Title 59.1, Chapter 17.3, §59.1-207.9 - §59.1-207.16
This chapter may be cited as the Virginia Motor Vehicle Warranty
(1984, c. 773.)
The General Assembly recognizes that a motor vehicle is a major
consumer purchase, and there is no doubt that a defective motor
vehicle creates a hardship for the consumer. It is the intent of
the General Assembly that a good faith motor vehicle warranty complaint
by a consumer should be resolved by the manufacturer, or its agent,
within a specified period of time. It is further the intent of the
General Assembly to provide the statutory procedures whereby a consumer
may receive a replacement motor vehicle, or a full refund, for a
motor vehicle which cannot be brought into conformity with the express
warranty issued by the manufacturer. However, nothing in this chapter
shall in any way limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise
available to a consumer under any other law.
(1984, c. 773.)
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following
"Collateral charges" means any sales-related charges including
but not limited to sales tax, license fees, registration fees, title
fees, finance charges and interest, transportation charges, dealer
preparation charges or any other charges for service contracts,
undercoating, rust proofing or installed options, not recoverable
from a third party.
"Comparable motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle that is identical
or reasonably equivalent to the motor vehicle to be replaced, as
the motor vehicle to be replaced existed at the time of purchase
with an offset from this value for a reasonable allowance for its
"Consumer" means the purchaser, other than for purposes of resale,
of a motor vehicle used in substantial part for personal, family,
or household purposes, and any person to whom such motor vehicle
is transferred for the same purposes during the duration of any
warranty applicable to such motor vehicle, and any other person
entitled by the terms of such warranty to enforce the obligations
of the warranty.
"Incidental damages" shall have the same meaning as provided in
"Lemon law rights period" means the period ending eighteen months
after the date of the original delivery to the consumer of a new
motor vehicle. This shall be the period during which the consumer
can report any nonconformity to the manufacturer and pursue any
rights provided for under this chapter.
"Lien" means a security interest in a motor vehicle.
"Lienholder" means a person, partnership, association, corporation
or entity with a security interest in a motor vehicle pursuant to
"Manufacturer" means a person, partnership, association, corporation
or entity engaged in the business of manufacturing or assembling
motor vehicles, or of distributing motor vehicles to motor vehicle
"Manufacturer's express warranty" means the written warranty,
so labeled, of the manufacturer of a new automobile, including any
terms or conditions precedent to the enforcement of obligations
under that warranty.
"Motor vehicle" means only passenger cars, pickup or panel trucks,
motorcycles, self-propelled motorized chassis of motor homes and
mopeds as those terms are defined in § 46.2-100 and demonstrators
or lease purchase vehicles with which a warranty was issued.
"Motor vehicle dealer" shall have the same meaning as provided
in § 46.2-1500.
"Nonconformity" means a failure to conform with a warranty, a
defect or a condition, including those that do not affect the driveability
of the vehicle, which significantly impairs the use, market value,
or safety of a motor vehicle.
"Notify" or "notification" means that the manufacturer shall be
deemed to have been notified under this chapter if a written complaint
of the defect or defects has been mailed to it or it has responded
to the consumer in writing regarding a complaint, or a factory representative
has either inspected the vehicle or met with the consumer or an
authorized dealer regarding the nonconformity.
"Reasonable allowance for use" shall not exceed one-half of the
amount allowed per mile by the Internal Revenue Service, as provided
by regulation, revenue procedure, or revenue ruling promulgated
pursuant to § 162 of the Internal Revenue Code, for use of a personal
vehicle for business purposes, plus an amount to account for any
loss to the fair market value of the vehicle resulting from damage
beyond normal wear and tear, unless the damage resulted from nonconformity
to any warranty.
"Serious safety defect" means a life-threatening malfunction or
nonconformity that impedes the consumer's ability to control or
operate the new motor vehicle for ordinary use or reasonable intended
purposes or creates a risk of fire or explosion.
"Significant impairment" means to render the new motor vehicle
unfit, unreliable or unsafe for ordinary use or reasonable intended
"Warranty" means any implied warranty or any written warranty
of the manufacturer, or any affirmations of fact or promise made
by the manufacturer in connection with the sale of a motor vehicle
that become part of the basis of the bargain. The term "warranty"
pertains to the obligations of the manufacturer in relation to materials,
workmanship, and fitness of a motor vehicle for ordinary use or
reasonable intended purposes throughout the duration of the lemon
law rights period as defined under this section.
(1984, c. 773; 1988, c. 603; 1990, c. 772; 1998, c. 671.)
Conformity to all warranties
If a new motor vehicle does not conform to all warranties, and
the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, its
agents, or its authorized dealer during the manufacturer's warranty
period, the manufacturer, its agent or its authorized dealer shall
make such repairs as are necessary to conform the vehicle to such
warranties, notwithstanding the fact that such repairs are made
after the expiration of such manufacturer's warranty period.
(1984, c. 773; 1988, c. 603.)
Nonconformity of motor vehicles
A. If the manufacturer, its agents or authorized dealers do not
conform the motor vehicle to any applicable warranty by repairing
or correcting any defect or condition, including those that do not
affect the driveability of the vehicle, which significantly impairs
the use, market value, or safety of the motor vehicle to the consumer
after a reasonable number of attempts during the lemon law rights
period, the manufacturer shall:
1. Replace the motor vehicle with a comparable motor vehicle acceptable
to the consumer, or
2. Accept return of the motor vehicle and refund to the consumer
and any lienholder as their interest may appear the full purchase
price, including all collateral charges, incidental damages, less
a reasonable allowance for the consumer's use of the vehicle up
to the date of the first notice of nonconformity that is given to
the manufacturer, its agents or authorized dealer. The consumer
shall have the unconditional right to choose a refund rather than
a replacement vehicle and to drive the motor vehicle until he receives
either the replacement vehicle or the refund. The subtraction of
a reasonable allowance for use shall apply to either a replacement
or refund of the motor vehicle. Mileage, expenses, and reasonable
loss of use necessitated by attempts to conform such motor vehicle
to the express warranty may be recovered by the consumer.
B. It shall be presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have
been undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to any warranty and that
the motor vehicle is significantly impaired if during the period
of eighteen months following the date of original delivery of the
motor vehicle to the consumer either:
1. The same nonconformity has been subject to repair three or
more times by the manufacturer, its agents or its authorized dealers
and the same nonconformity continues to exist;
2. The nonconformity is a serious safety defect and has been subject
to repair one or more times by the manufacturer, its agent or its
authorized dealer and the same nonconformity continues to exist;
3. The motor vehicle is out of service due to repair for a cumulative
total of thirty calendar days, unless such repairs could not be
performed because of conditions beyond the control of the manufacturer,
its agents or authorized dealers, including war, invasion, strike,
fire, flood or other natural disasters.
C. The lemon law rights period shall be extended if the manufacturer
has been notified but the nonconformity has not been effectively
repaired by the manufacturer, or its agent, by the expiration of
the lemon law rights period.
D. The manufacturer shall clearly and conspicuously disclose to
the consumer, in the warranty or owner's manual, that written notification
of the nonconformity to the manufacturer is required before the
consumer may be eligible for refund or replacement of the vehicle
under this chapter. The manufacturer shall include with the warranty
or owner's manual the name and address to which the consumer shall
send such written notification.
E. It shall be the responsibility of the consumer, or his representative,
prior to availing himself of the provisions of this section, to
notify the manufacturer of the need for the correction or repair
of the nonconformity, unless the manufacturer has been notified
as defined in § 59.1-207.11. If the manufacturer or factory representative
has not been notified of the conditions set forth in subsection
B of this section and any of the conditions set forth in subsection
B of this section already exists, the manufacturer shall be given
an additional opportunity, not to exceed fifteen days, to correct
or repair the nonconformity. If notification shall be mailed to
an authorized dealer, the authorized dealer shall upon receipt forward
such notification to the manufacturer.
F. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit or impair
the rights and remedies of a consumer under any other law.
G. It is an affirmative defense to any claim under this chapter
1. An alleged nonconformity does not significantly impair the
use, market value, or safety of the motor vehicle; or
2. A nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized
modification or alteration of a motor vehicle by a consumer.
(1984, c. 773; 1987, c. 607; 1988, c. 603; 1990, c. 772; 1998,
Action to enforce provisions of chapter
Any consumer who suffers loss by reason of a violation of any
provision of this chapter may bring a civil action to enforce such
provision. Any consumer who is successful in such an action or any
defendant in any frivolous action brought by a consumer shall recover
reasonable attorney's fees, expert witness fees and court costs
incurred by bringing such actions.
A. If a manufacturer provides an informal dispute settlement procedure,
it shall be the consumer's choice whether or not to use it prior
to availing himself of his rights under this chapter.
B. If a dispute settlement procedure is resorted to by the consumer
and the decision is for a refund or a comparable motor vehicle,
the manufacturer shall have forty days from its receipt of the consumer's
acceptance of the decision or from the date of a court order to
comply with the terms of the decision.
C. In any action brought because of the manufacturer's failure
to comply with the decision, within the scope of the procedure's
authority, rendered as a result of a dispute resolution proceeding
or a court order, the court may triple the value of the award stipulated
in the decision as provided for in this chapter, plus award other
equitable relief the court deems appropriate, including additional
(1988, c. 603; 1990, c. 772.)
Action to be brought within certain time
Any action brought under this chapter shall be commenced within
the lemon law rights period following the date of original delivery
of the motor vehicle to the consumer; however, any consumer whose
good faith attempts to settle the dispute have not resulted in the
satisfactory correction or repair of the nonconformity, replacement
of the motor vehicle or refund to the consumer of the amount described
in subdivision 2 of subsection A of § 59.1-207.13, shall have twelve
months from the date of the final action taken by the manufacturer
in its dispute settlement procedure or within the lemon law rights
period, whichever is longer, to file an action in the proper court,
provided the consumer has rejected the manufacturer's final action.
(1988, c. 603; 1990, c. 772; 1999, c. 387.)
Disclosure of returned vehicles; penalty.
A. If a motor vehicle that is returned to the manufacturer or
distributor either under this chapter or by judgment, decree, or
arbitration award in this or any other state and is then transferred
by a manufacturer or distributor to a dealer, licensed under Chapter
15 (§ 46.2-1500 et seq.) of Title 46.2, in Virginia, the manufacturer
or distributor shall disclose this information to the Virginia dealer.
B. If the returned vehicle is then made available for resale or
for another lease, the manufacturer shall, prior to sale or lease,
disclose in writing in a clear and conspicuous manner, on a separate
piece of paper in ten-point capital type, to the Virginia dealer
that this motor vehicle was returned to the manufacturer, distributor
or factory branch, the nature of the defect which resulted in the
return, and the condition of the motor vehicle at the time of transfer
to the Virginia dealer. It shall be the responsibility of the dealer
that receives this disclosure to give notice of its contents to
any prospective purchaser or lessee prior to sale or lease, and
to transfer the disclosure, or a copy thereof, to the next purchaser
or lessee. A dealer's responsibility under this section shall cease
upon the sale or lease of the affected motor vehicle to the first
purchaser or lessee not for resale or lease.
C. Any manufacturer or distributor who violates this section of
the Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act shall be guilty of a
Class 3 misdemeanor.