Virginia Lemon Law
HAVE A WARRANTY PROBLEM WITH A BOAT
Check out BOAT Lemon Law.
FOR MOTORHOME OR RV WARRANTY ISSUES,
take a look at RV lemon law.
We are all "consumers" in need of protection, and consumer "justice" statutes have been enacted by the Legislature and U.S. Congress to level the marketplace's playing field. Enforcing consumer rights sometimes requires a do-it-yourself" approach - neither the Attorney General, the Governor nor the President will protect us from unlawful, and even willful, wrongdoing. In America, occasionally the civil jury must serve as the ultimate enforcer of the law.
A warranty is simply a promise by the manufacturer (and sometimes by a seller) to do something. Most warranties are termed "limited," and only provide the manufacturer's promise to repair, replace or adjust a defective product. There is generally no right a a refund of the purchase price, except for new motor vehicle lemons.
"Lemons" (so called for the sour taste left in the buyer's mouth) come in all sizes and shapes. Most lemons have wheels, and technically, Virginia's "lemon" law -- the Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act -- is limited to automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, and the chassis of motorhomes. However, some lemons float (boats), others fly (aircraft), and even a third class includes defective houses and mobile homes. For the most part, the days of caveat emptor (loosely translated, "tough luck") are over! In Virginia, for a motor vehicle to qualify for a buy-back under the Warranty Enforcement Act, it must generally be no older than four model years, and have documented problems during its first eighteen months following delivery to the first owner or lessee. There must also be evidence that the manufacturer was notified within eighteen months from delivery. For owners or lessees of vehicles that do not qualify under this "lemon" law, there may still be warranty law rights under other statutes.
Virginia's Warranty Enforcement Act does not include boats and watercraft (such as jet skiis, etc.). Neither does it include the "coach" or living section of a motorhome. However the consumer with a boat or motorhome defect or malfunction is still protected under the Commonwealth's Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) and the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
We hear in my office almost daily of auto manufacturers which are unwilling to repurchase their unrepairable "lemons;" of car dealers selling as "new" vehicles with hidden damage and shoddy repairs; and of unfair sales practices evidenced by forged signatures, broken promises, and outrageous price gouging.
Virginia's General Assembly, even in the face of
overwhelming lobbying efforts by forces from the Dark Side, has demonstrated
both its collective courage and its concern for consumer protection and
-- For violations of the Consumer Protection Act proven by clear and convincing evidence, minimum damages ($500) and reasonable attorney fees and costs are available. On proof of willfulness, damages may be multiplied threefold.
-- For "used" car buyers purchasing vehicles sold "as is" but without the mandatory Buyers Guide window sticker, there is the right to cancel the deal during the first thirty days.
-- Dealers unable to complete vehicle title registration with DMV during the first thirty days must accept return of the vehicle once the temporary certificate of ownership (30 day tags) has lapsed without renewal.
These are a few examples where the "playing" field is almost "level!"
The Virginia Supreme Court announced on June 5, 1998, its FIRST LEMON LAW OPINION. This decision -- Subaru v. Peters -- reflected the Commonwealth's first significant consumer protection case from Virginia's highest Court.
In Subaru v. Peters, the trial judge had ruled, on Subaru's summary judgment motion, that Ms. Peters' automobile, which had been purchased "used" and previously operated by Hertz, still qualified for Warranty Enforcement Act protection. After winning a jury verdict ordering Subaru to repurchase her "significantly impaired" motor vehicle, Ms. Peters was forced to defend in Subaru's appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.
Key issues resolved by the Supreme Court include:
- certain used automobiles can qualify for "lemon" law repurchase and other money damages
- expert witness testimony is not always required... the "victim's" testimony may be sufficient
- there is no requirement for three or more repairs for a nonsafety defect, or one or more repair
visits for a safety problem, or a minimum of thirty days in the shop (first 18 months)
- personal use representing 66% of the total mileage is "substantial" family, non-business use
CLICK HERE TO READ SUBARU V. PETERS
Boats and Motor/Sailing Vessels Boat lemon law
Receational Vehicles (RV's)
RV Lemon Law
The following information hopefully will facilitate my goals for enhancing
Warranty Law: What You Must Know to Win
Virginia Warranty Enforcement (Lemon) Act
Consumer Protection Act (Excerpts)
100 Top Law Cites
Virginia Law and Courts
Cornell Law Library
General Information Sites:
Center for Auto Safety, Washington, DC
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (DOT) (Recalls, TSB's, Testing, Safety)
Federal Consumer Information Center (Publications for Consumers)
Woman Motorist (one of the best car-related sites on the Web!)
National Consumer Law Center
Kelley Bluebook (Pricing)
GMAC Financial Services: Lease-Purchase Calculator
Auto-Trader On-Line (Cars, Parts & Dealers)
LeaseSource Leasing Information
Edmunds Guides (Pricing)
The LAW OFFICES OF STEPHEN L. SWANN focus on representation of consumers in warranty matters and litigation for automobiles, boats, motorhomes, and manufactured housing (and mobile homes).
Applicable laws include the Virginia "lemon" law, the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and the Consumer Protection Act.
CALL, WRITE, OR EMAIL OUR OFFICE TO:
-- OBTAIN A CLIENT "QUESTIONNAIRE FORM"
-- SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION WITH ATTORNEY SWANN (consultation fee applies)
--OBTAIN CONSUMER BROCHURES ON LEMON LAW, WARRANTY LAW, OR FRAUD
-- ANSWER YOUR CONSUMER LAW QUESTIONS
-- LOCATE A CONSUMER ATTORNEY
BECAUSE LIFE JUST ISN'T FAIR SOMETIMES, REMEMBER THAT
YOU MAY HAVE TO.....
IMPORTANT: This information is provided for consumer educational purposes only. None of the above "linked" sources is associated in any way with the Law Offices of Stephen L. Swann. There are no express or implied warranties on the accuracy or legal correctness of any information published here. For legal information and advice for any particular matter, you are encouraged to consult an experienced warranty or civil litigation attorney. Names of attorneys may be obtained from the Virginia State Bar in Richmond, area local bar associations (including the Fairfax and Arlington bar associations) and the Center for Auto Safety, Washington, DC.
2011 Copyright Law Offices of Stephen L. Swann. All rights reserved.