Georgia State Statutes
GA Code 10-1-780
Motor Vehicle Warranty Rights Act
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Motor Vehicle Warranty Rights
The General Assembly recognizes that a new motor vehicle is a major consumer purchase
and that a defective motor vehicle is likely to create hardship for, or may cause injury
to, the consumer. It is the intent of the General Assembly to ensure that the consumer is
made aware of his or her rights under this article. In enacting these comprehensive
measures, it is the intent of the General Assembly to create the proper blend of private
and public remedies necessary to enforce this article.
Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this Code section
apply throughout this article. As used in this article, the term:
(1) "Administrator" means the administrator appointed pursuant to
Code Section 10-1-395.
(2) "Collateral charges" means those additional charges to a
consumer or lessor wholly incurred as a result of the acquisition purchase of the motor
vehicle. For the purposes of this article, collateral charges include but are not
limited to manufacturer installed or dealer installed items or service charges, earned
finance charges incurred by a consumer in the case of a purchase, and by the lessor in
the case of a lease, sales tax, and title charges.
(3) "Consumer" means any person who has entered into an agreement or
contract for the transfer, lease, or purchase of a new motor vehicle primarily for
personal, family, or household purposes, regardless of how the documents characterize
the transaction. The term shall also mean and include any sole proprietorship,
partnership, or corporation which is a commercial owner or lessee of no more than three
new motor vehicles and which has ten or fewer employees and a net income after taxes of
$100,000.00 per annum or less for federal income tax purposes. For the limited purpose
of enforcing the rights granted under this article, the term "consumer" will
also include any person or entity regularly engaged in the business of leasing new motor
vehicles to consumers.
(4) "Court" means the superior court in the county where the
consumer resides, except if the consumer does not reside in this state, then the
superior court in the county where an arbitration hearing or determination was conducted
or made pursuant to this article.
(5) "Distributor" means a person or entity holding a distribution
agreement with a manufacturer for the distribution of new motor vehicles to new motor
vehicle dealers or who is licensed or otherwise authorized to utilize trademarks or
service marks associated with one or more makes of motor vehicles in connection with
such distribution, who is not responsible to the manufacturer for honoring the
manufacturer's express warranty, and who does not issue an express warranty to
(6) "Express warranty" means a warranty which is given by the
manufacturer in writing.
(7) "Incidental costs" means any reasonable expenses incurred by the
consumer in connection with the repair of the new motor vehicle, including but not
limited to payments to dealers for attempted repairs of nonconformities, towing charges,
and the costs of obtaining alternative transportation.
(8) "Informal dispute resolution settlement mechanism" means any
procedure established, employed, utilized, or run by a manufacturer for the purpose of
resolving disputes with consumers regarding any warranty.
(9) "Lemon law rights period" means the period ending one year after
the date of the original delivery of a new motor vehicle to a consumer or the first
12,000 miles of operation after delivery of a new motor vehicle to a consumer, whichever
(10) "Manufacturer" means any person engaged in the business of
constructing or assembling new motor vehicles or engaged in the business of importing
new motor vehicles into the United States for the purpose of selling or distributing new
motor vehicles to new motor vehicle dealers.
(11) "New motor vehicle" means any self-propelled vehicle, primarily
designed for the transportation of persons or property over the public highways, that
was leased or purchased in this state or registered by the original consumer in this
state and on which the original motor vehicle title was issued to the lessor or
purchaser without having been previously issued to any person other than the selling
dealer. If the motor vehicle is a motor home, this article shall apply to the
self-propelled vehicle and chassis, but does not include those portions of the vehicle
designated, used, or maintained primarily as a mobile dwelling, office, or commercial
space. The term "new motor vehicle" does not include motorcycles or trucks
with 10,000 pounds or more gross vehicle weight rating. The term "new motor
vehicle" shall not include any vehicle on which the title and other transfer
documents show a used, rather than new, vehicle. The term "new motor vehicle"
includes a demonstrator or lease-purchase, as long as a manufacturer's warranty was
issued as a condition of sale, unless specifically excluded under this definition.
