Maine Lemon Law Statutes...
Maine Lemon Laws and the federal Lemon Law (the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act) provide for compensation to Maine consumers of defective automobiles and trucks and other vehicles and products including motorcycles, RV's, boats, computers and other consumer appliances and products. To qualify under the Maine Lemon Law or the Federal Lemon Law, you must generally have a product that suffered multiple repair attempts under the manufacturer's factory warranty. Lemon Law compensation can include a refund, replacement or cash
Maine State Statutes
Statutes Annotated, Tit. 10, §§1161-1169
As used in this
chapter, unless the context indicates otherwise, the following terms have the
Consumer. "Consumer" means the purchaser, other than for purposes of
resale, or the lessee, of a motor vehicle, any person to whom the motor vehicle
is transferred during the duration of an express warranty applicable to the
motor vehicle and any other person entitled by the terms of the warranty to
enforce the obligations of the warranty, except that the term
"consumer" shall not include any governmental entity, or any business
or commercial enterprise which registers three or more motor vehicles.
Manufacturer. "Manufacturer" means manufacturer, importer, distributor
or anyone who is named as the warrantor on an express written warranty on a
Motor Vehicle. "Motor vehicle" means any motor driven vehicle,
designed for the conveyance of passengers or property on the public highways,
which is sold or leased in this State, except that the term “motor vehicle”
does not include any commercial vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 8,500
pounds or more.
Reasonable allowance for use. "Reasonable allowance for use" means
that amount obtained by multiplying the total purchase price of the vehicle by a
fraction having as its denominator 100,000 and having as it numerator the number
of miles that the vehicle traveled prior to the manufacturer’s acceptance of
State-certified arbitration. "State-certified arbitration" means the
informal dispute settlement procedure administered by the Department of the
Attorney General which arbitrates consumer complaints dealing with new motor
vehicles that may be so defective as to qualify for equitable relief under the
Maine lemon laws.
Consumer Rights. Nothing in this chapter in any way limits the rights or
remedies which are otherwise available to a consumer under any other law.
Manufacturers, distributors, agents and dealers. Nothing in this chapter in any
way limits the rights or remedies of franchisees under chapter 204 or other
Waivers void. Any agreement entered into by a consumer which waives, limits or
disclaims the rights set forth in this chapter shall be void as contrary to
Repair of nonconformities. If a new motor vehicle does not conform to all
express warranties, the manufacturer, its agent or authorized dealer shall make
those repairs necessary to conform the vehicle to the express warranties if the
consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, its agent or authorized
dealer during the term of the express warranties, within a period of 2 years
following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to a consumer, or
during the first 18,000 miles of operation, whichever is the earlier date. This
obligation exists notwithstanding the fact that the repairs are made after the
expiration of the appropriate time period.
Failure to make effective repair. If the manufacturer or its agents or
authorized dealers are unable to conform the motor vehicle to any applicable
express warranty by repairing or correcting any defect or condition, or
combination of defects or conditions, which substantially impairs the use,
safety or value of the motor vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts, the
manufacturer shall either replace the motor vehicle with a comparable new motor
vehicle or accept return of the vehicle from the consumer and make a refund to
the consumer and lien holder, if any, as their interests may appear. The
consumer may reject any offered replacement and receive instead a refund. The
refund shall consist of the following items, less a reasonable allowance for use
of the vehicle:
The full purchase price or, if a leased vehicle, the lease payments made to
date, including any paid finance charges on the purchased or leased vehicle;
All collateral charges, including, but not limited to, sales tax, license and
registration fees and similar government charges; and
Costs incurred by the consumer for towing and storage of the vehicle and for
procuring alternative transportation while the vehicle was out of service by
reason of repair.
The provisions of
this section shall not affect the obligations of a consumer under a loan or
sales contract or the secured interest of any secured party. The secured party
shall consent to the replacement of the security interest with a corresponding
security interest on a replacement motor vehicle which is accepted by the
consumer in exchange for the motor vehicle, if the replacement motor vehicle is
comparable in value to the original motor vehicle. If, for any reason, the
security interest in the new motor vehicle having a defect or condition is not
able to be replaced with a corresponding security interest on a new motor
vehicle accepted by the consumer, the consumer shall accept a refund. Refunds
required under this section shall be made to the consumer and the secured party,
if any, as their interests exist at the time the refund is to be made.
Similarly, refunds to a lessor and lessee shall be made as their interests exist
at the time the refund is to be made.
Reasonable number of attempts; presumption. There is a presumption that a
reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to
the applicable express warranties if:
The same nonconformity has been subject to repair 3 or more times by the
manufacturer or its agents or authorized dealers within the express warranty
term, during the period of 2 years following the date of original delivery of
the motor vehicle to a consumer or during the first 18,000 miles of operation,
whichever is the earlier date, and at least 2 of those times the same agent or
dealer attempted the repair but the nonconformity continues to exist; or
The vehicle is out of service by reason of repair by the manufacturer, its
agents or authorized dealer, of any defect or condition or combination of
defects for a cumulative total of 15 or more business days during that warranty
term or the appropriate time period, whichever is the earlier date.
