lessee as
their interests may appear on the records of ownership as
follows: the lessee shall receive the lessee cost and the lessor
shall receive the lease price less the aggregate deposit and
rental payments previously paid to the lessor for the leased
vehicle. If it is determined that the lessee is entitled to a
refund pursuant to this chapter, the consumer's lease agreement
with the lessor shall be terminated upon payment of the refund
and no penalty for early termination shall be assessed.
shall be an affirmative defense to any claim under this section:
that an alleged nonconformity does not substantially impair the
use, market value, or safety of the vehicle, or
that a nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect, or
unauthorized substantial modification or alteration of the
vehicle by the consumer or lessee.
Time allowed for correction of nonconformity.
A reasonable number of attempts shall be presumed to have been
undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to any applicable express
or implied warranties if:
the same nonconformity has been subject to repair four (4) or
more times by the manufacturer or its agents or authorized
dealers or lessors within the term of protection, but the
nonconformity continues to exist or the nonconformity has
recurred within the term of protection, or
the vehicle is out of service by reason of the repair of any
nonconformity for a cumulative total of thirty (30) or more
calendar days during the term of protection; provided, however,
that the manufacturer shall be afforded one additional
opportunity, not to exceed seven (7) calendar days, to cure any
nonconformity arising during the term of protection,
notwithstanding the fact that the additional opportunity to cure
commences after the term of protection.
The additional opportunity to cure shall commence on the day the
manufacturer first knows or should have known that the limits
specified in subsection (a)(1) or (a)(2) have been met or
exceeded. The term of protection, the thirty (30) calendar day
period specified in subsection (a)(2) and the additional
opportunity to cure shall be extended by any period of time
during which repair services are not available to the consumer
or lessee as a direct result of a war, invasion, fire, flood or
other natural disaster. The term of protection, the thirty (30)
calendar day period and the additional opportunity to cure shall
also be extended by that period of time during which repair
services are not available as a direct result of a strike;
provided, however, that the manufacturer, its agent, or its
authorized dealer or lessor makes provision for the free use of
a vehicle of comparable year and size by any consumer or lessee
whose vehicle is out of service by reason of repair during a
strike. The burden shall be on the manufacturer to show that any
event claimed as a reason for an extension under the provisions
of this section was the direct cause for the failure of the
manufacturer, its agent or lessor, or its authorized dealer to
cure any nonconformity during the time of that event. Extensions
for concurrent events shall not be cumulative.
Rights and remedies cumulative.
in this chapter shall be construed to limit the rights or
remedies which are otherwise available to a consumer or lessee
Informal dispute settlement procedures.
a manufacturer has established an informal dispute settlement
procedure which complies in all respects with the provisions of
title 16, Code of Federal Regulations, part 703, as from time to
time amended, or which has been approved by the federal trade
commission or by the attorney general of this state, the
provisions of 31-5.2-3 concerning refunds or replacement shall
not apply to any consumer or lessee who has not first resorted
to the procedure or the procedure set forth in 31-5.2-7.1. This
section shall not apply unless the manufacturer, its agents, or
its authorized dealer or lessor shall have provided the consumer
or lessee with clear and conspicuous written notice of the
procedure at the time of delivery of the motor vehicle. A
decision resulting from such an informal dispute settlement
procedure shall be binding upon the manufacturer if the consumer
or lessee elects to accept the decision. The manufacturer shall
perform its obligations as set forth in said decision within a
reasonable period of time not to exceed thirty (30) calendar
days from the rendering of the decision. In no event shall a
consumer or lessee who has resorted to an informal dispute
settlement procedure be precluded from seeking the rights and/or
remedies provided by this chapter. Any applicable statute of
limitation including but not limited to that set forth in
31-5.2-12 shall be tolled during the period from the initiation
of a dispute settlement procedure until thirty (30) days
following the rendering of a final decision in said process.
Waiver of rights prohibited.
agreement entered into by a consumer or lessee for the purchase
or lease of a new motor vehicle which waives, limits, or
disclaims the rights set forth in this chapter shall be void as
contrary to public policy. These rights shall inure to a
subsequent transferee of the motor vehicle.
Disclosure of nonconformity prior to resale.
motor vehicle that is returned to the manufacturer under the
provisions of this chapter shall be resold or re-leased in the
state without clear and conspicuous written disclosure to the
prospective purchaser or lessee prior to resale of the fact that
it was so returned due to a nonconformity. The attorney general
shall prescribe the exact form and content of the disclosure
Cause of action.
aggrieved consumer or lessee may bring an action under the Rules
of Civil Procedure in the superior court to enforce the
provisions of this chapter.
court hearing a complaint brought by a consumer or lessee
aggrieved by a violation of this chapter shall award reasonable
attorney's fees to a prevailing plaintiff.
Commencement of action.
action brought pursuant to this chapter shall be commenced
within three (3) years of the date of original delivery of the
motor vehicle to the consumer or lessee or within two (2) years
of the date on which the mileage on the motor vehicle reached
fifteen thousand (15,000) miles, whichever is earlier.
Deceptive trade practice.
manufacturer's failure to comply with any of the provisions of
this chapter shall constitute a deceptive trade practice under
the terms of chapter 13.1 of title 6. All of the public and
private remedies provided for in chapter 13.1 of title 6 shall
be available to enforce the provisions of this chapter.