(12) "New motor vehicle dealer" means a person who holds a dealer
agreement with a manufacturer for the sale of new motor vehicles, who is engaged in the
business of purchasing, selling, servicing, exchanging, leasing, distributing, or
dealing in new motor vehicles, or who is licensed or otherwise authorized to utilize
trademarks or service marks associated with one or more makes of motor vehicles in
connection with such sales. For the purposes of subsection (d) of Code Section 10-1-784,
concerning private civil actions for violations of this article, the term "new
motor vehicle dealer" shall include any person or entity regularly engaged in the
business of leasing new motor vehicles to consumers.
(13) "Nonconformity" means a defect, serious safety defect, or
condition that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of a new motor vehicle to
the consumer, but does not include a defect or condition that is the result of abuse,
neglect, or unauthorized modification or alteration of the new motor vehicle.
(14) "Panel" means a new motor vehicle arbitration panel as
designated in Code Sections 10-1-786 and 10-1-794.
(15) "Purchase price" means in the case of a sale of a new motor
vehicle to a consumer the cash price of the new motor vehicle appearing in the sales
agreement, contract, or leasing agreement, including any reasonable allowance for a
trade-in vehicle. In determining whether the trade-in allowance was reasonable, the
panel may take into account whether the purchase price of the vehicle was at fair market
value or not and make appropriate adjustments to ensure that the consumer is made whole
but not unjustly enriched. In the case of a consumer lease of a new motor vehicle,
"purchase price" means the cash price paid by the lessor to a dealer or
distributor to purchase the new motor vehicle.
(16) "Reasonable offset for use" means an amount directly
attributable to use by the consumer before the consumer requests repurchase or
replacement by the manufacturer pursuant to Code Section 10-1-784. The reasonable offset
for use shall be computed by the number of miles that the vehicle traveled before the
consumer's request of repurchase or replacement multiplied by the purchase price and
divided by 100,000.
(17) "Reasonable number of attempts" under the lemon law rights
period means the definition as provided in Code Section 10-1-784.
(18) "Replacement motor vehicle" means a new motor vehicle that is
identical or reasonably equivalent to the motor vehicle to be replaced, as the motor
vehicle to be replaced existed at the time of purchase or lease.
(19) "Serious safety defect" means a life-threatening malfunction or
(20) "Substantially impair" means to render the new motor vehicle
unreliable, or unsafe for ordinary use, or to diminish the resale value of the new motor
vehicle more than a meaningful amount below the average resale value for comparable
(21) "Warranty" means any express written warranty of the
manufacturer but shall not include any extended coverage purchased by the consumer as a
(a) Each new motor vehicle dealer shall provide an owner's manual which shall
be published by the manufacturer and include a list of the addresses and phone numbers
at which consumers may, at no cost, contact the manufacturer's customer service
personnel who are authorized to direct activities regarding repair of the consumer's
(b) At the time of purchase, the new motor vehicle dealer shall provide the
consumer with a written statement that explains the consumer's rights under this
article. The statement shall be written by the administrator and shall contain
information regarding the procedures and remedies under this article.
(c) For the purposes of this article, if a new motor vehicle has a
nonconformity and the consumer reports the nonconformity during the lemon law rights
period to the manufacturer, its agent, or the new motor vehicle dealer who sold the new
motor vehicle, the vehicle shall be repaired at the manufacturer's expense to correct
the nonconformity regardless of whether such repairs are made after the expiration of
the lemon law rights period. If in any subsequent proceeding under this article it is
determined that the consumer's repair did not qualify under this article, and the
manufacturer was not otherwise obligated to repair the vehicle, the consumer shall be
liable to the manufacturer for the costs of the repair.
(d) Upon request from the consumer, the manufacturer or new motor vehicle
dealer shall provide a copy of any report or computer reading compiled by the
manufacturer's field or zone representative regarding inspection, diagnosis, or
test-drive of the consumer's new motor vehicle.
