As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the
respective meanings as indicated:
- (1) Consumer.
- The purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, of a new or
previously untitled motor vehicle used in substantial part for
personal, family, or household purposes, and any other person
entitled by the terms of such warranty to enforce the obligations of
- (2) Motor vehicle.
- Every vehicle intended primarily for use and operation on the
public highways which is self-propelled; provided, however, that the
term "motor vehicle" shall not apply to motor homes or to
any motor vehicle having a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight
rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or more.
- (3) Manufacturer.
- The person, firm, or corporation engaged in the business of
manufacturing, importing and/or distributing motor vehicles to be
made available to a motor vehicle dealer for retail sale.
- (4) Motor vehicle dealer or Authorized dealer.
- The person, firm, or corporation operating under a dealer
agreement from a manufacturer, importer, or distributor and who is
engaged regularly in the business of buying, selling or exchanging
motor vehicles in this state and who has in this state an
established place of business.
- (5) Express warranty.
- A written warranty, so labeled, issued by the manufacturer of a
new motor vehicle, including any terms or conditions precedent to
the enforcement of obligations under that warranty.
- (6) Nonconforming condition.
- Any condition of a motor vehicle which shall not be in conformity
with the terms of any express warranty issued by the manufacturer to
a consumer and which: (i) significantly impairs the use, value or
safety of the motor vehicle and (ii) occurs or arises solely in the
course of the ordinary use of the motor vehicle, and which does not
arise or occur as a result of abuse, neglect, modification, or
alteration of the motor vehicle not authorized by the manufacturer,
nor from any accident or other damage to the motor vehicle which
occurs or arises after such motor vehicle was delivered by an
authorized dealer to the consumer.
- (7) Notice of a nonconforming condition.
- A written statement which shall be delivered to the manufacturer
and which shall describe the subject motor vehicle, the
nonconforming condition, and shall describe all previous attempts to
correct such nonconforming condition by identifying the person, firm
or corporation who or which made such attempt, and the time when
such attempt was made.
- (8) Lemon law rights period.
- The period ending one year after the date of the original delivery
of a motor vehicle to a consumer or the first 12,000 miles of
operation, whichever first occurs.
Obligations of manufacturer.
(a) If a new motor vehicle does not conform to any applicable express
warranty, and the consumer delivers the motor vehicle to the
manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer, and gives notice of
the nonconforming condition during the lemon law rights period, the
manufacturer of the motor vehicle shall be obligated to make such
repairs to the motor vehicle as shall be necessary to remedy any
nonconforming condition thereof. Such repairs shall be required even
after the expiration of the lemon law rights period provided that notice
of the nonconforming condition was first given during the lemon law
rights period and provided further that the manufacturer's obligation to
repair the nonconforming condition shall not extend beyond the period of
24 months following delivery of the vehicle or 24,000 miles, whichever
(b) If, after reasonable attempts, the manufacturer, its agent, or
its authorized dealer is unable to conform the motor vehicle to any
express warranty by repairing or correcting a nonconforming condition of
the motor vehicle which first occurred during the lemon law rights
period, the manufacturer shall, at the option of the consumer, replace
the motor vehicle with a comparable new motor vehicle or shall accept
return of the vehicle from the consumer and refund to the consumer the
- (1) The full contract price including, but not limited to, charges
for undercoating, dealer preparation and transportation charges, and
installed options, plus the nonrefundable portions of extended
warranties and service contracts;
- (2) All collateral charges, including but not limited to, sales
tax, license and registration fees, and similar government charges;
- (3) All finance charges incurred by the consumer after he first
reported the nonconformity to the manufacturer, its agent, or its
authorized dealer; and
- (4) Any incidental damages which shall include the reasonable cost
of alternative transportation during the period that the consumer is
without the use of the motor vehicle because of the nonconforming
condition. There shall be offset against any monetary recovery of
the consumer a reasonable allowance for the consumer's use of the
vehicle. Refunds shall be made to the consumer, and any lien
holders, as their interests may appear. A reasonable allowance for
use is that amount directly attributable to use by the consumer
before his first report of the nonconformity to the manufacturer,
agent, or authorized dealer, and must be calculated by multiplying
the full purchase price of the motor vehicle by a fraction having as
its denominator 100,000 and having as its numerator the number of
miles that the vehicle travelled before the first report of
(c) It shall be presumed that reasonable attempts to correct a
nonconforming condition have been allowed by the consumer if, during the
period of 24 months following delivery of the vehicle or 24,000 miles,
whichever first occurs, either of the following events shall have
- (1) The same nonconforming condition has been subject to repair
attempts three or more times by the manufacturer, its agents or its
authorized dealers, at least one of which occurred during the lemon
law rights period, plus a final attempt by the manufacturer, and the
same nonconforming condition continues to exist; or
- (2) The motor vehicle is out of service and in the custody of the
manufacturer, its agent, or an authorized dealer due to repair
attempts (including the final repair attempt), one of which occurred
during the lemon law rights period, for a cumulative total of 30
calendar days, unless such repair could not be performed because of
conditions beyond the control of the manufacturer, its agents or
authorized dealers, such as war, invasion, strike, fire, flood, or
other natural disaster.
