Idaho Lemon Law Statutes
Idaho Lemon law 48-901 Definitions.
For purposes of this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:
- "Consumer" means the purchaser or lessee, other than for purposes of resale or sublease, of a new motor vehicle used for personal business use, personal, family or household purposes, or a person to whom the new motor vehicle is transferred for the same purposes during the duration of an express warranty applicable to the motor vehicle.
- "Early termination costs" means expenses and obligations incurred by a motor vehicle lessor as a result of an early termination of a written lease agreement and surrender of a motor vehicle to a manufacturer under section 48-904, Idaho Code, including penalties for prepayment of finance arrangements.
- "Informal dispute settlement mechanism" means an arbitration process or procedure by which the manufacturer attempts to resolve disputes with consumers regarding motor vehicle nonconformities and repairs that arise during the vehicle's warranty period.
- "Lease" means a contract in the form of a lease or bailment for the use of personal property by a natural person for a period of time exceeding four (4) months, used for personal business use, personal, family, or household purposes, whether or not the lessee has the option to purchase or otherwise become the owner of the property at the expiration of the lease.
- "Manufacturer" means a person engaged in the business of manufacturing, assembling or distributing motor vehicles, who will, under normal business conditions during the year, manufacture, assemble or distribute to dealers at least ten (10) new motor vehicles.
- "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 obligations under that warranty.
"Motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle as defined in chapter 1, title 49, Idaho Code, which is sold or licensed in this state but does not include
- Motorcycle or farm tractor as defined in sections 49-107 and 49-114, Idaho Code; or
- Trailer as defined in section 49-121, Idaho Code; or
- Any motor vehicle with a gross laden weight over twelve thousand (12,000) pounds.
- "Motor vehicle lessor" means a person who holds title to a motor vehicle leased to a lessee under a written lease agreement or who holds the lessor's rights under such agreement.
Idaho Lemon law 48-902 Manufacturer's duty to repair - Service and Repair Facilities.
- If a new motor vehicle does not conform to all applicable express warranties, and the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer during the term of the applicable express warranties or during the period of two (2) years following the date of original delivery of the new motor vehicle to a consumer, or during the period ending with the date on which the mileage on the motor vehicle reaches twenty-four thousand (24,000) miles, whichever is the earliest date, the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer shall make the repairs necessary to conform the vehicle to the applicable express warranties, notwithstanding the fact that the repairs are made after the expiration of the warranty term or the two (2) year period.
- Every manufacturer of motor vehicles sold and for which the manufacturer has made an express warranty shall maintain sufficient service and repair facilities reasonably close to all areas in which its motor vehicles are sold to carry out the terms of the warranties or designate and authorize as service and repair facilities independent repair or service facilities reasonably close to all areas in which its motor vehicles are sold to carry out the terms of the warranties. As a means of complying with the provisions of this subsection, a manufacturer may, in a town or city where there is not a franchise market representative, enter into warranty service contracts with independent service and repair facilities.
Idaho Lemon law 48-903 Manufacturer's duty to refund or replace.