Final opportunity to repair. If the manufacturer or his agents have been unable
to make the repairs necessary to conform the vehicle to the express warranties,
the consumer shall notify, in writing, the manufacturer or the authorized dealer
of his desire for a refund or replacement. For the seven business days following
receipt by the dealer or the manufacturer of this notice, the manufacturer shall
have a final opportunity to correct or repair any nonconformities. This final
repair shall be at a repair facility that is reasonably accessible to the
consumer. This repair effort shall not stay the time period within which the
manufacturer must provide an arbitration hearing pursuant to 1165.
Time limit; extension. The term of an express warranty, the one-year and
two-year periods following delivery of the 15-day period provided in subsection
3, paragraph B, shall be extended by any period of time during which repair
services are not available to the consumer because of a war, invasion, strike or
fire, flood or other natural disaster.
Dealer liability. Nothing in this chapter may be construed as imposing any
liability on a dealer or creating a cause of action by a consumer against a
dealer under this section, except regarding any written express warranties made
by the dealer apart from the manufacturer’s own warranties.
Disclosure of notice requirement. No consumer may be required to notify the
manufacturer of a claim under this section, unless the manufacturer has clearly
and conspicuously disclosed to the consumer, in the warranty or owner’s
manual, that written notification of the nonconformity is required before the
consumer may be eligible for a refund or replacement of the vehicle. The
manufacturer shall include with the warranty or owner’s manual the name and
address to which the consumer shall send the written notification.
Notification of Dealer. Consumers may also satisfy a manufacturer’s notice
requirement by notifying in writing the authorized dealer of a claim under this
section. The dealer shall act as the manufacturer’s agent and immediately
communicate to the manufacturer the consumer’s claim.
Disclosure at time of resale. No motor vehicle which is returned to the
manufacturer under subsection 2, may be resold without clear and conspicuous
written disclosure to any subsequent purchaser, whether that purchaser is a
consumer or a dealer, of the following information:
That the motor vehicle was returned to the manufacturer under this chapter;
That the motor vehicle did not conform to the manufacturer’s express
The ways in which the motor vehicle did not conform to the manufacturer’s
It is an
affirmative defense to any claim under this chapter that:
Lack of impairment. An alleged nonconformity does not substantially impair the
use, safety or value of the motor vehicle; or
Abuse. A nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized
modifications or alterations of a motor vehicle by anyone other than the
manufacturer, its agents or authorized dealers since delivery to the consumer.
If a manufacturer
has established an informal dispute settlement procedure which complies in all
respects with the provisions of 16 CFR, Part 703, as from time to time amended,
the provisions of section 1163, subsection 2, concerning refunds or replacement
shall not apply to any consumer who has not first resorted to that procedure or
to state-certified arbitration. This requirement shall be satisfied 40 days
after notification to the informal dispute settlement procedure of the dispute
or when the procedure’s duties under 16 CFR, Part 703.5(d) are completed,
whichever occurs sooner.
1166 Unfair or
deceptive trade practice.
A violation of
any of the provisions of this chapter shall be considered prima facie evidence
of an unfair or deceptive trade practice under Title 5, chapter 10.
In the case of a
consumer’s successful action to enforce any liability under this chapter, a
court may award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred.
1168 New car
For the purposes
of this chapter only, the following apply to leases of new motor vehicles.
Warranties. If express warranties are regularly furnished to purchasers of
substantially the same kind of motor vehicles:
Those warranties shall be deemed to apply to the leased motor vehicles; and
The consumer lessee shall be deemed to be the first purchaser of the motor
vehicle for the purpose of any warranty provisions limiting warranty benefits to
the original purchaser.
Lessee’s rights. The lessee of a motor vehicle has the same rights under this
chapter against the manufacturer and any person making express warranties that
the lessee would have under this chapter if the vehicle had been purchased by
the lessee. The manufacturer and any person making express warranties have the
same duties and obligations under this chapter with respect to the vehicle that
the manufacturer and other person would have under this chapter if the goods had
been sold to the lessee.
State-certified, new car arbitration.
Neutral new car arbitration. All manufacturers shall submit to state-certified,
new car arbitration if arbitration is requested by the consumer within 2 years
from the date of original delivery to the consumer of a new motor vehicle or
during the first 18,000 miles of operation, whichever comes first.
State-certified arbitration shall be performed by one or more neutral
arbitrators selected by the Department of the Attorney General operating in
accordance with the rules promulgated pursuant to this chapter. The Attorney
General may contract with an independent entity to provide arbitration or the
Attorney General’s office may appoint neutral arbitrators. Each party to an
arbitration is entitled to one rejection of a proposed arbitrator.
