Virginia’s Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act set forth in Virginia Code § 59.1-207.9, et. seq. is also known as Virginia’s Motor Vehicle Lemon Law.
This law covers new motor vehicles defined as only passenger cars, pickup or panel trucks, motorcycles, self-propelled motorized chassis of motor homes and mopeds as defined in the Virginia Code purchased or leased by consumer. Generally, a consumer under the law is a purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, or leasee of a motor vehicle used in substantial part for personal, family, or household purposes. The Act also includes as a purchaser 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 warranty.
If the new motor vehicle has a non-conformity that does not conform to the motor vehicle’s warranty, a defect or condition, which is a significant impairment that impairs the use, market value, or safety of a motor vehicle, the manufacturer is required to repair or correct the defect or condition. The non-conformity defect, or condition does not have to affect the driveability of the vehicle if it otherwise fits the definition of significant impairment. If the manufacturer fails to repair or correct the defect or condition, the consumer may be able to avail themselves of the rights afforded by the Virginia Motor Vehicle Lemon Law during the Virginia Lemon Law rights period of 18 months following the date of the original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer.
The consumer must give notice to the manufacturer of the defect or defects. The manufacturer is given an opportunity to repair the defect. If the manufacturer fails to correct a defect or condition, which significantly impairs the use, market value, or safety of the motor vehicle, after a reasonable number of attempts during the lemon law rights period, the consumer may under the Virginia Motor Vehicle Lemon Law receive a comparable replacement motor vehicle from the manufacturer acceptable to the consumer or return the motor vehicle to the manufacturer for a refund less a reasonable allowance for the consumer’s use of the vehicle up to the date of the first notice of the defect to the manufacturer, its agents, or its dealer.
The consumer can create a presumption that a manufacturer has not corrected a non-conformity, a defect or a condition after a reasonable number of attempts if the consumer can show either 1) the same non-conformity or defect, which still exists has been subject to repair three or more times without successful repair; 2) a serious safety defect, which still exists that has been subject to repair one or more times without successful repair; or 3) the motor vehicle is out of service due to repair for a cumulative total of thirty (30) days. If the consumer can make such a showing and the manufacturer does not provide a replacement vehicle or refund, the consumer may bring a civil suit within the Virginia Lemon Law period. If a consumer is successful in a civil action, the consumer may recover reasonable attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, and court costs.
If you think you have a lemon for a new motor vehicle, keep good records, give written notice of the problem to the manufacturer, keep in mind the eighteen (18) month Virginia Lemon Law period, and if your vehicle problems are not being addressed and resolved, consider seeking the assistance of an attorney.