- If the manufacturer, its agents, or its authorized dealers are unable to conform the new motor vehicle to any applicable express warranty by repairing or correcting any defect or condition which impairs the use or market value of the motor vehicle to the consumer after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer shall either replace the new motor vehicle with a comparable motor vehicle or accept return of the vehicle from the consumer and refund to the consumer the amount the consumer paid for the vehicle, inclusive of the value of any trade-in, not to exceed one hundred five percent (105%) of the manufacturer's suggested retail price of the motor vehicle. The manufacturer's suggested retail price shall include all manufacturer installed options. The one hundred five percent (105%) cap shall include the cost of any options or other modifications arranged, installed, or made by the manufacturer's agent, or its authorized dealer within thirty (30) days after the date of original delivery. The manufacturer shall refund to the consumer all other charges including, but not limited to, sales or excise tax, license fees and registration fees, reimbursement for towing and rental vehicle expenses incurred by the consumer as a result of the vehicle being out of service for warranty repair. A reasonable allowance for the consumer's use of the vehicle shall be deducted from the refund to the consumer not to exceed the number of miles attributable to the consumer up to the date of the arbitration hearing multiplied by the purchase price of the vehicle and divided by one hundred twenty thousand (120,000). If the manufacturer offers a replacement vehicle under this section, the consumer has the option of rejecting the replacement vehicle and requiring the manufacturer to provide a refund. Refunds must be made to the consumer, and lien holder, if any, as their interests appear on the records of the division of motor vehicles of the Idaho transportation department. A manufacturer must give to the consumer an itemized statement listing each of the amounts refunded under this section. If the amount of sales or excise tax refunded is not separately stated, or if the manufacturer does not apply for a refund of the tax within one (1) year of the return of the motor vehicle, the state tax commission may refund the tax, as determined under subsection (8) of this section, directly to the consumer and lien holder, if any, as their interests appear on the records of the division of motor vehicles. It is an affirmative defense to any claim under this chapter (a) that an alleged nonconformity does not impair the use or market value, or (b) that a nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications or alterations of a motor vehicle by anyone other than the manufacturer, its agent or its authorized dealer.
- It is presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform a new motor vehicle to the applicable express warranties, if (a) the same nonconformity has been subject to repair four (4) or more times by the manufacturer, its agents, or its authorized dealers within the applicable express warranty term or during the period of two (2) years following the date of original delivery of the new motor vehicle to a consumer or during the period ending with the date on which the mileage on the motor vehicle reaches twenty-four thousand (24,000) miles, whichever is the earliest date, but the nonconformity continues to exist. However, the manufacturer shall have at least one (1) opportunity to attempt to repair the vehicle before it is presumed a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform the vehicle to the applicable express warranty; or (b) the vehicle is out of service by reason of repair for a cumulative total of thirty (30) or more business days during the term or during the period, whichever is the earlier date.
- If the nonconformity results in a complete failure of the braking or steering system of the new motor vehicle and is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven, it is presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform the vehicle to the applicable express warranties if the nonconformity has been subject to repair at least once by the manufacturer, its agents, or its authorized dealers within the applicable express warranty term or during the period of two (2) years following the date of original delivery of the new motor vehicle to a consumer or during the period ending with the date on which the mileage on the motor vehicle reaches twenty-four thousand (24,000) miles, whichever is the earliest date, and the nonconformity continues to exist. However, the manufacturer shall have at least one (1) opportunity to attempt to repair the vehicle before it is presumed a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform the vehicle to the applicable express warranty.
- The term of an applicable express warranty, the two (2) year period and the thirty (30) day period shall be extended by any period of time during which repair services are not available to the consumer because of a war, invasion, strike, or fire, flood, or other natural disaster.
- The presumption contained in subsection (2) of this section applies against a manufacturer only if the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer has received prior written notification from or on behalf of the consumer at least once and an opportunity to cure the defect alleged. If the notification is received by the manufacturer's agent or authorized dealer, the agent or dealer must forward it to the manufacturer by certified mail, return receipt requested. However, if the manufacturer is not notified either by the consumer or the manufacturer's agent or authorized dealer, then the manufacturer shall have at least one (1) opportunity to cure the alleged defect.
- The expiration of the time periods set forth in subsection (2) of this section does not bar a consumer from receiving a refund or replacement vehicle under subsection (1) of this section if the reasonable number of attempts to correct the nonconformity causing the substantial impairment occur within three (3) years following the date of original delivery of the new motor vehicle to a consumer, provided the consumer first reported the nonconformity to the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer during the term of the applicable express warranty.
