RI Lemon Law Statutes

Rhode Island Lemon Law Qualifications

Vehicles Covered

The Rhode Island lemon law cover any "motor vehicle", defined as an automobile, truck, motorcycle, or van with a registered gross vehicle weight of less than 10,000 pounds. The motor vehicle must be sold, leased or replaced by a dealer or manufacturer after May 11 , 1984. The lemon law covers used vehicles but does not cover motorized campers.

Consumers Covered

The lemon law covers the following consumers:

  • The buyer, other than for purposes of resale, of a motor vehicle;
  • Any person to whom the motor vehicle is transferred for the same purposes during the duration of any express or implied warranty applicable to the motor vehicle;
  • Any other person entitled by the terms of the warranty to enforce its obligations; and
  • The lessee of a motor vehicle for one year or more pursuant to a written lease agreement that makes the lessee responsible for repairs to the vehicle or the lessee of a motor vehicle pursuant to a lease - purchase agreement.

Vehicle Converters

The lemon law applies to vehicle converters.

Problems Covered

The lemon law covers any nonconformity , which is defined as any specific or generic defect or malfunction, or any concurrent combination of defects or malfunctions, that substantially impairs the use, market value or safety of the motor vehicle.

The lemon law provides manufacturers with an affirmative defense if it can be shown that the alleged nonconformity does not substantially impair the use, market value, or safety of the motor vehicle, or the nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized substantial modification or alteration of a motor vehicle by the consumer.

Reasonable Number Of Repair Attempts

The Rhode Island lemon law establishes a presumption that a reasonable number of repair attempts has been undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to the applicable express warranties if, during the term of protection , either of the following occurs:

  • The same nonconformity has been subject to repair four or more times by the manufacturer, its agents or authorized dealers or lessors, but the nonconformity continues to exist or the nonconformity recurs; or
  • The motor vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of any nonconformity for a cumulative total of 30 or more calendar days.

The term of protection and the 30 day period are extended by any period of time during which repair services are not available to the consumer because of a war, invasion, strike, fire, flood or other natural disaster. For the period of time that repair services are not available because of a strike, the manufacturer must provide the consumer with the free use of a comparable motor vehicle.

Rhode Island Arbitration Requirements

If the manufacturer has established an informal dispute settlement procedure that complies with 16 C.F.R. Part 703, or that has been approved by the Rhode Island Attorney General, then the provisions requiring refund or replacement do not apply unless the consumer has first resorted to the informal dispute settlement procedure. This requirement does not apply unless the manufacturer, its agents or authorized dealer or lessor has provided the consumer with clear and conspicuous written notice of the procedure at the time of the motor vehicle's delivery.

The consumer has the option of initiating a request for arbitration with the independent procedure provided by the Attorney General.

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