Kentucky Lemon Law – New Car Lemon Law

Kentucky’s New Car Lemon Law protects consumers who have bought a new vehicle that qualifies as a “lemon.” Once a consumer goes through the manufacturer’s arbitration system and their vehicle is declared a lemon, the vehicle’s manufacturer is required to repurchase it

Kentucky Lemon Law covers:

  • The automobile must have been purchased new in Kentucky by a Kentucky resident and not have more than two (2) axles and cannot be a motorcycle, motor home, conversion van, or farm equipment. New automobiles leased after July 15, 1998 are also covered.
  • The consumer must report the failure to repair the non-conformity to the manufacturer within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever is first.
  • The problem must substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the automobile.
  • Vehicles that have been out of service for the same problem for a cumulative total of 30 days or more or the problem was not corrected within a reasonable number of attempts. Four (4) attempts to repair the same problems is presumed to be reasonable.

Kentucky Lemon Law does not cover:

  • Motorcycles
  • Conversion vans
  • Motor homes
  • Farm Eqipment
  • Vehicles with more than two (2) axles
  • Nonconformities, defects, or conditions that are the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modification or alteration of the motor vehicle by the buyer

Warranty Period

The warranty period ends two years after the date of the vehicle’s original delivery to the consumer, or the first 18,000 miles of operation, whichever occurs first. This period can be extended for up to a year if a defect is reported, in writing, to the dealer or manufacturer during the warranty period but has not been cured by the expiration of the period.

Kentucky Lemon Law Statutes

367.840 Purposes.

KRS 367.841 to 367.844 shall be liberally construed and applied to promote the underlying purposes of KRS 367.841 to 367.844, which purposes are:

(1) To protect consumers who buy or lease new motor vehicles that do not conform to applicable warranties by holding manufacturers accountable for certain nonconformities;

(2) To limit the number of attempts and the amount of times that a manufacturer or its agents shall have to cure such nonconformities; and

(3) To require manufacturers to provide, in as expeditious a manner as possible, a refund, not to exceed the amount in KRS 367.842, or replacement vehicle that is acceptable to the aggrieved consumer when the manufacturer or its agents fail to cure any nonconformity within the specified limits.

367.841 Definitions.

(1) “Buyer” means any resident person who buys, contracts to buy, or leases a new motor vehicle in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In the case of the lease of a new motor vehicle, “buyer” shall mean the lessor, lessee, or both.

(2) “Manufacturer” means any person or corporation, resident or nonresident, who manufactures or assembles new motor vehicles, including new conversion van manufacturers, which are sold in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

(3) “Motor vehicle” means every vehicle which is self-propelled, and which is intended primarily for use and operation on the public highways and required to be registered or licensed in the Commonwealth prior to such use or operation; however, “motor vehicle” shall not include:

(a) Any vehicle substantially altered after its initial sale from a dealer to an individual;

(b) Motor homes;

(c) Motorcycles;

(d) Mopeds;

(e) Farm tractors and other machines used in the production, harvesting, and care of farm products; or

(f) Vehicles which have more than two (2) axles.

(4) “New motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle which has been finally and completely assembled and is in the possession of a manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, wholesaler, or an authorized motor vehicle dealer operating under a valid sales and service agreement, franchise, or contract for the sale of such vehicle granted by the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or wholesaler which is, in fact, new and on which the original title has never been issued.

(5) “Express warranty” or “warranty” means the written warranty, so labeled, of the manufacturer of a new automobile, including any terms or conditions precedent to the enforcement of obligations under the warranty.

(6) “Nonconformity” means a failure to conform with an express warranty in a manner which substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the motor vehicle.

(7) “Reasonable allowance for use” means the amount directly attributable to a consumer’s use of the vehicle other than those time periods when the vehicle is out of service due to the nonconformity.

367.842 Options of buyer.

If manufacturer unable to repair nonconformity in new motor vehicle; Rights of lien holder; Resolution of disputes; Dealer not liable.

