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Indiana Lemon Law

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Indiana Lemon Law Statutes

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13

Chapter 13. Motor Vehicle Protection Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-1

Sec. 1. This chapter applies to all motor vehicles that are sold, leased, transferred, or replaced by a dealer or manufacturer in Indiana. As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-2

Sec. 2. As used in this chapter, "business day" means a day other than Sunday or a legal holiday (as defined in IC1-1-9-1). As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-3

Sec. 3. As used in this chapter, "buyer" means any person who, for purposes other than resale or sublease, enters into an agreement or contract within Indiana for the transfer, lease, or purchase of a motor vehicle covered under this chapter. As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-3.4

Sec. 3.4. As used in this chapter, "lease" means a contract in the form of a lease or bailment for the use of a motor vehicle by a person for more than four (4) months, whether or not the lessee has the option to purchase or otherwise become the owner of the property at the expiration of the lease. As added by P.L.24-1989, SEC.25.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-3.7

Sec. 3.7. As used in this chapter, "lessor" means a person who:
  1. holds title to a motor vehicle leased to a lessee under a written lease agreement; or
  2. holds the lessor's rights under an agreement described in subdivision (1). As added by P.L.24-1989, SEC.26.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-4

Sec. 4. As used in this chapter, "manufacturer" means any person who is engaged in the business of manufacturing motor vehicles, or, in the case of motor vehicles not manufactured in the United States, any person who is engaged in the business of importing motor vehicles. As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-5

 

Sec. 5. As used in this chapter, "motor vehicle" or "vehicle" means any self-propelled vehicle that:
  1. has a declared gross vehicle weight of less than ten thousand (10,000) pounds;
  2. is sold to:
    1. a buyer in Indiana and registered in Indiana; or
    2. a buyer in Indiana who is not an Indiana resident (as defined in IC9-13-2-78);
  3. is intended primarily for use and operation on public highways; and
  4. is required to be registered or licensed before use or operation. The term does not include conversion vans, motor homes, farm tractors, and other machines used in the actual production, harvesting, and care of farm products, road building equipment, truck tractors, road tractors, motorcycles, mopeds, snowmobiles, or vehicles designed primarily for off road use .
As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.141-1990, SEC.1; P.L.2-1991, SEC.84.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-6

Sec. 6. As used in this chapter, "nonconformity" means any specific or generic defect or condition or any concurrent combination of defects or conditions that:
  1. substantially impairs the use, market value, or safety of a motor vehicle; or
  2. renders the motor vehicle nonconforming to the terms of an applicable manufacturer's warranty.
As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-7

Sec. 7. As used in this chapter, "term of protection" means a period of time that:
  1. begins:
    1. on the date of original delivery of a motor vehicle to a buyer; or
    2. in the case of a replacement vehicle provided by a manufacturer to a buyer under this chapter, on the date of delivery of the replacement vehicle to the buyer; and
  2. ends the earlier of:
    1. eighteen (18) months after the date identified under subdivision (1); or
    2. the time the motor vehicle has been driven eighteen thousand (18,000) miles after the date identified under subdivision (1).
As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-8

Sec. 8. If a motor vehicle suffers from a nonconformity and the buyer reports the nonconformity within the term of protection to the manufacturer of the vehicle, its agent, or its authorized dealer then the manufacturer of the motor vehicle or the manufacturer's agent or authorized dealer shall make the repairs that are necessary to correct the nonconformity, even if the repairs are made after expiration of the term of protection. As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-9

Sec. 9.
  1. A buyer must first notify the manufacturer of a claim under this chapter if the manufacturer has made the disclosure required by subsection (b). However, if the manufacturer has not made the required disclosure, the buyer is not required to notify the manufacturer of a claim under this chapter.
  2. The manufacturer shall clearly and conspicuously disclose to the buyer, in the warranty or owner's manual, that written notification of the nonconformity is required before the buyer may be eligible for a refund or replacement of the vehicle. The manufacturer shall include with the warranty or owner's manual the name and address to which the buyer must send notification.
As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-10

 

Sec. 10. If, after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer, its agent, or authorized dealer is unable to correct the nonconformity, the manufacturer shall accept the return of the vehicle from the buyer and, at the buyer's option, either, within thirty (30) days, refund the amount paid by the buyer or provide a replacement vehicle of comparable value. As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-11

Sec. 11.
  1. If a refund is tendered under this chapter with respect to a vehicle that is not a leased vehicle, the refund must be the full contract price of the vehicle, including all credits and allowances for any trade-in vehicle and less a reasonable allowance for use.
  2. To determine a reasonable allowance for use under this section, multiply:
    1. the total contract price of the vehicle; by
    2. a fraction having as its denominator one hundred thousand (100,000) and having as its numerator the number of miles that the vehicle traveled before the manufacturer's acceptance of its return.
  3. The refund must also include reimbursement for the following incidental costs:
    1. All sales tax.
    2. The unexpended portion of the registration fee and excise tax that has been prepaid for any calendar year.
    3. All finance charges actually expended.
    4. The cost of all options added by the authorized dealer.
  4. Refunds made under this section shall be made to the buyer and lienholder, if any, as their respective interests appear on the records of ownership.
As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.24-1989, SEC.27.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-11.5

