Lemon Law America® offers owners of defective motor vehicles resources to help them research their state's lemon law statutes, and provides links to lemon lawyers practicing in their state.
Ohio Lemon Law Statutes
Ohio Lemon law Sections 1345.71 to 1345.77 of the Revised Code
Ohio Lemon law Section 1345.71
- "Consumer" means the purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, of a motor vehicle, any person to whom the motor vehicle is transferred during the duration of the express warranty that is applicable to the motor vehicle, and any other person who is entitled by the terms of the warranty to enforce the warranty.
- "Manufacturer" and "distributor" have the same meanings as in section 4517.01 of the Revised Code, and manufacturer includes a remanufacturer as defined in that section.
- "Express warranty" and "warranty" mean the written warranty of the manufacturer or distributor of a new motor vehicle concerning the condition and fitness for use of the vehicle, including any terms or conditions precedent to the enforcement of obligations under that warranty.
- "Motor vehicle" means any passenger car or noncommercial motor vehicle as defined in section 4501.01 of the Revised Code, or those parts of any motor home, as defined in section 4501.01 of the Revised Code, that are not part of the permanently installed facilities for cold storage, cooking and consuming of food, and for sleeping, but does not mean any mobile home as defined in division (O) of section 4501.01 of the Revised Code, recreational vehicle as defined in division (Q) of that section, or manufactured home as defined in division (C)(4) of section 3781.06 of the Revised Code.
- "Nonconformity" means any defect or condition which substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of a motor vehicle and does not conform to the express warranty of the manufacturer or distributor.
- "Full purchase price" means the contract price for the motor vehicle, including charges for transportation, dealer-installed accessories, dealer services, dealer preparation and delivery and collateral charges; all finance, credit insurance, warranty and service contract charges incurred by the buyer; and all sales tax, license and registration fees, and other government charges.
Ohio Lemon law Section 1345.72
- If a new motor vehicle does not conform to any applicable express warranty and the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer during the period of one year following the date of original delivery or during the first eighteen thousand miles of operation, whichever is earlier, the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer shall make any repairs as are necessary to conform the vehicle to such express warranty, notwithstanding the fact that the repairs are made after the expiration of the appropriate time period.
If the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer is unable to conform the motor vehicle to any applicable express warranty by repairing or correcting any defect or condition that substantially impairs the use, safety, or value of the motor vehicle to the consumer after a reasonable number of repair attempts, the manufacturer shall, at the consumer's option, and subject to division (D) of this section replace the motor vehicle with a new motor vehicle acceptable to the consumer or accept return of the vehicle from the consumer and refund each of the following:
- The full purchase price including, but not limited to, charges for undercoating, transportation, and installed options;
- All collateral charges, including but not limited to, sales tax, license and registration fees, and similar government charges;
- All finance charges incurred by the consumer;
- All incidental damages, including any reasonable fees charged by the lender for making or canceling the loan.
- Nothing in this section imposes any liability on a new motor vehicle dealer or creates a cause of action by a buyer against a new motor vehicle dealer.
Sections 1345.71 to 1345.77 of the Revised Code do not affect the obligation of a consumer under a loan or retail installment sales contract or the interest of any secured party, except as follows:
- If the consumer elects to take a refund, the manufacturer shall forward the total sum required under division (B) of this section by an instrument jointly payable to the consumer and any lienholder that appears on the face of the certificate of title. Prior to disbursing the funds to the consumer, the lienholder may deduct the balance owing to it, including any reasonable fees charged for canceling the loan and refunded pursuant to division (B) of this section, and shall immediately remit the balance if any, to the consumer and cancel the lien.
- If the consumer elects to take a new motor vehicle, the manufacturer shall notify any lienholder noted on the certificate of title under section 4505.13 of the Revised Code. If both the lienholder and the consumer consent to finance the new motor vehicle obtained through the exchange in division (B) of this section, the lienholder shall release the lien on the nonconforming motor vehicle after it has obtained a lien on the new motor vehicle. If the existing lienholder does not finance the new motor vehicle, it has no obligation to discharge the note or cancel the lien on the nonconforming motor vehicle until the original indebtedness is satisfied.