- The manufacturer shall provide to its agent or authorized dealer and, at the time of purchase or lease, the manufacturer's agent or authorized dealer shall provide a written statement to the consumer in the new motor vehicle warranty guide, in 10-point all capital type, in substantially the following form: " IMPORTANT IF THIS VEHICLE IS DEFECTIVE, YOU MAY BE ENTITLED UNDER THE STATE'S LEMON LAW TO REPLACEMENT OF IT OR A REFUND OF ITS PURCHASE PRICE OR YOUR LEASE PAYMENTS. HOWEVER, TO BE ENTITLED TO REFUND OR REPLACEMENT, YOU MUST FIRST NOTIFY THE MANUFACTURER, ITS AGENT, OR ITS AUTHORIZED DEALER OF THE PROBLEM IN WRITING AND GIVE THEM AN OPPORTUNITY TO REPAIR THE VEHICLE. YOU ALSO HAVE A RIGHT TO SUBMIT YOUR CASE TO THE CONSUMER ARBITRATION PROGRAM WHICH THE MANUFACTURER MUST OFFER IN THIS STATE."
- The amount of the sales or excise tax to be paid by the manufacturer to the consumer under subsection (1) of this section shall be the tax paid by the consumer when the vehicle was purchased less an amount equal to the tax paid multiplied by a fraction, the denominator of which is the purchase price of the vehicle and the numerator of which is the allowance deducted from the refund for the consumer's use of the vehicle.
Idaho Lemon law 48-904 Manufacturer's duty to consumers with leased vehicles.
Idaho Lemon law 48-905 Resale or re-lease of returned motor vehicle.
If a motor vehicle has been returned under the provisions of section 48-903, Idaho Code, or a similar statute of another state, whether as the result of a legal action or as the result of an informal dispute settlement proceeding, it may not be resold or re-leased in this state unless:
- The manufacturer provides the same express warranty it provided to the original purchaser, except that the term of the warranty need only last for twelve thousand (12,000) miles or twelve (12) months after the date of resale, whichever is earlier; and
- The manufacturer provides the consumer with a written statement on a separate piece of paper, in 10-point all capital type, in substantially the following form "IMPORTANT THIS VEHICLE WAS RETURNED TO THE MANUFACTURER BECAUSE IT DID NOT CONFORM TO THE MANUFACTURER'S EXPRESS WARRANTY AND THE NONCONFORMITY WAS NOT CURED WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME AS PROVIDED BY IDAHO LAW."
- Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, if a new motor vehicle has been returned under the provisions of section 48-903, Idaho Code, or a similar statute of another state because of a nonconformity resulting in a complete failure of the braking or steering system of the motor vehicle likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle was driven and the failure has not been repaired by the manufacturer, its agent or its authorized dealer, the motor vehicle may not be resold in this state.
Idaho Lemon law 48-906 Alternative dispute settlement mechanism.
- Any manufacturer doing business in this state, entering into franchise agreements for the sale of its motor vehicles in this state, or offering express warranties on its motor vehicles sold or distributed for sale in this state shall operate, or participate in, an informal dispute settlement mechanism located in the state of Idaho which complies with the provisions of title 16, code of federal regulations, part 703, and the requirements of this section. The provisions of section 48-903, Idaho Code, concerning refunds or replacement do not apply to a consumer who has not first used this mechanism before commencing a civil action, unless the manufacturer allows a consumer to commence an action without first using this mechanism.
- An informal dispute settlement mechanism provided for by this chapter shall, at the time a request for arbitration is made, provide to the consumer and to each person who will arbitrate the consumer's dispute, information about this chapter as approved and directed by the attorney general, in consultation with interested parties. The informal dispute settlement mechanism shall permit the parties to present or submit any arguments based on this chapter and shall not prohibit or discourage the consideration of any such arguments.
- If, in an informal dispute settlement mechanism, it is decided that a consumer is entitled to a replacement vehicle or refund under section 48-903, Idaho Code, then any refund or replacement offered by the manufacturer or selected by a consumer shall include and itemize all amounts authorized by section 48-903, Idaho Code. If the amount of excise tax refunded is not separately stated, or if the manufacturer does not apply for a refund of the tax within one (1) year of the return of the motor vehicle, the state tax commission may refund the sales tax, as determined under subsection (8) of section 48-903, Idaho Code, directly to the consumer and lien holder, if any, as their interests appear on the records of the division of motor vehicles of the Idaho transportation department.