(e) Each time the consumer's vehicle is returned from being diagnosed or
repaired under the lemon law rights period or under a warranty, the new motor vehicle
dealer shall provide to the consumer a fully itemized, legible statement or repair order
indicating any diagnosis made, and all work performed on the vehicle, including but not
limited to a general description of the problem reported by the consumer or an
identification of the defect or condition, parts and labor, the date and the odometer
reading when the vehicle was submitted for repair, and the date when the vehicle was
made available to the consumer.
(f) No manufacturer, its agent, or new motor vehicle dealer may refuse to
diagnose or repair any nonconformity for the purpose of avoiding liability under this
(g) The lemon law rights period and 30 day out-of-service period shall be
extended by any time that repair services are not available to the consumer as a direct
result of a strike, war, invasion, fire, flood, or other natural disaster.
(1) If the manufacturer, its agent, or the new motor vehicle dealer is
unable to repair or correct any nonconformity in a new motor vehicle after a
reasonable number of attempts, the consumer shall notify the manufacturer by certified
mail, return receipt requested, at the address provided by the manufacturer. The
manufacturer shall, within seven days after receipt of such notification, notify the
consumer of a reasonably accessible repair facility and after delivery of the vehicle
to the designated repair facility by the consumer, the manufacturer shall, within 14
days, conform the motor vehicle to the warranty. If the manufacturer is unable to
repair or correct any nonconformity of the new motor vehicle, the manufacturer shall,
within 30 days of the consumer's written request, by certified mail, return receipt
requested, at the option of the consumer, or the lessor in the event of a leased motor
vehicle, replace or repurchase the new motor vehicle. If the manufacturer fails to
notify the consumer of a reasonably accessible repair facility or perform the repairs
within the time periods prescribed in this subsection, the requirement that the
manufacturer be given a final attempt to cure the nonconformity does not apply.
(2) If a lessor elects replacement, the contractual obligation, except for
those terms of the agreement which identify the vehicle, between the lessor and the
consumer shall not be altered. If a lessor elects repurchase, it shall return to the
consumer a sum equal to the allowance for any trade-in, and down payment or initial
balloon payment, made by the consumer, and all future obligations of the consumer to
the lessor shall cease. In the event a lessor elects to require the manufacturer to
repurchase a leased vehicle, the consumer will remain liable for all lease obligations
arising prior to the date that the lessor elects such replacement, but will have no
future obligations under the lease, and will be liable for no penalty for early
termination. A lessor must elect either a repurchase or replacement within 30 days of
receiving written notice from the consumer that such an election is desired; if the
lessor fails to make such an election within the 30 days, the consumer may make the
election to repurchase or replace and the lessor shall be bound by the consumer's
(3) The replacement motor vehicle shall be identical or reasonably
equivalent to the motor vehicle to be replaced. Such replacement shall include payment
of all collateral charges which the consumer or lessor will incur a second time which
would not have been incurred again except for the replacement, and any and all
incidental costs incurred by the consumer or lessor. In the case of a replacement
motor vehicle, the reasonable offset for use shall be paid by the consumer to the
manufacturer. Compensation for a reasonable offset for use shall be paid by the
consumer to the manufacturer in the event that a replacement motor vehicle is elected.
In the case of a lease where the consumer either has no option to purchase the motor
vehicle at the end of the lease term, or the consumer has an option to purchase the
motor vehicle at the end of the lease term but does not exercise the option, the
lessor shall refund to the consumer the lesser of
(A) the offset for use paid by the consumer to the manufacturer at the time of
delivery of the replacement vehicle, or
(B) the gain realized by the lessor by reason of the difference, if any, between
the anticipated residual value of the original motor vehicle as determined at the
inception of the lease and the realized value of the replacement motor vehicle at
the end of the lease. If the lessor does not realize any gain from the disposition
of the replacement vehicle, there will be no refund due to the consumer from the
The foregoing rules apply only to leases where the consumer performs all of the
consumer's obligations under the lease agreement and the lease terminates upon the
scheduled expiration of the lease term as set forth in the lease agreement or any
mutually agreed upon extension of the lease term. The administrator may provide by
rule under Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure
Act," for determining the manner of calculating the amount of any further charges
or refunds that may apply in the case of leases terminated prematurely either by the
voluntary election of the parties, or involuntarily by the lessor in the event of the
lessee's default, the loss or destruction of the vehicle, or for any other reason.
