Louisiana's Lemon Law
The following definitions apply when used in this Chapter:
(1) "Collateral costs" means sales tax, license fees, and registration fees and any similar governmental charges.
(2) "Consumer" means:
(a) The purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, of a new motor vehicle normally used for personal, family, or household purposes and subject to a manufacturer's express warranty.
(b) A person, other than for purposes of resale, to whom a motor vehicle is transferred during the duration of an express warranty applicable to the motor vehicle.
(c) A person to whom a motor vehicle is leased.
(d) Any other person entitled to enforce the warranty.
(3) "Dealer" means a person authorized by the manufacturer and actively engaged in the business of buying, selling, or exchanging new automobiles, new personal watercraft, new all-terrain vehicles, or new motor homes at retail and who has an established place of business.
(4) "Manufacturer" means any person, firm, association, corporation, or trust, resident or nonresident, who manufactures or assembles new and unused motor vehicles.
(5) "Manufacturer's express warranty" and "warranty" mean the written warranty of the manufacturer of a new motor vehicle of its condition and fitness for use, including any terms or conditions precedent to the enforcement of an obligation under that warranty.
(6) "Motor vehicle" means a passenger motor vehicle or a passenger and commercial motor vehicle as defined in R.S. 32:1252(13), sold in this state on or after September 1, 1984. "Motor vehicle" shall include a personal watercraft as defined in R.S. 34:855.2 and an all-terrain vehicle as defined in R.S. 32:771(1), sold in this state or still under warranty on or after August 15, 1999, which is used exclusively for personal and not commercial purposes. "Motor vehicle" shall include the chassis and drive train of a motor home as defined in R.S. 32:1252(12), sold in this state or still under warranty on or after August 15, 1999, which is used exclusively for personal and not commercial purposes. For the purposes of this Chapter, the following motor vehicles are excluded:
(a) Motor vehicles, except for motor homes, 10,000 GVW or above.
(b) Motor vehicles used exclusively for commercial purposes.
(7) "Nonconformity" means any specific or generic defect or malfunction, or any defect or condition which substantially impairs the use, market value or both of a motor vehicle.
Acts 1984, No. 228,§ 1; Acts
1986, No. 553,§ 1; Acts 1999,
No. 933,§ 1; Acts 1999, No. 1048,§
1, eff. July 9, 1999.
§1942. Manufacturer's duty to repair; nonconformity
If a new motor vehicle does not conform to an applicable express warranty, and the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer or any of its authorized motor vehicle dealers and makes the motor vehicle available for repair before the expiration of the warranty or during a period of one year following the date of the original delivery of the motor vehicle to a consumer, whichever is the earlier date, the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer shall make such repairs as are necessary to conform the vehicle to such warranty, notwithstanding the fact that such repairs are made after the expiration of such terms or such one-year period.
Acts 1984, No. 228,§ 1.
§1943. Express warranties; time limit to conform
(1) It shall be presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to the applicable express warranties if the vehicle is out of service by reason of repair for a cumulative total of ninety or more calendar days or the same nonconformity has been subject to repair four or more times by the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer within the warranty term or during a period of one year following the date of the original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer, whichever is the earlier date.
(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, in the case of a motor home, the consumer shall provide written notification to the manufacturer of any of the following:
(i) The need to repair the nonconformity.
(ii) Evidence of a cumulative total of at least ninety days of the motor home being out of service.
(iii) Evidence that the same nonconformity has been subject to repair four or more times by the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer within the warranty term or during a period of one year following the date of the original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer, whichever is the earlier date.
(b) Upon such notification, the manufacturer shall have a final attempt to repair the vehicle. The manufacturer shall have five business days upon receipt of such notification to respond to the consumer as to where the motor home may be delivered for repair. The repair facility shall be one which is authorized by the manufacturer to perform the necessary warranty work.
(c) Once delivered, the repair facility shall have ten business days within which to conform the vehicle to the applicable warranty. The time periods provided for in this Paragraph may only be extended if the consumer authorizes such extension in writing.
(3) If a manufacturer fails to respond to the consumer or to perform the repairs within the time periods described in Paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Subsection, such manufacturer shall be deemed to have waived his rights to a final attempt to cure the nonconformity.
B. The term of an express warranty
shall be extended by any period of
time during which repair services
are not available to the consumer
because of war, invasion, strike,
fire, flood, or natural disaster.
C. The provisions in Subsection A of this Section shall be suspended for any period of time during which repair services cannot be performed by the manufacturer, its agents, or authorized dealer because of war, invasion, strike, fire, flood, or natural disaster.