Ohio Lemon law Section 1345.73
- Substantially the same nonconformity has been subject to repair three or more times and continues to exist;
- The vehicle is out of service by reason of repair for a cumulative total of thirty or more calendar days;
- There have been eight or more attempts to repair any nonconformity that substantially impairs the use and value of the motor vehicle to the consumer;
- There has been at least one attempt to repair a nonconformity that results in a condition that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven, and the nonconformity continues to exist.
Ohio Lemon law Section 1345.74
- At the time of purchase, the manufacturer, either directly or through its agent or its authorized dealer, shall provide to the consumer a written statement on a separate piece of paper, in ten-point type, all capital letters, in substantially the following form: IMPORTANT: IF THIS VEHICLE IS DEFECTIVE, YOU MAY BE ENTITLED UNDER STATE LAW TO A REPLACEMENT OR TO COMPENSATION.
- The manufacturer or authorized dealer shall provide to the consumer, each time the motor vehicle of the consumer is returned from being serviced or repaired, a fully itemized written statement indicating all work performed on the vehicle, including, but not limited to, parts and labor as described in the rules adopted pursuant to section 1345.77 of the Revised Code.
Ohio Lemon law Section 1345.75
- Any purchaser of a new motor vehicle who suffers any loss due to nonconformity of the motor vehicle as a result of failure by the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer to comply with section 1345.72 of the Revised Code, may bring a civil action in a court of common pleas or other court of competent jurisdiction and, in addition to other relief, shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees and all court costs.
- The remedies in sections 1345.71 to 1345.77 of the Revised Code are in addition to remedies otherwise available to consumers under law.
- Any action brought under division (A) of this section shall be commenced within two years of the expiration of the express warranty term. Any period of limitation of actions under any federal or Ohio laws with respect to any consumer shall be tolled for the period that begins on the date that a complaint is filed with an informal dispute resolution mechanism established pursuant to section 1345.77 of the Revised Code and ends on the date of the decision by the informal dispute resolution mechanism.
- It is an affirmative defense to any claim under this section that a nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect, or the unauthorized modification or alteration of a motor vehicle by anyone other than the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer.
Ohio Lemon law Section 1345.76
If a motor vehicle has been returned under the provisions of sections 1345.71 to 1345.77 of the Revised Code or a similar law of another state, whether as a result of legal action or of an informal dispute settlement proceeding, the vehicle may not be resold in this state unless each of the following applies:
- The manufacturer provides the same express warranty that was provided to the original purchaser, except that the term of the warranty shall be only for twelve thousand miles or twelve months after the date of resale, whichever is earlier;
- The manufacturer provides to the consumer, either directly or through its agent or its authorized dealer, and prior to obtaining the signature of the consumer on any document, a written statement on a separate piece of paper, in ten-point type, all capital letters, 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 AMOUNT OF TIME AS PROVIDED BY OHIO LAW. ............... ....................... DATE BUYER'S SIGNATURE
- Notwithstanding the provisions of division (A) of this section, if a new motor vehicle has been returned under the provisions of section 1345.72 of the Revised Code or a similar law of another state because of a nonconformity likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven, the motor vehicle may not be sold in this state.
Ohio Lemon law Section 1345.77
- The attorney general shall adopt rules for the establishment and qualification of an informal dispute resolution mechanism to provide for the resolution of warranty disputes between the consumer and the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer. The mechanism shall be under the supervision of the division of consumer protection of the office of the attorney general and shall meet or exceed the minimum requirements for an informal dispute resolution mechanism as provided by the "Magnuson-Moss Warranty Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act," 88 Stat. 2183, 15 U.S.C.A. 2301, and regulations adopted thereunder.
- If a qualified informal dispute resolution mechanism exists and the consumer receives timely notification, in writing, of the availability of the mechanism with a description of its operation and effect, the cause of action under section 1345.75 of the Revised Code may not be asserted by the consumer until after the consumer has initially resorted to the informal dispute resolution mechanism. If such a mechanism does not exist, if the consumer is dissatisfied with the decision produced by the mechanism, or if the manufacturer, its agents, or its authorized dealer fails to promptly fulfill the terms determined by the mechanism, the consumer may assert a cause of action under section 1345.75 of the Revised Code.
- Any violation of a rule adopted pursuant to division (A) of this section is an unfair and deceptive act or practice as defined by section 1345.02 of the Revised Code.
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 Ohio 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 Ohio lemon laws on these pages is provided by T. Michael Flinn, attorney.