DC Lemon Law Statutes

District of Columbia Lemon Law Qualifications

Vehicles Covered

The Washing ton, D.C. lemon law covers motor vehicles sold or registered in the District of Columbia and designed primarily for transporting the driver and one or more passengers on streets, roads, or highways.

The lemon law appears to cover used vehicles, but does no t cover buses sold for public transportation, motorcycles, motor homes, and motorized recreational vehicles.

Consumers Covered

The lemon law covers the following consumers:

  • The purchaser, for purposes other than resale, of a motor vehicle;
  • Any person to whom the motor vehicle is leased or otherwise transferred during the duration of a warranty applicable to the motor vehicle; and
  • Any other person entitled to enforce the obligations of the warranty.

Vehicle Converters

The lemon law does no t apply to vehicle converters.

Problems Covered

The lemon law covers any defect or condition that results in significant impairment of the motor vehicle. This is referred to as a nonconformity. A defect or condition significantly impairs the motor vehicle if it renders the motor vehicle unreliable or unsafe for normal operation, or reduces the motor vehicle's resale value below the average resale value for comparable motor vehicles.

The lemon law provides manufacturers with an affirmative defense if it can be shown that the nonconformity, defect, or condition is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications or alterations of the motor vehicle.

Reasonable Number Of Repair Attempts

The lemon law establishes a presumption that a reasonable number of repair attempts have been undertaken if any of the following occurs during the period of two years following the motor vehicle's original delivery to a consumer or the first 18,000 miles of operation, whichever is earlier:

  • The same nonconformity has been subject to repair four or more times by the manufacturer, its agent or authorized dealer, and the nonconformity continues to exist;
  • The same safety - related nonconformity has been subject to repair one or more times by the manufacturer, its agent or authorized dealer, and the nonconformity continues to exist; or
  • The motor vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of any nonconformities for 30 days or more. The 30 day period is extended by any period during which repair services are unavailable to the consumer because of war, invasion, strike, flood, fire or other natural disaster.

District of Columbia Arbitration Requirements

The consumer, in order to seek the refund or replacement, shall first submit a claim to the Board of Consumer Claims Arbitration established pursuant to § 50 - 503. If the Board rejects the case for arbitration, or if the claim is arbitrated and the consumer rejects the arbitration decision , the consumer may then bring an action in court .

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