Written findings. Each arbitration shall result in a written finding of whether
the motor vehicle in dispute meets the standards set forth by this chapter for
vehicles that are required to be replaced or refunded. This finding shall be
issued within 45 days of receipt by the Department of the Attorney General of a
properly completed written request by a consumer for state-certified arbitration
under this section. All findings of fact issuing from a state-certified
arbitration shall be taken as admissible evidence of whether the standards set
forth in this chapter for vehicles required to be refunded or replaced have been
met in any subsequent action brought by either party ensuing from the matter
considered in the arbitration. The finding reporting date may be extended by 5
days if the arbitrator seeks an independent evaluation of the motor vehicle.
Administered by Attorney General. The Department of the Attorney General shall
promulgate rules governing the proceedings of state-certified arbitration which
shall promote fairness and efficiency. These rules shall include, but are not
limited to, a requirement of the personal objectivity of each arbitrator in the
results of the dispute that that arbitrator will hear, and the protection of the
right of each party to present its case and to be in attendance during any
presentation made by the other party.
Consumer arbitration relief. If a motor vehicle is found by state-certified
arbitration to have met the standards set forth in section 1163, subsection 2,
for vehicles required to be replaced or refunded, and if the manufacturer of the
motor vehicle is found to have failed to provide the refund or replacement as
required, the manufacturer shall, within 21 days from the receipt of a finding,
deliver the refund or replacement, including the costs and collateral charges
set forth in section 1163, subsection 2, or appeal the finding in Superior
Court. For good cause, a manufacturer may seek from the Department of the
Attorney General an extension of the time within which it must deliver to the
consumer a replacement vehicle.
Appeal of arbitration decision. No appeal by a manufacturer or consumer of the
arbitrator’s findings may be heard unless the petition for appeal is filed
with the Superior Court of the county in which the sale occurred, within 21 days
of issuance of the finding of the state-certified arbitration.
In the event that
any state-certified arbitration resulting in an award of a refund or replacement
is upheld by the court, recovery by the consumer may include continuing damages
up to the amount of $25 per day for each day subsequent to the day the motor
vehicle was returned to the manufacturer, pursuant to section 1163, that the
vehicle was out of use as a direct result of any nonconformity, not issuing from
owner negligence, accident, vandalism or any attempt to repair or substantially
modify the vehicle by a person other than the manufacturer, its agent or
authorized dealer, provided that the manufacturer did not make a comparable
vehicle available to the consumer free of charge.
In addition to
any other recovery, any prevailing consumer shall be awarded reasonable
attorney’s fees and costs. If the court finds that the manufacturer did not
have any reasonable basis for its appeal or that the appeal was frivolous, the
court shall double the amount of the total award to the consumer.
Consumer’s rights if arbitrator denies relief. The provisions of this chapter
shall not be construed to limit or restrict in any way the rights or remedies
provided to consumers under this chapter or any other state law. In addition, if
any consumer is dissatisfied with any finding of state-certified arbitration,
the consumer shall have the right to apply to the manufacturer’s informal
dispute settlement procedure, if the consumer has not already done so, or may
appeal that finding to the Superior Court of the county in which the sale
occurred within 21 days of the decision.
Disclosure of consumer lemon law rights. A clear and conspicuous disclosure of
the rights of the consumer under this chapter shall be provided by the
manufacturer to the consumer along with ownership manual materials. The form and
manner of these notices shall be prescribed by rule of the Department of the
Attorney General. The notice disclosures shall not include window stickers.
Manufacturer’s failure to abide by arbitrator’s decision. The failure of a
manufacturer either to abide by the decision of state-certified arbitration or
to file a timely appeal shall entitle any prevailing consumer who has brought an
action to enforce this chapter to an award of no less than 2 times the actual
award, unless the manufacturer can prove that the failure was beyond the
manufacturer’s control or can show it was the result of a written agreement
with the consumer.
Consumer request for information. Upon request from the consumer, the
manufacturer or dealer shall provide a copy of all repair records for the
consumer’s motor vehicle and all reports relating to that motor vehicle,
including reports by the dealer or manufacturer concerning inspection, diagnosis
or test-drives of that vehicle and any technical reports, bulletins or notices
issued by the manufacturer regarding the specific make and model of the
consumer’s new motor vehicle as it pertains to any material, feature,
component or the performance of the motor vehicle.
Penalties. It shall be prima facie evidence of an unfair trade practice under
Title 5, chapter 10, for a manufacturer, within 21 days of receipt of any
finding in favor of the consumer in state-certified arbitration, to fail to
appeal the finding and not deliver a refund or replacement vehicle or not
receive from the Department of the Attorney General an extension of time for
delivery of the replacement vehicle.
New car arbitration account. To defray the costs of this program, a $1
arbitration fee shall be collected by the authorized dealer from the purchaser
as part of the new motor vehicle sale agreement. Pursuant to rules adopted by
the Secretary of State, this fee shall be forwarded annually by the dealer or
its successor to the Secretary of State and deposited in the General Fund. At
the end of each fiscal year, the Department of the Attorney General shall
prepare a report listing the annual money generated and the expenses incurred in
administering this arbitration program.