(1) If, after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer or its agents are unable to repair the nonconformity in the motor vehicle to the express warranty during the first twelve thousand (12,000) miles of operation or during the first twelve (12) months following the date of delivery to the buyer, whichever is the earlier date, that buyer shall report the nonconformity, in writing, to the manufacturer.

(2) If, within the period specified in subsection (1) of this section, the manufacturer or its agents, are unable to repair or correct any nonconformity or defect that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the motor vehicle, after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer, at the option of the buyer, shall replace the motor vehicle with a comparable motor vehicle, or accept return of the vehicle from the buyer and refund to the buyer the full purchase price. The full purchase price shall include the amount paid for the motor vehicle, finance charge, all sales tax, license fee, registration fee, and any similar governmental charges plus all collateral charges, less a reasonable allowance for the buyer’s use of the vehicle. Refunds shall be made to the buyer and lien holder, if any, as their interests may appear on the records of ownership kept by the Department of Vehicle Regulation. The provisions of this section shall not affect the interests of a lien holder, unless the lien holder consents to the replacement of the lien with a corresponding lien on the automobile accepted by the consumer in exchange for the automobile having a nonconformity, the lien holder shall be paid in full the amount due on the lien, including finance charges and other charges, before an exchange of automobiles or a refund to the consumer is made. It shall be an affirmative defense to any claim under this section that:

(a) The nonconformity, defect, or condition does not substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the motor vehicle; or

(b) The nonconformity, defect, or condition is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modification or alteration of the motor vehicle by the buyer.

(3) It shall be presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to the applicable express warranty if, within the first twelve thousand (12,000) miles of operation or during the period of, twelve (12) months following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to the buyer, whichever is the earlier date:

(a) The same nonconformity, defect, or condition has been subject to repair four (4) or more times by the manufacturer, but such nonconformity, defect, or condition continues to exist; or

(b) The vehicle is out of service/use by reason of repair of the same nonconformity, defect, or condition for a cumulative total of at least thirty (30) calendar days.

(4) Disputes arising under subsection (2) of this section concerning refund or replacement shall be resolved through the dispute resolution system established under either KRS 367.860 to 367.870, or 16 C.F.R. part 703. Such remedy shall be pursued prior to seeking any judicial relief under KRS 367.843.

(5) 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.

(6) Nothing in this section shall in any way limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a buyer under any other law.

(7) Any agreement entered into by a buyer for the purchase of a new motor vehicle which waives, limits, or disclaims the rights set forth in this section shall be void as contrary to public policy.

(8) Any action brought pursuant to this section shall be commenced within two (2) years after the date of original delivery of the new motor vehicle to the buyer.

(9) A court may award reasonable attorney’s fees to a prevailing plaintiff.

367.843 Action for relief by purchaser.

Any person who purchases a motor vehicle and thereby suffers any ascertainable loss of money or property, real or personal, as a result of a violation of KRS 367.842, may bring an action under the provisions of KRS 367.220 for relief.

367.844 Manufacturer prohibited from exposing franchised dealer to liability.

No manufacturer shall, directly or indirectly, by any means or methods, expose or attempt to expose any franchised dealer to liability as forbidden in KRS 367.842(4) and (5). Any violation of this section shall be subject to all applicable provisions of the law, including but not limited to the provisions of KRS 190.062(2).

367.845 Enforcement of provisions of KRS 367.842 to 367.844 by Attorney General.

Noncompliance with the provisions of KRS 367.842 to 367.844 by a manufacturer shall be unlawful. The Attorney General shall have authority to enforce KRS 367.842 to 367.844 in accordance with powers provided by KRS 367.190 and 367.230, pertaining to acts declared unlawful by KRS 367.170. Any expenses accruing to the Attorney General from the provisions of KRS 367.842 to 367.844 shall be assessed by his office upon the motor vehicle manufacturer involved in any action cited in the provisions herein.

367.846 Application of KRS 367.840 to 367.845.

KRS 367.840 to 367.845 shall apply to new motor vehicles purchased after July 15, 1986, and to motor vehicles leased after July 15, 1998.

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