Cause of action against manufacturer.
(a) A consumer sustaining damages as a proximate consequence of the
failure by a manufacturer to perform its obligations imposed under this
chapter may bring a civil action against the manufacturer to enforce the
provisions of this chapter. Prior to the commencement of any such
proceeding a consumer must give notice of a nonconforming condition by
certified United States mail to the manufacturer and demand correction
or repair of the nonconforming condition. If at the time such notice of
a nonconforming condition is given to the manufacturer, a presumption
has arisen that reasonable attempts to correct a nonconforming condition
have been allowed, the manufacturer shall be given a final opportunity
to cure the nonconforming condition. The manufacturer shall within seven
calendar days of receiving the written notice of nonconforming condition
notify the consumer of a reasonably accessible repair facility. After
delivery of the new vehicle to the authorized repair facility by the
consumer, the manufacturer shall attempt to correct the nonconforming
condition and conform the vehicle to the express warranty within a
period not to exceed 14 calendar days. If a manufacturer has established
an informal dispute settlement procedure which is in compliance with
federal rules and regulations, a consumer must first exhaust any remedy
afforded to the consumer under the informal dispute procedure of the
manufacturer before a cause of action may be instituted under the
provisions of this chapter.
(b) It shall be an affirmative defense to any claim against the
manufacturer under this chapter that: (i) an alleged nonconforming
condition does not significantly impair the use, market value, or safety
of the motor vehicle; or (ii) a nonconforming condition is a result of
abuse, neglect, or any modification or alteration of a motor vehicle by
a consumer that is not authorized by the manufacturer.
(c) If it is determined that the manufacturer has breached its
obligations imposed under this chapter, then the consumer shall be
entitled to recover, in addition to the remedy provided under Section
8-20A-2 above, an additional award for reasonable attorneys fees.
Resale of returned motor vehicle.
If a motor vehicle has been returned to the manufacturer under the
provisions of this chapter 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 in this state
- (1) The manufacturer discloses in writing to the subsequent
purchaser the fact that the motor vehicle was returned under the
provisions of this chapter and the nature of the nonconformity to
the vehicle warranty.
- (2) The manufacturer returns the title of the motor vehicle to the
Alabama Department of Revenue advising of the return of the motor
vehicle under provisions of this chapter with an application for
title in the name of the manufacturer. The Department of Revenue
shall brand the title issued to the manufacturer and all subsequent
titles to the motor vehicle with the following statement:
- THIS VEHICLE WAS RETURNED TO THE MANUFACTURER BECAUSE IT DID NOT
CONFORM TO ITS WARRANTY.
No dealership liability.
Nothing in this chapter imposes any liability upon a motor vehicle
dealer or authorized dealer or creates a cause of action by a consumer
against a motor vehicle dealer or authorized dealer. A motor vehicle
dealer or authorized dealer may not be made a party defendant in any
action involving or relating to this chapter. The manufacturer shall not
charge back or require reimbursement by a motor vehicle dealer or
authorized dealer for any costs, including, but not limited to, any
refunds or vehicle replacements, incurred by the manufacturer arising
out of this chapter.
Statute of limitations.
Any action brought under this chapter against the
manufacturer shall be commenced within three years following the date of
original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer.