As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the respective
meanings as indicated:
The purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, of a new or
previously untitled motor vehicle used in substantial part for
personal, family, or household purposes, and any other person
entitled by the terms of such warranty to enforce the obligations
of the warranty.
(2) Motor vehicle.
Every vehicle intended primarily for use and operation on the
public highways which is self-propelled; provided, however, that
the term "motor vehicle" shall not apply to motor homes or to
any motor vehicle having a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight
rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or more.
The person, firm, or corporation engaged in the business of
manufacturing, importing and/or distributing motor vehicles to
be made available to a motor vehicle dealer for retail sale.
(4) Motor vehicle dealer or Authorized dealer.
The person, firm, or corporation operating under a dealer agreement
from a manufacturer, importer, or distributor and who is engaged
regularly in the business of buying, selling or exchanging motor
vehicles in this state and who has in this state an established
place of business.
(5) Express warranty.
A written warranty, so labeled, issued by the manufacturer of
a new motor vehicle, including any terms or conditions precedent
to the enforcement of obligations under that warranty.
(6) Nonconforming condition.
Any condition of a motor vehicle which shall not be in conformity
with the terms of any express warranty issued by the manufacturer
to a consumer and which: (i) significantly impairs the use, value
or safety of the motor vehicle and (ii) occurs or arises solely
in the course of the ordinary use of the motor vehicle, and which
does not arise or occur as a result of abuse, neglect, modification,
or alteration of the motor vehicle not authorized by the manufacturer,
nor from any accident or other damage to the motor vehicle which
occurs or arises after such motor vehicle was delivered by an
authorized dealer to the consumer.
(7) Notice of a nonconforming condition.
A written statement which shall be delivered to the manufacturer
and which shall describe the subject motor vehicle, the nonconforming
condition, and shall describe all previous attempts to correct
such nonconforming condition by identifying the person, firm or
corporation who or which made such attempt, and the time when
such attempt was made.
(8) Lemon law rights period.
The period ending one year after the date of the original delivery
of a motor vehicle to a consumer or the first 12,000 miles of
operation, whichever first occurs.
Obligations of manufacturer.
(a) If a new motor vehicle does not conform to any applicable
express warranty, and the consumer delivers the motor vehicle to
the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer, and gives
notice of the nonconforming condition during the lemon law rights
period, the manufacturer of the motor vehicle shall be obligated
to make such repairs to the motor vehicle as shall be necessary
to remedy any nonconforming condition thereof. Such repairs shall
be required even after the expiration of the lemon law rights period
provided that notice of the nonconforming condition was first given
during the lemon law rights period and provided further that the
manufacturer's obligation to repair the nonconforming condition
shall not extend beyond the period of 24 months following delivery
of the vehicle or 24,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
(b) If, after reasonable attempts, the manufacturer, its agent,
or its authorized dealer is unable to conform the motor vehicle
to any express warranty by repairing or correcting a nonconforming
condition of the motor vehicle which first occurred during the lemon
law rights period, the manufacturer shall, at the option of the
consumer, replace the motor vehicle with a comparable new motor
vehicle or shall accept return of the vehicle from the consumer
and refund to the consumer the following:
(1) The full contract price including, but not limited to, charges
for undercoating, dealer preparation and transportation charges,
and installed options, plus the nonrefundable portions of extended
warranties and service contracts;
(2) All collateral charges, including but not limited to, sales
tax, license and registration fees, and similar government charges;
(3) All finance charges incurred by the consumer after he first
reported the nonconformity to the manufacturer, its agent, or
its authorized dealer; and
(4) Any incidental damages which shall include the reasonable
cost of alternative transportation during the period that the
consumer is without the use of the motor vehicle because of the
nonconforming condition. There shall be offset against any monetary
recovery of the consumer a reasonable allowance for the consumer's
use of the vehicle. Refunds shall be made to the consumer, and
any lien holders, as their interests may appear. A reasonable
allowance for use is that amount directly attributable to use
by the consumer before his first report of the nonconformity to
the manufacturer, agent, or authorized dealer, and must be calculated
by multiplying the full purchase price of the motor vehicle by
a fraction having as its denominator 100,000 and having as its
numerator the number of miles that the vehicle travelled before
the first report of nonconformity.
(c) It shall be presumed that reasonable attempts to correct a
nonconforming condition have been allowed by the consumer if, during
the period of 24 months following delivery of the vehicle or 24,000
miles, whichever first occurs, either of the following events shall
(1) The same nonconforming condition has been subject to repair
attempts three or more times by the manufacturer, its agents or
its authorized dealers, at least one of which occurred during
the lemon law rights period, plus a final attempt by the manufacturer,
and the same nonconforming condition continues to exist; or
(2) The motor vehicle is out of service and in the custody of
the manufacturer, its agent, or an authorized dealer due to repair
attempts (including the final repair attempt), one of which occurred
during the lemon law rights period, for a cumulative total of
30 calendar days, unless such repair could not be performed because
of conditions beyond the control of the manufacturer, its agents
or authorized dealers, such as war, invasion, strike, fire, flood,
or other natural disaster.
Cause of action against manufacturer.
(a) A consumer sustaining damages as a proximate consequence of
the failure by a manufacturer to perform its obligations imposed
under this chapter may bring a civil action against the manufacturer
to enforce the provisions of this chapter. Prior to the commencement
of any such proceeding a consumer must give notice of a nonconforming
condition by certified United States mail to the manufacturer and
demand correction or repair of the nonconforming condition. If at
the time such notice of a nonconforming condition is given to the
manufacturer, a presumption has arisen that reasonable attempts
to correct a nonconforming condition have been allowed, the manufacturer
shall be given a final opportunity to cure the nonconforming condition.
The manufacturer shall within seven calendar days of receiving the
written notice of nonconforming condition notify the consumer of
a reasonably accessible repair facility. After delivery of the new
vehicle to the authorized repair facility by the consumer, the manufacturer
shall attempt to correct the nonconforming condition and conform
the vehicle to the express warranty within a period not to exceed
14 calendar days. If a manufacturer has established an informal
dispute settlement procedure which is in compliance with federal
rules and regulations, a consumer must first exhaust any remedy
afforded to the consumer under the informal dispute procedure of
the manufacturer before a cause of action may be instituted under
the provisions of this chapter.
(b) It shall be an affirmative defense to any claim against the
manufacturer under this chapter that: (i) an alleged nonconforming
condition does not significantly impair the use, market value, or
safety of the motor vehicle; or (ii) a nonconforming condition is
a result of abuse, neglect, or any modification or alteration of
a motor vehicle by a consumer that is not authorized by the manufacturer.
(c) If it is determined that the manufacturer has breached its
obligations imposed under this chapter, then the consumer shall
be entitled to recover, in addition to the remedy provided under
Section 8-20A-2 above, an additional award for reasonable attorneys
Resale of returned motor vehicle.
If a motor vehicle has been returned to the manufacturer under
the provisions of this chapter or a similar statute of another state,
whether as the result of a legal action or as the result of an informal
dispute settlement proceeding, it may not be resold in this state
(1) The manufacturer discloses in writing to the subsequent
purchaser the fact that the motor vehicle was returned under the
provisions of this chapter and the nature of the nonconformity
to the vehicle warranty.
(2) The manufacturer returns the title of the motor vehicle
to the Alabama Department of Revenue advising of the return of
the motor vehicle under provisions of this chapter with an application
for title in the name of the manufacturer. The Department of Revenue
shall brand the title issued to the manufacturer and all subsequent
titles to the motor vehicle with the following statement:
THIS VEHICLE WAS RETURNED TO THE MANUFACTURER BECAUSE IT DID
NOT CONFORM TO ITS WARRANTY.
No dealership liability.
Nothing in this chapter imposes any liability upon a motor vehicle
dealer or authorized dealer or creates a cause of action by a consumer
against a motor vehicle dealer or authorized dealer. A motor vehicle
dealer or authorized dealer may not be made a party defendant in
any action involving or relating to this chapter. The manufacturer
shall not charge back or require reimbursement by a motor vehicle
dealer or authorized dealer for any costs, including, but not limited
to, any refunds or vehicle replacements, incurred by the manufacturer
arising out of this chapter.
Statute of limitations.
Any action brought under this chapter against the manufacturer
shall be commenced within three years following the date of original
delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer.
NOTE: Alabama law does not provide for a "lemon law board" as
in many other states. You may call the Alabama Bar Association at
(800) 392-5660 to obtain a list of attorneys that specialize in