(4) When repurchasing the new motor vehicle, the manufacturer shall refund
to the consumer all collateral charges and incidental costs. In the event of a
repurchase, purchase price refunds shall be made to the consumer and lien holder of
record, if any, as his or her interests may appear, less a reasonable offset for use.
In the event of a lease, purchase price refunds shall be made to the lessor, less a
reasonable offset for use. If it is determined that the lessee is entitled to a
refund, the consumer's lease agreement with the lessor shall be terminated upon
payment of the refund and no penalty for early termination shall be assessed.
(b) A reasonable number of attempts shall be presumed as a matter of law to
have been undertaken by the manufacturer, its agent, or the new motor vehicle dealer to
repair or correct any nonconformity of a new motor vehicle, if:
(1) a serious safety defect in the braking or steering system has been subject to
repair at least once during the lemon law rights period and has not been corrected;
(2) during any period of 24 months or less, or during any period in which the
vehicle has been driven 24,000 miles or less, whichever occurs first, any other
serious safety defect has been subject to repair two or more times, at least one of
which is during the lemon law rights period, and the nonconformity continues to exist;
(3) during any period of 24 months or less or during any period in which the
vehicle has been driven 24,000 miles or less, whichever occurs first, the same
nonconformity has been subject to repair, three or more times, at least one of which
is during the lemon law rights period, and the nonconformity continues to exist; or
(4) during any period of 24 months or less or during any period in which the
vehicle has been driven 24,000 miles or less, whichever occurs first, the vehicle is
out of service by reason of repair of one or more nonconformities for a cumulative
total of 30 calendar days, at least 15 of them during the lemon law rights period. If
less than 15 days remain under the lemon law rights period when the new motor vehicle
is first brought in for diagnosis or repair, the lemon law rights period as regards
the problem to be diagnosed or repaired shall be extended for a period of 90 days.
(c) For purposes of this article, the lemon law rights period regarding
nonconformities on all new motor vehicles sold in this state shall be for 12 months
following the purchase of the vehicle or for 12,000 miles following the purchase of the
vehicle, whichever occurs first.
(d) This article shall not create and shall not give rise to any cause of
action against and shall not impose any liability upon any new motor vehicle dealer or
distributor except as provided in this Code section. No new motor vehicle dealer or
distributor shall be held liable by the manufacturer or by the consumer for any
collateral charges, damages, costs, purchase price refunds, or vehicle replacements, and
manufacturers and consumers shall not have a cause of action against a new motor vehicle
dealer or distributor under this article. A violation of any duty or responsibility
imposed upon a new motor vehicle dealer or distributor under this article shall
constitute a per the two events described in this subsection occur within 30 days of one another, both
notices may be combined into the same notice.
(c) Upon the resale, either at wholesale or retail, lease, transfer of title,
or other transfer of a motor vehicle with a nonconformity, other than a serious safety
defect, which has not been corrected and which was previously returned after a final
determination, adjudication, or settlement under this article or under a similar statute
of any other state, the manufacturer shall execute and deliver to the transferee before
transfer to a consumer an instrument in writing setting forth information identifying
the nonconformity in a manner to be specified by the administrator; the transferor shall
deliver the instrument to the consumer before transfer.
