Virginia State Statutes
Title 59.1, Chapter 17.3
Trade And Commerce
Virginia Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act
59.1-207.9 Short title.
This chapter may be cited as the Virginia Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act.
The General Assembly recognizes that a motor vehicle is a major consumer purchase, and
there is no doubt that a defective motor vehicle creates a hardship for the consumer. It
is the intent of the General Assembly that a good faith motor vehicle warranty complaint
by a consumer should be resolved by the manufacturer, or its agent, within a specified
period of time. It is further the intent of the General Assembly to provide the statutory
procedures whereby a consumer may receive a replacement motor vehicle, or a full refund,
for a motor vehicle which cannot be brought into conformity with the express warranty
issued by the manufacturer. However, nothing in this chapter shall in any way limit the
rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a consumer under any other law.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
"Collateral charges" means any sales-related or lease-related charges
including but not limited to sales tax, license fees, registration fees, title fees,
finance charges and interest, transportation charges, dealer preparation charges or any
other charges for service contracts, undercoating, rust proofing or installed options,
not recoverable from a third party. If a refund involves a lease, "collateral
charges" means, in addition to any of the above, capitalized cost reductions,
credits and allowances for any trade-in vehicles, fees to another to obtain the lease,
and insurance or other costs expended by the lessor for the benefit of the lessee.
"Comparable motor vehicle" means a 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 with an offset from this value for a
reasonable allowance for its use.
"Consumer" means the purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, or the
lessee, of a motor vehicle used in substantial part for personal, family, or household
purposes, and any person to whom such motor vehicle is transferred for the same purposes
during the duration of any warranty applicable to such motor vehicle, and any other
person entitled by the terms of such warranty to enforce the obligations of the
"Incidental damages" shall have the same meaning as provided in 8.2-715.
"Lemon law rights period" means the period ending eighteen months after the
date of the original delivery to the consumer of a new motor vehicle. This shall be the
period during which the consumer can report any nonconformity to the manufacturer and
pursue any rights provided for under this chapter.
"Lien" means a security interest in a motor vehicle.
"lien holder" means a person, partnership, association, corporation or
entity with a security interest in a motor vehicle pursuant to a lien.
"Manufacturer" means a person, partnership, association, corporation or
entity engaged in the business of manufacturing or assembling motor vehicles, or of
distributing motor vehicles to motor vehicle dealers.
"Manufacturer's express warranty" means the written warranty, so labeled,
of the manufacturer of a new automobile, including any terms or conditions precedent to
the enforcement of obligations under that warranty.
"Motor vehicle" means only passenger cars, pickup or panel trucks,
motorcycles, self-propelled motorized chassis of motor homes and mopeds as those terms
are defined in 46.2-100 and demonstrators or leased vehicles with which a warranty was
"Motor vehicle dealer" shall have the same meaning as provided in
"Nonconformity" means a failure to conform with a warranty, a defect or a
condition, including those that do not affect the drivability of the vehicle, which
significantly impairs the use, market value, or safety of a motor vehicle.
"Notify" or "notification" means that the manufacturer shall be
deemed to have been notified under this chapter if a written complaint of the defect or
defects has been mailed to it or it has responded to the consumer in writing regarding a
complaint, or a factory representative has either inspected the vehicle or met with the
consumer or an authorized dealer regarding the nonconformity.
"Reasonable allowance for use" shall not exceed one-half of the amount
allowed per mile by the Internal Revenue Service, as provided by regulation, revenue
procedure, or revenue ruling promulgated pursuant to 162 of the Internal Revenue Code,
for use of a personal vehicle for business purposes, plus an amount to account for any
loss to the fair market value of the vehicle resulting from damage beyond normal wear
and tear, unless the damage resulted from nonconformity to any warranty.
