chapter may be cited as the Virginia Motor Vehicle Warranty
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.
used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the
charges" means any sales-related or lease-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. If a
refund involves a lease, "collateral charges" means,
in addition to any of the above, capitalized cost reductions,
credits and allowances for any trade-in vehicles, fees to
another to obtain the lease, and insurance or other costs
expended by the lessor for the benefit of the lessee.
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
or lease with an offset from this value for a reasonable
allowance for its use.
means the purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, or the
lessee, 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.
damages" shall have the same meaning as provided in
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.
means a security interest in a motor vehicle.
holder" means a person, partnership, association,
corporation or entity with a security interest in a motor
vehicle pursuant to a lien.
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
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
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 leased vehicles with which a warranty was issued.
vehicle dealer" shall have the same meaning as provided in
means a failure to conform with a warranty, a defect or a
condition, including those that do not affect the drivability of
the vehicle, which significantly impairs the use, market value,
or safety of a motor vehicle.
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
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.
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.
impairment" means to render the new motor vehicle unfit,
unreliable or unsafe for ordinary use or reasonable intended
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 or lease 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.
Conformity to all warranties.
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
59.1-207.13 Nonconformity of motor vehicles.
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 drivability 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
Replace the motor vehicle with a comparable motor vehicle
acceptable to the consumer, or
Accept return of the motor vehicle and refund to the consumer,
lessor, and any lien holder as their interest may appear the
full contract 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. Refunds or replacements shall be made to
the consumer, lessor or lien holder, if any, as their interests
may appear. 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.
In the case of a replacement of or refund for a leased vehicle,
in addition to any other damages provided in this chapter, the
motor vehicle shall be returned to the manufacturer and the
consumer's written lease shall be terminated by the lessor
without penalty to the consumer. The lessor shall transfer title
to the manufacturer as necessary to effectuate the consumer's
rights pursuant to this chapter, whether the consumer chooses
vehicle replacement or a refund.
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:
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;
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; or
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.
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.
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 a 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
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.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit or impair
the rights and remedies of a consumer under any other law.
It is an affirmative defense to any claim under this chapter
An alleged nonconformity does not significantly impair the use,
market value, or safety of the motor vehicle; or
A nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized
modification or alteration of a motor vehicle by a consumer.
Action to enforce provisions of chapter.
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.
Informal dispute settlement procedure.
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
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.
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 attorney's fees.
Action to be brought within certain time.
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.
Disclosure of returned vehicles; penalty.
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.
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.
Any manufacturer or distributor who violates this section of the
Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act shall be guilty of a
Class 3 misdemeanor.