&BTN.In (2) SBI beginning with less.&ETN. Sec. 11.5.
  1. If a refund is tendered under this chapter with respect to a leased motor vehicle, the refund shall be made as follows:
    1. The lessee shall receive all deposit and lease payments paid by the lessee to the lessor, including all credits and allowances for any trade-in vehicles, less a reasonable allowance for use.
    2. The lessor shall receive:
      1. the lessor's purchase cost, including freight and accessories;
      2. any fee paid to another to obtain the lease;
      3. any insurance premiums or other costs expended by the lessor for the benefit of the lessee;
      4. sales tax paid by the lessor; and
      5. five percent (5%) of the amount described in subdivision (2)(A); less the total of all deposit and lease payments paid by the lessee to the lessor, including all credits and allowances for any trade-in vehicle .
  2. To determine a reasonable allowance for use under this section, multiply:
    1. the total lease obligation of the lessee at the inception of the lease; by
    2. a fraction having as its denominator one hundred thousand (100,000) and as its numerator the number of miles that the vehicle traveled before the lessor's acceptance of its return.
As added by P.L.24-1989, SEC.28.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-12

Sec. 12.
  1. If a vehicle is replaced by a manufacturer under this chapter, the manufacturer shall reimburse the buyer for any fees for the transfer of registration or any sales tax incurred by the buyer as a result of replacement.
  2. If a replaced vehicle was financed by the manufacturer, its subsidiary, or agent, the manufacturer, subsidiary, or agent may not require the buyer to enter into any refinancing agreement concerning a replacement vehicle that would create any financial obligations upon the buyer less favorable than those of the original financing agreement.
As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-13

Sec. 13. Whenever a vehicle is replaced or refunded under this chapter, the manufacturer shall reimburse the buyer for necessary towing and rental costs actually incurred as a direct result of the nonconformity. As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-14

Sec. 14. A buyer has the option of retaining the use of any vehicle returned under this chapter until the time that the buyer has been tendered a full refund or replacement vehicle of comparable value. The use of any vehicle retained by a buyer after its return to a manufacturer under this chapter must, in cases in which a refund is tendered, be reflected in the reasonable allowance for use required by section 11 of this chapter. As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-15

Sec. 15.
  1. A reasonable number of attempts is considered to have been undertaken to correct a nonconformity if:
    1. the nonconformity has been subject to repair at least four (4) times by the manufacturer or its agents or authorized dealers, but the nonconformity continues to exist; or
    2. the vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of any nonconformity for a cumulative total of at least thirty (30) business days, and the nonconformity continues to exist.
  2. The thirty (30) business day period in subsection (a)(2) shall be extended by any period of time during which repair services are not available as a direct result of a strike. The manufacturer, its agent, or authorized dealer shall provide or make provision for the free use of a vehicle to any buyer whose vehicle is out of service by reason of repair during a strike.
  3. The burden is on the manufacturer to show that the reason for an extension under subsection (b) was the direct cause for the failure of the manufacturer, its agent, or authorized dealer to cure any nonconformity during the time of the event.
As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-16

Sec. 16.
  1. A manufacturer, its agent, or authorized dealer may not refuse to diagnose or repair any vehicle for the purpose of avoiding liability under this chapter.
  2. A manufacturer, its agent, or authorized dealer shall provide a buyer with a written repair order each time the buyer's vehicle is brought in for examination or repair. The repair order must indicate all work performed on the vehicle including examination of the vehicle, parts, and labor.
As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-17 Repealed

(Repealed by P.L.65-1992, SEC.4.)

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-18

Sec. 18. It is an affirmative defense to any claim under this chapter that:
  1. the nonconformity, defect, or condition does not substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the motor vehicle; or
  2. the nonconformity, defect, or condition is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modification or alteration of the motor vehicle by the buyer.
As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-19

Sec. 19. This chapter does not apply to any buyer who has not first resorted to an informal procedure established by a manufacturer or in which a manufacturer participates if:
  1. the procedure is certified by the attorney general as:
    1. complying in all respects with 16 C.F.R. 703; and
    2. complying with any other rules concerning certification adopted by the attorney general, including but not limited to the requirement of oral hearings, pursuant to IC4-22-2; and
  2. the buyer has received adequate written notice from the manufacturer of the existence of the procedure.
Adequate written notice includes the incorporation of the informal dispute settlement procedure into the terms of the written warranty to which the motor vehicle does not conform. As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.24-1989, SEC.29.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-20

Sec. 20. This chapter does not limit the rights or remedies that are otherwise available to a buyer under any other applicable provision of law. As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-21

Sec. 21. A buyer may bring a civil action to enforce this chapter in any circuit or superior court. As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-22

Sec. 22. A buyer who prevails in any action brought under this chapter is entitled to recover as part of the judgment a sum equal to the aggregate amount of cost and expenses, including attorney's fees based on actual time expended by the attorney, determined by the court to have been reasonably incurred by the buyer for or in connection with the commencement and prosecution of the action. As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-23

Sec. 23.
  1. An action brought under this chapter must be commenced within two (2) years following the date the buyer first reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, its agent, or authorized dealer.
  2. When the buyer has commenced an informal dispute settlement procedure described in section 19 of this chapter, the two (2) year period specified in subsection (a) is tolled during the time the informal dispute settlement procedure is being conducted.
As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

Indiana Lemon law IC24-5-13-24

Sec. 24. Nothing in this chapter imposes any liability on a dealer or creates a cause of action by a consumer against a dealer, and a manufacturer may not, directly or indirectly, expose any franchised dealer to liability under this chapter. As added by P.L.150-1988, SEC.1.

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 Indiana 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?

  1. 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".
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Indiana lemon laws on these pages is provided by T. Michael Flinn, attorney.