"Serious safety defect" means a life-threatening malfunction or
nonconformity that impedes the consumer's ability to control or operate the new motor
vehicle for ordinary use or reasonable intended purposes or creates a risk of fire or
"Significant impairment" means to render the new motor vehicle unfit,
unreliable or unsafe for ordinary use or reasonable intended purposes.
"Warranty" means any implied warranty or any written warranty of the
manufacturer, or any affirmations of fact or promise made by the manufacturer in
connection with the sale or lease of a motor vehicle that become part of the basis of
the bargain. The term "warranty" pertains to the obligations of the
manufacturer in relation to materials, workmanship, and fitness of a motor vehicle for
ordinary use or reasonable intended purposes throughout the duration of the lemon law
rights period as defined under this section.
59.1-207.12 Conformity to all warranties.
If a new motor vehicle does not conform to all warranties, and the consumer reports the
nonconformity to the manufacturer, its agents, or its authorized dealer during the
manufacturer's warranty period, the manufacturer, its agent or its authorized dealer shall
make such repairs as are necessary to conform the vehicle to such warranties,
notwithstanding the fact that such repairs are made after the expiration of such
manufacturer's warranty period.
59.1-207.13 Nonconformity of motor vehicles.
A. If the manufacturer, its agents or authorized dealers do not conform the
motor vehicle to any applicable warranty by repairing or correcting any defect or
condition, including those that do not affect the drivability of the vehicle, which
significantly impairs the use, market value, or safety of the motor vehicle to the
consumer after a reasonable number of attempts during the lemon law rights period, the
1. Replace the motor vehicle with a comparable motor vehicle acceptable to
the consumer, or
2. Accept return of the motor vehicle and refund to the consumer, lessor,
and any lien holder as their interest may appear the full contract price, including
all collateral charges, incidental damages, less a reasonable allowance for the
consumer's use of the vehicle up to the date of the first notice of nonconformity that
is given to the manufacturer, its agents or authorized dealer. Refunds or replacements
shall be made to the consumer, lessor or lien holder, if any, as their interests may
appear. The consumer shall have the unconditional right to choose a refund rather than
a replacement vehicle and to drive the motor vehicle until he receives either the
replacement vehicle or the refund. The subtraction of a reasonable allowance for use
shall apply to either a replacement or refund of the motor vehicle. Mileage, expenses,
and reasonable loss of use necessitated by attempts to conform such motor vehicle to
the express warranty may be recovered by the consumer.
A1. In the case of a replacement of or refund for a leased vehicle, in
addition to any other damages provided in this chapter, the motor vehicle shall be
returned to the manufacturer and the consumer's written lease shall be terminated by the
lessor without penalty to the consumer. The lessor shall transfer title to the
manufacturer as necessary to effectuate the consumer's rights pursuant to this chapter,
whether the consumer chooses vehicle replacement or a refund.
B. It shall be presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been
undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to any warranty and that the motor vehicle is
significantly impaired if during the period of eighteen months following the date of
original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer either:
1. The same nonconformity has been subject to repair three or more times by
the manufacturer, its agents or its authorized dealers and the same nonconformity
continues to exist;
2. The nonconformity is a serious safety defect and has been subject to
repair one or more times by the manufacturer, its agent or its authorized dealer and
the same nonconformity continues to exist; or
3. The motor vehicle is out of service due to repair for a cumulative total
of thirty calendar days, unless such repairs could not be performed because of
conditions beyond the control of the manufacturer, its agents or authorized dealers,
including war, invasion, strike, fire, flood or other natural disasters.
C. The lemon law rights period shall be extended if the manufacturer has been
notified but the nonconformity has not been effectively repaired by the manufacturer, or
its agent, by the expiration of the lemon law rights period.