Acts 1984, No. 228,§ 1; Acts 1999, No. 933,§ 1.
§1944. Motor vehicle replacement or refund
A. If a nonconformity in a motor home has not been repaired within the time periods provided for in R.S. 32:1943(A)(2), or if after four or more attempts within the express warranty term or during a period of one year following the date of the original delivery to the consumer of a motor vehicle which is not a motor home, whichever is the earlier, the nonconformity has not been repaired or if the vehicle is out of service by reason of repair for a cumulative total of ninety or more calendar days during the warranty period, the manufacturer shall:
(1) Replace the motor vehicle with a comparable new motor vehicle, or, at its option,
(2) Accept return of the motor vehicle and refund the full purchase price plus any amounts paid by the consumer at the point of sale, and all collateral costs less a reasonable allowance for use to the consumer, or any holder of a perfected security interest in the motor vehicle, as their interest may appear, if the transaction was a sale.
B. If the transaction is a lease, the provisions of Paragraph (1) of Subsection (A) of this Section are applicable or the manufacturer may, if the lessor is willing, accept return of the motor vehicle and reimburse the lessee for all reasonable expenditures in connection with the lease, and further satisfy all conditions of the lease in connection with early termination and related charges. The lessee shall be liable for a reasonable allowance for use of the vehicle prior to the return thereof.
C. A reasonable allowance for use shall be that amount directly attributable to use by the consumer prior to his first notice of nonconformity to the manufacturer, agent, or dealer and during any subsequent period when the vehicle is not out of service by reason of repair.
D. If a manufacturer has established an informal dispute settlement procedure which substantially complies with the provisions of Title 16, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 703, as from time to time amended, the provisions of Subsections (A), (B) and (C) of this Section concerning refunds or replacement shall not apply to any consumer who has not first resorted to such procedure.
E. The consumer shall have no more than three years from the date he purchased the motor vehicle or until one year from the end of the warranty period, whichever is longer, in which to file suit against the manufacturer to force compliance with the provisions of this Section.
Acts 1984, No. 228,§ 1; Acts 1986, No. 553,§ 1; Acts 1995, No. 1136,§ 1; Acts 1999, No. 933,§ 1.
§1945. Transfer of title; time limitation
At the time of receiving the comparable new motor vehicle or refund under R.S. 51:1944, the consumer, or lessor, where applicable, shall surrender the motor vehicle subject to the nonconformity to the manufacturer together with the certificate of title with all endorsements necessary to transfer title to the manufacturer. The manufacturer shall provide the consumer, or lessor, where applicable, with a comparable new motor vehicle or refund within thirty days after an offer to transfer title in compliance with this Section by the consumer, or lessor, where applicable, or within thirty days after a decision by the informal dispute settlement procedure established by the manufacturer to award a refund or replacement.
Acts 1984, No. 228,§ 1; Acts 1986, No. 553,§ 1.
§1945.1. Mandatory disclosure of nonconformity to warranty by sellers
(1) Upon the sale or transfer of title by a manufacturer, its agent, or any dealer of any second-hand motor vehicle, previously returned to a manufacturer for nonconformity to its warranty pursuant to the requirements of this Chapter, the manufacturer shall execute and deliver to the buyer an instrument in writing in a form prescribed by the commissioner setting forth the following information in ten point, all capital type:
"IMPORTANT: THIS VEHICLE WAS RETURNED TO THE MANUFACTURER OR DEALER BECAUSE IT DID NOT CONFORM TO ITS WARRANTY AND THE DEFECT OR CONDITION WAS NOT FIXED WITHIN THE TIME PROVIDED BY LOUISIANA LAW."
(2) Such notice that a vehicle was returned to the manufacturer because it did not conform to its warranty shall also be conspicuously printed on the motor vehicle's certificate of title.
B. The failure of a dealer to deliver to the buyer the instrument required by this Section shall constitute a violation of this Chapter and shall be punishable by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars for each violation.
Acts 1992, No. 603,§ 1.
§1946. Other remedies
Nothing in this Chapter shall in any way limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a consumer under any other law.
Acts 1984, No. 228,§ 1.
§1947. Attorney fees
If the motor vehicle does not conform to applicable express warranties after the consumer has complied with the requirements of this Chapter, the consumer shall be entitled to reasonable attorney fees actually incurred if a judgment is rendered in part or whole in his favor.
Acts 1985, No. 169,§ 1.