(d) Upon the resale, either at wholesale or retail, lease, transfer of title,
or other transfer of a motor vehicle found to have a nonconformity under this article
which has been corrected, the manufacturer shall warrant in writing on forms prescribed
by the administrator upon the transfer that the nonconformity has been corrected, and
the manufacturer, its agent, the new motor vehicle dealer, or other transferor shall
execute and deliver to the transferee before transfer an instrument in writing setting
forth information identifying the nonconformity and indicating in a manner to be
specified by the administrator that it has been corrected and providing an express
manufacturer's warranty on the vehicle regarding the nonconformity for 12 months or
12,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
(e) For purposes of this Code section, the term "settlement"
includes an agreement entered into between the manufacturer and the consumer that occurs
after the dispute has been submitted to an informal dispute resolution settlement
mechanism or has been deemed eligible by the administrator for arbitration before a
(a) As provided in Code Section 10-1-794, the administrator may establish a
new motor vehicle arbitration panel or panels to settle disputes between consumers and
manufacturers as provided in this article. The panels shall not be affiliated with any
manufacturer or new motor vehicle dealer and shall have available the services of
persons with automotive technical expertise to assist in resolving disputes under this
(b) The administrator may adopt rules under Chapter 13 of Title 50, the
"Georgia Administrative Procedure Act," for the uniform conduct of
arbitrations by panels and by informal dispute resolution settlement mechanisms under
this article, which rules may include, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) Procedures regarding presentation of oral and written testimony,
witnesses and evidence relevant to the dispute, cross-examination of witnesses, and
representation by counsel. The administrator shall provide by rule for oral hearings,
when appropriate, in panel or informal dispute resolution settlement mechanism
(2) Procedures for production of records and documents requested by a party
which the panel finds are reasonably related to the dispute;
(3) Procedures for issuance of subpoenas on behalf of the panel by the
administrator, which shall be enforced by the superior courts as in Code Section
(4) Procedures regarding written affidavits from employees and agents of a
dealer, a manufacturer, any party, or from other potential witnesses and the
consideration of such affidavits by a panel; and
(5) Records of panel proceedings and hearings shall be open to the public.
(c) A consumer shall exhaust any certified informal dispute resolution
settlement procedure under Code Section 10-1-793 and the new motor vehicle arbitration
panel remedy before filing any superior court action pursuant to Code Section 10-1-788.
(d) The administrator may adopt rules under Chapter 13 of Title 50, the
"Georgia Administrative Procedure Act," to implement this article. Such rules
may include uniform standards by which the panel and any informal dispute resolution
settlement mechanism under Code Section 10-1-793 shall make determinations under this
article, including but not limited to rules which may provide for:
(1) Determining that a nonconformity exists;
(2) Determining that a reasonable number of attempts to repair a
nonconformity have been undertaken; or
(3) Determining that a manufacturer has failed to comply with Code Section
(a) A consumer shall request arbitration under this article by submitting a
request in writing to the administrator. Except as otherwise provided in this article,
disputes under the lemon law rights period shall be eligible for arbitration. The
administrator shall make a reasonable determination of the eligibility of the request
for arbitration and may provide necessary information to the consumer regarding the
consumer's rights and remedies under this article. The administrator may adopt rules
under Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act,"
regarding the eligibility of requests for arbitration. The administrator shall assign a
dispute he deems eligible to a panel.
(b) Manufacturers shall submit to arbitration under this article if the
consumer's dispute is deemed eligible for arbitration by the administrator and by the
(c) The new motor vehicle arbitration panel may reject for arbitration any
dispute that it determines to be frivolous, fraudulent, filed in bad faith, res
judicata, or beyond its authority. Any dispute deemed by the panel to be ineligible for
arbitration due to insufficient evidence may be reconsidered by the panel upon the
submission of other information or documents regarding the dispute that would allegedly
qualify for relief under this article. Following a second review, the panel may reject
the dispute for arbitration if evidence is still clearly insufficient to qualify the
dispute for relief under this article. The administrator may adopt rules under Chapter
13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act," governing
rejection of disputes by a panel. A decision to reject any dispute for arbitration shall
be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the consumer and the
(d) An arbitration panel shall award the remedies under Code Section 10-1-784
if it finds a nonconformity and that a reasonable number of attempts have been
undertaken to correct the nonconformity. The panel may in its discretion award
attorney's fees and technical or expert witness costs to a consumer.
(e) It is an affirmative defense to any claim under this article that:
(1) the alleged nonconformity does not substantially impair the use, value,
or safety of the new motor vehicle to the consumer; or
(2) the alleged nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect, or
unauthorized modifications or alterations of the new motor vehicle.
(f) The panel's decision shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt
requested, to the consumer. The consumer must reject the decision in writing by
certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the panel within 30 days of
receipt of the panel's decision, or he or she shall be deemed to have accepted the
panel's decision. The panel shall immediately notify the manufacturer by certified mail,
return receipt requested, whether the consumer has accepted, rejected, or has been
deemed to have accepted.
