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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language


  

                         Laws of Minnesota 1983 

                         CHAPTER 108--H.F.No. 26
           An act relating to commerce; consumer protection; 
          requiring the repair, refund, or replacement of new 
          motor vehicles under certain circumstances; proposing 
          new law coded in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 325F. 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
    Section 1.  [325F.665] [NEW MOTOR VEHICLE WARRANTIES; 
MANUFACTURER'S DUTY TO REPAIR, REFUND, OR REPLACE.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [DEFINITIONS.] For the purposes of this 
section, the following terms have the meanings given them:  
    (a) "consumer" means the purchaser, other than for purposes 
of resale, of a new motor vehicle used for personal, family, or 
household purposes at least 40 percent of the time, a person to 
whom the new motor vehicle is transferred for the same purposes 
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;  
    (b) "manufacturer" means a person engaged in the business 
of manufacturing, assembling or distributing motor vehicles, who 
will, under normal business conditions during the year, 
manufacture, assemble or distribute to dealers at least ten new 
motor vehicles;  
    (c) "manufacturer's express warranty" and "warranty" mean 
the written warranty of the manufacturer of a new motor vehicle 
of its condition and fitness for use, including any terms or 
conditions precedent to the enforcement of obligations under 
that warranty; and 
    (d) "motor vehicle" means (1) a passenger automobile as 
defined in section 168.011, subdivision 7, including pickup 
trucks and vans, and (2) the self-propelled motor vehicle 
chassis or van portion of recreational equipment as defined in 
section 168.011, subdivision 25, which is sold to a consumer in 
this state.  
    Subd. 2.  [MANUFACTURER'S DUTY TO REPAIR.] If a new motor 
vehicle does not conform to all applicable express warranties, 
and the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, 
its agent, or its authorized dealer during the term of the 
express warranties or during the period of one year following 
the date of original delivery of the new motor vehicle to a 
consumer, whichever is the earlier date, the manufacturer, its 
agent, or its authorized dealer shall make the repairs necessary 
to conform the vehicle to the express warranties, 
notwithstanding the fact that the repairs are made after the 
expiration of the warranty term or the one-year period.  
    Subd. 3.  [MANUFACTURER'S DUTY TO REFUND OR REPLACE.] (a) 
If the manufacturer, its agents, or its authorized dealers are 
unable to conform the new motor vehicle to any applicable 
express warranty by repairing or correcting any defect or 
condition which substantially impairs the use or market value of 
the motor vehicle to the consumer after a reasonable number of 
attempts, the manufacturer shall, at the consumer's option, 
either replace the new motor vehicle with a comparable motor 
vehicle or accept return of the vehicle from the consumer and 
refund to the consumer the full purchase price, including the 
cost of any options or other modifications arranged, installed, 
or made by the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer 
within 30 days after the date of original delivery, and all 
other charges including, but not limited to, sales tax, license 
fees and registration fees, less a reasonable allowance for the 
consumer's use of the vehicle not exceeding ten cents per mile 
driven or ten percent of the purchase price of the vehicle, 
whichever is less.  Refunds must be made to the consumer, and 
lienholder, if any, as their interests appear on the records of 
the registrar of motor vehicles.  A reasonable allowance for use 
is that amount directly attributable to use by the consumer and 
any previous consumer prior to his or her first report of the 
nonconformity to the manufacturer, agent, or dealer and during 
any subsequent period when the vehicle is not out of service by 
reason of repair.  It is an affirmative defense to any claim 
under this section (1) that an alleged nonconformity does not 
substantially impair the use or market value, or (2) that a 
nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized 
modifications or alterations of a motor vehicle by anyone other 
than the manufacturer, its agent or its authorized dealer.  
    (b) It is presumed that a reasonable number of attempts 
have been undertaken to conform a new motor vehicle to the 
applicable express warranties, if (1) the same nonconformity has 
been subject to repair four or more times by the manufacturer, 
its agents, or its authorized dealers within the express 
warranty term or during the period of one year following the 
date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to a consumer, 
whichever is the earlier date, but the nonconformity continues 
to exist, or (2) the vehicle is out of service by reason of 