- No documents shall be received by any informal dispute settlement mechanism unless those documents have been provided to each of the parties in the dispute at or prior to the mechanism's meeting, with an opportunity for the parties to comment on the documents either in writing or orally. If a consumer is present during the informal dispute settlement mechanism's meeting, the consumer may request postponement of the mechanism's meeting to allow sufficient time to review any documents presented at the time of the meeting which had not been presented to the consumer prior to the meeting.
- The informal dispute settlement mechanism shall allow each party to appear and make an oral presentation in the state of Idaho unless the consumer agrees to submit the dispute for decision on the basis of documents alone or by telephone, or unless the party fails to appear for an oral presentation after reasonable prior written notice. However, the manufacturer or its representative may participate in the informal dispute settlement mechanism's meeting by telephone if it chooses. If the consumer agrees to submit the dispute for decision on the basis of documents alone, then manufacturer or dealer representatives may not participate in the discussion or decision of the dispute.
- Consumers shall be given an adequate opportunity to contest a manufacturer's assertion that a nonconformity falls within intended specifications for the vehicle by having the basis of the manufacturer's claim appraised by a technical expert selected and paid for by the consumer prior to the informal dispute settlement hearing.
- Where there has been a recent attempt by the manufacturer to repair a consumer's vehicle, but no response has yet been received by the informal dispute mechanism from the consumer as to whether the repairs were successfully completed, the parties must be given the opportunity to present any additional information regarding the manufacturer's recent repair attempt before any final decision is rendered by the informal dispute settlement mechanism. This provision shall not prejudice a consumer's rights under this chapter.
- If the manufacturer knows that a technical service bulletin directly applies to the specific mechanical problem being disputed by the consumer, then the manufacturer shall provide the technical service bulletin to the consumer at reasonable cost upon request. The mechanism shall review any such technical service bulletins submitted by either party.
- A consumer may be charged a fee to participate in an informal dispute settlement mechanism required by this chapter, but the fee may not exceed the conciliation court filing fee in the county where the arbitration is conducted.
- Any party to the dispute has the right to be represented by an attorney in an informal dispute settlement mechanism.
- The informal dispute settlement mechanism has all the evidence-gathering powers granted an arbitrator under the uniform arbitration act.
- A decision issued in an informal dispute settlement mechanism required by this section may be in writing and signed.
Idaho Lemon law 48-907 Effect and admissibility of decision by informal dispute settlement mechanism.
Idaho Lemon law 48-908 Treble damages for bad faith appeal of decision.
Idaho Lemon law 48-909 Civil remedy.
Idaho Lemon law 48-910 Limitations on actions.
Idaho Lemon law 48-911 Remedy nonexclusive.
Idaho Lemon law 48-912 Disclosure requirement.
Idaho Lemon law 48-913 Dealer liability.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
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.
Your car is a major investment, rationalized by the peace of mind that flows from its expected dependability and safety. Accordingly, you are entitled to expect an automobile properly constructed and regulated to provide reasonably safe, trouble-free, and dependable transportation – regardless of the exact make and model you bought. Unfortunately, sometimes these principles do not hold true and defects arise in automobiles. Although one defect is not actionable, repeated defects are as there exists a generally accepted rule that unsuccessful repair efforts render the warrantor liable. Simply put, there comes a time when “enough is enough” – when after having to take your car into the shop for repairs an inordinate number of times and experiencing all of the attendant inconvenience, you are entitled to say, ‘That’s all,’ and revoke, notwithstanding the seller’s repeated good faith efforts to fix the car. The rationale behind these basic principles is clear: once your faith in the vehicle is shaken, the vehicle loses its real value to you and becomes an instrument whose integrity is impaired and whose operation is fraught with apprehension. The question thus becomes when is “enough”?
As you know, enough is never enough from your warrantor’s point of view and you should simply continue to have your defective vehicle repaired – time and time again. However, you are not required to allow a warrantor to tinker with your vehicle indefinitely in the hope that it may eventually be fixed. Rather, you are entitled to expect your vehicle to be repaired within a reasonable opportunity. To this end, both the federal Moss Warranty Act, and the various state “lemon laws,” require repairs to your vehicle be performed within a reasonable opportunity.
Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a warrantor should perform adequate repairs in at least two, and possibly three, attempts to correct a particular defect. Further, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act’s reasonableness requirement applies to your vehicle as a whole rather than to each individual defect that arises. Although most of the Lemon Laws vary from state to state, each individual law usually require a warrantor to cure a specific defect within four to five attempts or the automobile as a whole within thirty days. If the warrantor fails to meet this obligation, most of the lemon laws provide for a full refund or new replacement vehicle. Further, this reasonable number of attempts/reasonable opportunity standard, whether it be that of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act or that of the Lemon Laws, is akin to strict liability – once this threshold has been met, the continued existence of a defect is irrelevant and you are still entitled to relief.
One of the most important parts of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is its fee shifting provision. This provision provides that you may recover the attorney fees incurred in the prosecution of your case if you are successful – independent of how much you actually win. That rational behind this fee shifting provision is to twofold: (1) to ensure you will be able to vindicate your rights without having to expend large sums on attorney's fees and (2) because automobile manufacturers are able to write off all expenses of defense as a legitimate business expense, whereas you, the average consumer, obviously does not have that kind of economic staying power. Most of the Lemon Laws contain similar fee shifting provisions.
You may also derive additional warranty rights from the Uniform Commercial Code; however, the Code does not allow you in most states to recover your attorney fees and is also not as consumer friendly as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act or the various state lemon laws.
The narrative information on Magnuson-Moss, UCC and Idaho lemon laws on these pages is provided by Marshall Meyers, attorney.
Uniform Commercial Code Summary
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 Section2-601 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 then 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 to inspect 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. The following is an example of a case of rejection: Mr. Zabriskie purchase a new 1966 Chevrolet Biscayne. After picking up the car on Friday evening, while en route to his home 2.5 miles away, and within 7/10ths of a mile from the dealership, the car stalled and stalled again within 15 feet. Thereafter, the car would only drive in low gear. The buyer rejected the vehicle and stopped payment on his check. The dealer contended that the buyer could not reject the car because he had driven it around the block and that was his reasonable opportunity to inspect. The New Jersey Court said;
To the layman, the complicated mechanisms of today's automobile are a complete mystery. To have the automobile inspected by someone with sufficient expertise to disassemble the vehicle in order the discover latent defects before the contract is signed, is assuredly impossible and highly impractical. Consequently, the first few miles of driving become even more significant to the excited new car buyer. This is the buyer's first reasonable opportunity to enjoy his new vehicle to see if it conforms to what it was represented to be and whether he is getting what he bargained for. How long the buyer may drive the new car under the guise of inspection of new goods is not an issue in the present case because 7/10th of a mile is clearly within the ambit of a reasonable opportunity to inspect. Zabriskie Chevrolet, Inc. v. Smith, 240 A. 2d 195(1968)
It is suggested that Courts will tend to excuse use by consumers if possible.
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 nonconformity 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 always is assured that any noncomformities he does discover will be remedied. What is a noncomformity substantially impairing the value of the vehicle?
- A noncomformity may include a number of relatively minor defects whose cumulative total adds up to a substantial impairment. This is the "Shake Faith" Doctrine first stated in the Zabrisikie case. "For a majority of people the purchase of a new car is a major investment, rationalized by the peace of mind that flows from its dependability and safety. Once their faith is shaken, the vehicle loses not only its real value in their eyes, but becomes an instrument whose integrity is substantially impaired and whose operation is fraught with apprehension".
- A substantial noncomformity may include a failure or refusal to repair the goods under the warranty. In Durfee V. Rod Baxter Imports, the Minnesota Court held that the Saab owner that was plagued by a series of of annoying minor defects and stalling, which were never repaired after a number of attempts, could revoke, "if repairs are not successfully undertaken within a reasonable time", the consumer may elect to revoke.
- Substantial Non Conformity and Lemon Laws often define what may be considered a substantial impairment. These definitions have been successfully used to flesh out the substantial impairment in the UCC.
Additional narrative information on Magnusson-Moss, UCC and Idaho lemon laws on these pages is provided by T. Michael Flinn, attorney.