D. The manufacturer shall clearly and conspicuously disclose to the consumer,
in the warranty or owner's manual, that written notification of the nonconformity to the
manufacturer is required before the consumer may be eligible for a refund or replacement
of the vehicle under this chapter. The manufacturer shall include with the warranty or
owner's manual the name and address to which the consumer shall send such written
E. It shall be the responsibility of the consumer, or his representative,
prior to availing himself of the provisions of this section, to notify the manufacturer
of the need for the correction or repair of the nonconformity, unless the manufacturer
has been notified as defined in 59.1-207.11. If the manufacturer or factory
representative has not been notified of the conditions set forth in subsection B of this
section and any of the conditions set forth in subsection B of this section already
exists, the manufacturer shall be given an additional opportunity, not to exceed fifteen
days, to correct or repair the nonconformity. If notification shall be mailed to an
authorized dealer, the authorized dealer shall upon receipt forward such notification to
F. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit or impair the rights
and remedies of a consumer under any other law.
G. It is an affirmative defense to any claim under this chapter that:
1. An alleged nonconformity does not significantly impair the use, market
value, or safety of the motor vehicle; or
2. A nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized
modification or alteration of a motor vehicle by a consumer.
59.1-207.14 Action to enforce provisions of chapter.
Any consumer who suffers loss by reason of a violation of any provision of this chapter
may bring a civil action to enforce such provision. Any consumer who is successful in such
an action or any defendant in any frivolous action brought by a consumer shall recover
reasonable attorney's fees, expert witness fees and court costs incurred by bringing such
59.1-207.15 Informal dispute settlement procedure.
A. If a manufacturer provides an informal dispute settlement procedure, it
shall be the consumer's choice whether or not to use it prior to availing himself of his
rights under this chapter.
B. If a dispute settlement procedure is resorted to by the consumer and the
decision is for a refund or a comparable motor vehicle, the manufacturer shall have
forty days from its receipt of the consumer's acceptance of the decision or from the
date of a court order to comply with the terms of the decision.
C. In any action brought because of the manufacturer's failure to comply with
the decision, within the scope of the procedure's authority, rendered as a result of a
dispute resolution proceeding or a court order, the court may triple the value of the
award stipulated in the decision as provided for in this chapter, plus award other
equitable relief the court deems appropriate, including additional attorney's fees.
59.1-207.16 Action to be brought within certain time.
Any action brought under this chapter shall be commenced within the lemon law rights
period following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer;
however, any consumer whose good faith attempts to settle the dispute have not resulted in
the satisfactory correction or repair of the nonconformity, replacement of the motor
vehicle or refund to the consumer of the amount described in subdivision 2 of subsection A
of 59.1-207.13, shall have twelve months from the date of the final action taken by the
manufacturer in its dispute settlement procedure or within the lemon law rights period,
whichever is longer, to file an action in the proper court, provided the consumer has
rejected the manufacturer's final action.
59.1-207.16:1 Disclosure of returned vehicles; penalty.
A. If a motor vehicle that is returned to the manufacturer or distributor
either under this chapter or by judgment, decree, or arbitration award in this or any
other state and is then transferred by a manufacturer or distributor to a dealer,
licensed under Chapter 15 (46.2-1500 et seq.) of Title 46.2, in Virginia, the
manufacturer or distributor shall disclose this information to the Virginia dealer.
B. If the returned vehicle is then made available for resale or for another
lease, the manufacturer shall, prior to sale or lease, disclose in writing in a clear
and conspicuous manner, on a separate piece of paper in ten-point capital type, to the
Virginia dealer that this motor vehicle was returned to the manufacturer, distributor or
factory branch, the nature of the defect which resulted in the return, and the condition
of the motor vehicle at the time of transfer to the Virginia dealer. It shall be the
responsibility of the dealer that receives this disclosure to give notice of its
contents to any prospective purchaser or lessee prior to sale or lease, and to transfer
the disclosure, or a copy thereof, to the next purchaser or lessee. A dealer's
responsibility under this section shall cease upon the sale or lease of the affected
motor vehicle to the first purchaser or lessee not for resale or lease.
C. Any manufacturer or distributor who violates this section of the Motor
Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.