(1) “Buyer” means any resident person who buys, contracts to buy, or leases a new motor vehicle in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In the case of the lease of a new motor vehicle, “buyer” shall mean the lessor, lessee, or both.
(2) “Manufacturer” means any person or corporation, resident or nonresident, who manufactures or assembles new motor vehicles, including new conversion van manufacturers, which are sold in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
(3) “Motor vehicle” means every vehicle which is self-propelled, and which is intended primarily for use and operation on the public highways and required to be registered or licensed in the Commonwealth prior to such use or operation; however, “motor vehicle” shall not include:
- Any vehicle substantially altered after its initial sale from a dealer to an individual;
- Motor homes;
- Farm tractors and other machines used in the production, harvesting, and care of farm products; or
- Vehicles which have more than two (2) axles.
(4) “New motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle which has been finally and completely assembled and is in the possession of a manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, wholesaler, or an authorized motor vehicle dealer operating under a valid sales and service agreement, franchise, or contract for the sale of such vehicle granted by the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or wholesaler which is, in fact, new and on which the original title has never been issued.
(5) “Express warranty” or “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 the warranty.
(6) “Nonconformity” means a failure to conform with an express warranty in a manner which substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the motor vehicle.
(7) “Reasonable allowance for use” means the amount directly attributable to a consumer’s use of the vehicle other than those time periods when the vehicle is out of service due to the nonconformity.
367.842 Options of buyer if manufacturer unable to repair nonconformity in new motor vehicle — Rights of lienholder — Resolution of disputes — Dealer not liable
(1) If, after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer or its agents are unable to repair the nonconformity in the motor vehicle to the express warranty during the first twelve thousand (12,000) miles of operation or during the first twelve (12) months following the date of delivery to the buyer, whichever is the earlier date, that buyer shall report the nonconformity, in writing, to the manufacturer.
(2) If, within the period specified in subsection (1) of this section, the manufacturer or its agents, are unable to repair or correct any nonconformity or defect that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the motor vehicle, after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer, at the option of the buyer, shall replace the motor vehicle with a comparable motor vehicle, or accept return of the vehicle from the buyer and refund to the buyer the full purchase price. The full purchase price shall include the amount paid for the motor vehicle, finance charge, all sales tax, license fee, registration fee, and any similar governmental charges plus all collateral charges, less a reasonable allowance for the buyer’s use of the vehicle. Refunds shall be made to the buyer and lienholder, if any, as their interests may appear on the records of ownership kept by the Department of Vehicle Regulation. The provisions of this section shall not affect the interests of a lienholder, unless the lienholder consents to the replacement of the lien with a corresponding lien on the automobile accepted by the consumer in exchange for the automobile having a nonconformity, the lienholder shall be paid in full the amount due on the lien, including finance charges and other charges, before an exchange of automobiles or a refund to the consumer is made. It shall be an affirmative defense to any claim under this section that:
- The nonconformity, defect, or condition does not substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the motor vehicle; or
- The nonconformity, defect, or condition is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modification or alteration of the motor vehicle by the buyer.
(3) It shall be presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to the applicable express warranty if, within the first twelve thousand (12,000) miles of operation or during the period of, twelve (12) months following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to the buyer, whichever is the earlier date:
- The same nonconformity, defect, or condition has been subject to repair four (4) or more times by the manufacturer, but such nonconformity, defect, or condition continues to exist; or
- The vehicle is out of service/use by reason of repair of the same nonconformity, defect, or condition for a cumulative total of at least thirty (30) calendar days.
(4) Disputes arising under subsection (2) of this section concerning refund or replacement shall be resolved through the dispute resolution system established under either KRS 367.860 to 367.870, or 16 C.F.R. part 703. Such remedy shall be pursued prior to seeking any judicial relief under KRS 367.843.
(5) Nothing in this chapter may be construed as imposing any liability on a dealer or creating a cause of action by a consumer against a dealer.
(6) Nothing in this section shall in any way limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a buyer under any other law.
(7) Any agreement entered into by a buyer for the purchase of a new motor vehicle which waives, limits, or disclaims the rights set forth in this section shall be void as contrary to public policy.
(8) Any action brought pursuant to this section shall be commenced within two (2) years after the date of original delivery of the new motor vehicle to the buyer.
(9) A court may award reasonable attorney’s fees to a prevailing plaintiff.
367.843 Action for relief by purchaser
Any person who purchases a motor vehicle and thereby suffers any ascertainable loss of money or property, real or personal, as a result of a violation of KRS 367.842, may bring an action under the provisions of KRS 367.220 for relief.
367.844 Manufacturer prohibited from exposing franchised dealer to liability
No manufacturer shall, directly or indirectly, by any means or methods, expose or attempt to expose any franchised dealer to liability as forbidden in KRS 367.842(4) and (5). Any violation of this section shall be subject to all applicable provisions of the law, including but not limited to the provisions of KRS 190.062(2).
367.845 Enforcement of provisions of KRS 367.842 to 367.844 by Attorney General
Noncompliance with the provisions of KRS 367.842 to 367.844 by a manufacturer shall be unlawful. The Attorney General shall have authority to enforce KRS 367.842 to 367.844 in accordance with powers provided by KRS 367.190 and 367.230, pertaining to acts declared unlawful by KRS 367.170. Any expenses accruing to the Attorney General from the provisions of KRS 367.842 to 367.844 shall be assessed by his office upon the motor vehicle manufacturer involved in any action cited in the provisions herein.
367.846 Application of KRS 367.840 to 367.845
KRS 367.840 to 367.845 shall apply to new motor vehicles purchased after July 15, 1986, and to motor vehicles leased after July 15, 1998.