§1948. Manufacturer's duty to provide reimbursement for temporary replacement vehicle; penalties
A. Whenever a motor vehicle which is covered by a manufacturer's express warranty is tendered by a consumer to the dealer from whom it was purchased or exchanged for the repair of any defect, malfunction, or nonconformity to which the warranty is applicable and at least one of the following conditions exists, the manufacturer shall provide directly to the consumer for the duration of the repair period a rental vehicle reimbursement of up to twenty dollars per day:
(1) The repair period exceeds ten work days, including the day on which the motor vehicle is tendered to the dealer for repair.
(2) The defect, malfunction, or nonconformity is the same for which the motor vehicle has been tendered to the dealer for repair on two previous occasions.
B. The provisions of this Section regarding a manufacturer's duty shall extend only for the period of the length of the manufacturer's express warranty or for two years, whichever period of time occurs first.
C. For violations of the provisions of Subsection A, the consumer shall be entitled to recover from the manufacturer for damages incurred and reasonable attorney fees actually incurred; however, in no event shall the amount of damages awarded be less than two hundred dollars. The provisions of this Section will become effective as to cars sold after January 1, 1987, and will not be in effect in case of war, work stoppages, and natural disasters beyond the control of the manufacturer that would prevent the timely repair or parts delivery to a dealer.
D. This Section shall not apply to personal watercraft or all-terrain vehicles tendered to a manufacturer for repair.
E. This Section shall not apply to motor homes tendered to a manufacturer for repair.
Acts 1986, No. 1058,§ 1; Acts 1999, No. 933,§ 1; Acts 1999, No. 1048,§ 1, eff. July 9, 1999.
Magnuson-Moss Warranty-Federal Trade Commission ACT [Top]
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a federal Law that protects the buyer of any product which costs more than $25 and comes with an express written warranty. This law applies to any product that you buy that does not perform as it should.
The Magnuson-Moss Act is a federal law giving consumers considerable rights in dealing with manufacturers and car-dealers of lemon automobiles. This law guarantees a car buyer that certain minimum requirements of warranties must be met, and provides for disclosure of warranties before purchase.
Regarding "lemon cars", this law greatly affects the rights of car buyers. For any product which has a written warranty, if any part of the product, or the product itself is considered defective, the warrantor must permit the buyer the choice of either a refund or replacement of the product.
We have argued successfully to juries that the lemon manufacturers and car-dealers should be given three (3) attempts to fix the defect. Continued attempts to repair beyond the initial three (3) should not be allowed. We call this the "three strikes and you're out" principle.
A consumer may pursue legal action in any court of general jurisdiction in the United States to enforce his rights under the Magnuson-Moss Act. Attorney's fees based on actual time spent will be covered if the consumer prevails.
Due to this particular condition, there is quite a bit of financial pressure on the manufacturer to settle consumer disputes before going to court, as this would keep their expenses down.
UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE [Top]
TARR BABY-The Uniform Commercial Code or UCC has been enacted in all 50 states and some of the territories of the United States. It is the primary source of law in all contracts dealing with the sale of products. The “TARR” refers to Tender, Acceptance, Rejection, Revocation and applies to different aspects of the consumer's "relationship" with the purchased goods.
TENDER-The tender provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code contained in Section 2-601 provide that the buyer is entitled to reject any goods that fail in any respect to conform to the contract. Unfortunately, new cars are often technically complex and their innermost workings are beyond the understanding of the average new car buyer. The buyer, therefore, does not know whether the goods are non-conforming.
ACCEPTANCE-The new car buyer accepts the goods believing and expecting that the manufacturer will repair any problem he has with the goods under the warranty.
REJECTION-The new car buyer may discover a problem with the vehicle within the first few miles of his purchase. This would allow the new car buyer to reject the goods. If the new car buyer discovers a defect in the car within a reasonable time of inspecting the vehicle, he may reject the vehicle. This period is not defined. On the one hand, the buyer must be given a reasonable time to inspect and that reasonable time to inspect will be held as an acceptance of the vehicle. The courts will decide this reasonable time to inspect based on the knowledge and experience of the buyer, the difficulty in discovering the defect, and the opportunity to discover the defect.
REVOCATION- What happens when the consumer has used the new car for a lengthy period of time? This is the typical lemon car case. The UCC provides that a buyer may revoke his acceptance of goods whose non-conformity substantially impairs the value of the goods to him when he has accepted the goods without discovery of a non-conformity because it was difficult to discover or if he was assured that non-conformities would be repaired. Of course, the average new car buyer does not learn of the non-conformity until hundreds of thousands of miles later. And because quality is job one, and manufacturers are competing on the basis of their warranties, the consumer is always assured that any non-conformities he does discover will be remedied.
Note: The author of the sections on the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the Uniform Commercial Code is T. Michael Flynn of www.defect.com.