(g) Upon receipt of the panel's notice, the manufacturer shall have 40
calendar days to comply with the arbitration panel decision or to file a petition of
appeal in superior court. At the time the petition of appeal is filed, the manufacturer
shall send, by certified mail, a conformed copy of such petition to the administrator.
(h) If, at the end of the 40 calendar day period, neither compliance with nor
a petition to appeal the panel's decision has occurred, the administrator may impose a
fine of up to $1,000.00 per day until compliance occurs or until a maximum penalty of
double the value of the vehicle or $100,000.00, whichever is less, accrues. If the
manufacturer can provide clear and convincing evidence either that any delay or failure
was beyond its control, or that any delay was acceptable to the consumer, the fine shall
not be imposed. If the manufacturer fails to provide such evidence or fails to pay the
fine, the administrator may initiate proceedings against the manufacturer for failure to
pay any accrued fine and may initiate proceedings on behalf of the state to require
specific performance of an arbitration decision under this article. The administrator
shall deposit any fines in the state treasury.
(a) After the manufacturer has received notice of the consumer's acceptance or
rejection, the consumer or the manufacturer shall have 40 days to request a trial de
novo of the arbitration decision in superior court.
(b) If the manufacturer appeals, the court may require the manufacturer to
post security for the consumer's financial loss due to the passage of time for review.
(c) If the manufacturer appeals and the consumer prevails, recovery may
include the monetary value of the award, collateral charges, continuing incidental
costs, if any, and attorney's fees and costs.
(a) Effective July 1, 1990, a fee of $3.00 shall be collected by the new motor
vehicle dealer from the consumer at completion of a sale or a lease of each new motor
vehicle. The fee shall be forwarded quarterly to the Office of Planning and Budget for
deposit in the new motor vehicle arbitration account created in the state treasury. The
first quarterly payments are due and payable on October 1, 1990, and shall be mailed by
the dealer not later than October 10; thereafter, all payments are due and payable the
first of the month in each quarter and shall be mailed by the dealer not later than the
tenth day of such month. Moneys in the account shall be used for the purposes of this
article, subject to appropriation. Funds in the new motor vehicle arbitration account
shall be transferred to the general treasury at the end of each fiscal year. One dollar
of each fee collected shall be retained by the dealer to cover administrative costs.
(b) At the end of each fiscal year, the administrator shall prepare a report
listing the annual revenue generated and the expenses incurred in implementing and
operating the arbitration program under this chapter. The Office of Planning and Budget
shall provide the administrator with the figures regarding revenue generated.
(c) It is the intent of the General Assembly that any consumer who, on or
after July 1, 1990, but prior to January 1, 1991, pays or should have paid the fee
designated in this Code section shall be entitled to utilize the remedies provided in
Code Sections 10-1-786, 10-1-787, and 10-1-788 in addition to any other remedies which
exist in law or in equity regarding defective automobiles, notwithstanding the effective
dates of this article or the effective dates of any provisions of this article.
A violation of this article, or any failure of any person, including a manufacturer or
its agents, to honor any express warranty, automotive or otherwise, issued by that person,
regardless of whether or not such warranty was purchased as a separate item by the
consumer and regardless of whether or not any dispute under the warranty is deemed
eligible for arbitration under this article, shall constitute an unfair and deceptive act
or practice and a consumer transaction under Part 2 of Article 15 of this chapter. In
determining whether there is an unfair and deceptive act or practice under this Code
section, the principles in this article regarding a reasonable number of attempts may
serve as guidelines. All public and private remedies provided under Part 2 of Article 15
of this chapter shall be available to enforce this article, subject to the affirmative
defenses provided in Code Section 10-1-787, and except as provided in Code Section
Any agreement entered into by a consumer for the purchase of a new motor vehicle that
waives, limits, or disclaims the rights set forth in this article shall be void as
contrary to public policy. Said rights shall extend to a subsequent transferee of a new
Nothing in this article shall limit anyone from pursuing other rights or remedies under
any other law, except as otherwise provided in this article.