Informal Dispute Resolution System
367.860 DEFINITIONS FOR KRS 367.865
As used in KRS 367.865 unless the context requires otherwise:
(1) “Buyer” means any resident person who buys or contracts to buy a new motor vehicle in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
(2) “Manufacturer” means any person, resident or nonresident, who manufactures or assembles new motor vehicles which are sold in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
(3) “Motor vehicle” means any two (2) axle, motor-driven vehicle with at least four (4) wheels which is required to be registered or licensed in the Commonwealth of Kentucky before being operated upon the highways and is used or bought for use primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.
(4) “New motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle which, after its final assembly, is either in the possession of the manufacturer, factory branch or distributor, or an authorized dealer operating under a franchise with the manufacturer, factory branch or distributor, and the legal or equitable title to which has never been the subject of a sale or transfer other than to another dealer operating under a similar franchise with the same manufacturer, factory branch or distributor.
(5) “System” means an informal dispute resolution procedure adopted by each manufacturer to resolve questions of law and fact relating to disputes between the buyer and the manufacturer arising within the first two (2) years or twenty-five thousand (25,000) miles of the buyer’s ownership, whichever occurs first, including but not limited to unsatisfactory warranty repairs of the buyer’s motor vehicle, mechanical malfunctions of the buyer’s motor vehicle, or other problems relating to the performance of the buyer’s motor vehicle.
367.865 Informal Dispute Resolution System
(1) Effective January 1, 1983, each motor vehicle manufacturer shall offer to the buyer a comprehensive informal dispute resolution system. By transacting business in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, each manufacturer is deemed to have voluntarily consented to participate in the system. Each system shall operate pursuant to written rules and procedures which:
- Ensure that the system is impartial, accessible to the buyer, and expeditious, and shall operate at no cost to the buyer;
- Provide that if the buyer elects to submit the dispute to the system, the manufacturer shall not refuse to submit the dispute to the system as long as the subject of the dispute occurred during the first two (2) years or twenty-five thousand (25,000) miles, whichever occurs first, of the buyer’s ownership of the motor vehicle involved in the dispute;
- Provide that the system shall provide for an oral hearing, unless the buyer agrees in writing that the system shall render a decision based solely on documents submitted to it;
- Shall include, but is not limited to, procedures for informing the buyer of the existence of the system, preparing the agreement between the buyer and the manufacturer whereby the dispute may be submitted to the system, selecting the members of the decision-making panel, notifying the parties of the complaint, investigating the complaint, providing for hearings, rendering a fair and expeditious decision, and informing parties of the decision.
(2) The decision of the system shall be legally binding on the manufacturer. The decision of the system shall not be legally binding on the buyer, unless the manufacturer elects to have its system binding on all buyers who summit their disputes to the system. If the system is to be binding to both parties, the written agreement between the buyer and the manufacturer whereby the dispute is submitted to the system shall include in conspicuous, bold-faced type the following statement: “YOU SHOULD REMEMBER THAT BY ENTERING INTO THIS AGREEMENT YOU ARE DECIDING TO USE THIS DISPUTE RESOLUTION SYSTEM TO SETTLE YOUR DISPUTE INSTEAD OF GOING TO COURT. AFTER A DECISION BY AN ARBITRATOR, NORMALLY A COURT WILL REFUSE TO HEAR THE FACTS IN A CASE IN ALL BUT THE MOST UNUSUAL SITUATIONS. YOUR SIGNATURE IS REQUIRED IMMEDIATELY BELOW TO INDICATE THAT YOU HAVE READ THIS DISCLOSURE.
SIGNATURE OF BUYER
(3) Before a dispute may be submitted to a system which is legally binding on both parties, the buyer shall sign the disclosure statement required by subsection (2) of this section.
(4) Each manufacturer shall take steps reasonably calculated to make the buyer aware of the existence of the system at the time the dispute arises.
(5) Each manufacturer shall take all steps necessary to ensure that the system is sufficiently insulated from the manufacturer so that the decisions of the system are not influenced by the manufacturer. The system’s decision-making panel shall be composed of members at least fifty-one percent (51%) of whom have no involvement in the manufacture, distribution or sale of motor vehicles. No member deciding a dispute shall be a party to the dispute; nor shall any member deciding a dispute be an employee or agent of a party to the dispute, unless solely for the purpose of impartially deciding disputes.
(6) Nothing herein shall prohibit the manufacturer from participating in a system sponsored or administered by an impartial third party having no direct involvement in the manufacture, distribution, sale, or service of motor vehicles.
(7) Each dispute resolution system shall provide to the office of the Attorney General, upon request, the name and address of each buyer whose complaint is resolved through its system. The Attorney General shall have the authority to monitor each dispute resolution system as well as review the records on each complaint, upon request. An annual report shall be prepared and published by the office of the Attorney General evaluating the performance, effectiveness, and benefits of the system, and shall include in this report recommendations for continuing, modifying, or terminating the requirement of this section.
367.867 Other Dispute Resolution System Satisfies Requirements Of KRS 367.865
Notwithstanding the provisions of KRS 367.860 to 367.870, a dispute resolution system which is established pursuant to and in compliance with 16 C.F.R. Part 703 satisfies the requirements of KRS 367.865, as long as the dispute resolution system provides each party to the dispute with the right to an oral hearing.
367.870 Enforcement Of Informal Dispute Resolution System
Noncompliance with KRS 367.865 by a manufacturer shall be unlawful. The Attorney General shall have authority to enforce KRS 367.865 in accordance with powers provided by KRS 367.190 and 367.230 to 367.300, pertaining to acts declared unlawful by KRS 367.170