repair for a cumulative total of 30 or more business days during 
the term or during the period, whichever is the earlier date.  
    (c) If the nonconformity results in a complete failure of 
the braking or steering system of the new motor vehicle and is 
likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is 
driven, it is presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have 
been undertaken to conform the vehicle to the applicable express 
warranties if the conformity has been subject to repair at least 
once by the manufacturer, its agents, or its authorized dealers 
within the express warranty term or during the period of one 
year following the date of original delivery of the motor 
vehicle to a consumer, whichever is the earlier date, and the 
nonconformity continues to exist.  
     (d) The term of an express warranty, the one-year period 
and the 30-day period 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.  
    (e) The presumption contained in paragraph (b) applies 
against a manufacturer only if the manufacturer, its agent, or 
its authorized dealer has received prior written notification 
from or on behalf of the consumer at least once and an 
opportunity to cure the defect alleged.  If the notification is 
received by the manufacturer's agent or authorized dealer, the 
agent or dealer must forward it to the manufacturer by certified 
mail, return receipt requested.  
    (f) At the time of purchase the manufacturer, either 
directly or through its agent or its authorized dealer, must 
provide the consumer a written statement on a separate piece of 
paper, in ten point all capital type, in substantially the 
following form:  "IMPORTANT:  IF THIS VEHICLE IS DEFECTIVE, YOU 
MAY BE ENTITLED UNDER STATE LAW TO REPLACEMENT OF IT OR A REFUND 
OF ITS PURCHASE PRICE.  HOWEVER, TO BE ENTITLED TO REFUND OR 
REPLACEMENT, YOU MUST FIRST NOTIFY THE MANUFACTURER, ITS AGENT, 
OR ITS AUTHORIZED DEALER OF THE PROBLEM IN WRITING AND GIVE THEM 
AN OPPORTUNITY TO REPAIR THE VEHICLE."  
    Subd. 4.  [RESALE OF RETURNED MOTOR VEHICLE.] (a) If a 
motor vehicle has been returned under the provisions of 
subdivision 3 or a similar statute of another state, it may not 
be resold in this state unless:  
    (1) the manufacturer provides the same express warranty it 
provided to the original purchaser, except that the term of the 
warranty need only last for 12,000 miles or 12 months after the 
date of resale, whichever is earlier; and 
    (2) the manufacturer provides the consumer with a written 
statement on a separate piece of paper, in ten point all capital 
type, in substantially the following form:  "IMPORTANT:  THIS 
VEHICLE WAS RETURNED TO THE MANUFACTURER BECAUSE IT DID NOT 
CONFORM TO THE MANUFACTURER'S EXPRESS WARRANTY AND THE 
NONCONFORMITY WAS NOT CURED WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME AS PROVIDED 
BY MINNESOTA LAW."  
    The provisions of this section apply to the resold motor 
vehicle for full term of the warranty required under this 
subdivision.  
    (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a), if a 
new motor vehicle has been returned under the provisions of 
subdivision 3 or a similar statute of another state because of a 
nonconformity resulting in a complete failure of the braking or 
steering system of the motor vehicle likely to cause death or 
serious bodily injury if the vehicle was driven, the motor 
vehicle may not be resold in this state.  
    Subd. 5.  [ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE SETTLEMENT PROCEDURE.] If a 
manufacturer has established, or participates in, an informal 
dispute settlement procedure which substantially complies with 
the provisions of the Code of Federal Regulations, title 16, 
part 703 (1982), the provisions of subdivision 3 concerning 
refunds or replacement do not apply to a consumer who has not 
first used this procedure.  
    The findings and decisions in an informal dispute 
resolution proceeding are admissible as nonbinding evidence in 
any legal action and are not subject to further foundation 
requirements.  
    Subd. 6.  [CIVIL REMEDY.] Any consumer injured by a 
violation of this section may bring a civil action to enforce 
this section and recover costs and disbursements, including 
reasonable attorney's fees.  
    Subd. 7.  [LIMITATION ON ACTIONS.] An action brought under 
this section must be commenced within six months of the 
expiration of the express warranty term, or within one year of 
the date of original delivery of the new motor vehicle to a 
consumer, whichever is the later date.  
    Subd. 8.  [REMEDY NONEXCLUSIVE.] Nothing in this section 
limits the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a 
consumer under any other law.  
    Sec. 2.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
    Section 1, subdivision 3, paragraph (f), is effective June 
15, 1983.  The rest of section 1 is effective the day following 
final enactment and applies to all motor vehicles which as of 
that date are still under a manufacturer's express warranty and 
were originally delivered during the previous one-year period. 
    Approved May 10, 1983