In New Mexico, the Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act or “Lemon Law” applies to both new and used cars. If you think you’ve been sold a lemon, find out if the law applies to your purchase.
The New Mexico Lemon Law Statutes on this page were referenced from this website.
New Mexico’s Lemon Law Statutes
New Mexico Lemon Law 57-16A-1 Short title.
This act may be cited as the “Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act”.
New Mexico Lemon Law 57-16A-2 Definitions.
As used in the Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act
A. “collateral charges” means those additional charges to a consumer not directly attributed to a manufacturer’s suggested retail price label for a new motor vehicle and includes all taxes, license, title and registration fees and other governmental charges related to the purchase of the vehicle;
B. “comparable motor vehicle” means an identical or reasonably equivalent motor vehicle;
C. “consumer” means the purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, of a new motor vehicle normally used for personal, family or household purposes, any person to whom such a motor vehicle has been 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;
D. “express warranty” means any written affirmation of the fact of promise made by a manufacturer to a consumer in connection with the sale of new motor vehicles which relates to the nature of the material or workmanship or to a specified level of performance over a specified period of time, including any terms or conditions precedent to the enforcement of obligations pursuant to the warranty;
E. “manufacturer” means any person engaged in the manufacturing, assembling, importing or distributing of a motor vehicle as a regular business; and
F. “motor vehicle” means a passenger motor vehicle including an automobile, pickup truck, motorcycle or van normally used for personal, family or household purposes which is sold and registered in this state and whose gross vehicle weight is less than ten thousand pounds.
New Mexico Lemon Law 57-16A-3 Conformation to express warranties.
A. 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 such express warranties 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, the manufacturer, its agent or its authorized dealer shall make such repairs as are necessary to conform the vehicle to such express warranties.
B. If the manufacturer or its agent or authorized dealer, after a reasonable number of attempts, is 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 and market value of the motor vehicle to the consumer, the manufacturer shall replace the 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 all collateral charges, less a reasonable allowance for the consumer’s use of the vehicle. The subtraction of a reasonable allowance for use shall apply when either a replacement or refund of the new motor vehicle occurs. As used in this subsection, a reasonable allowance for use shall be that amount directly attributable to use by the consumer prior to his 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. Refunds shall be made to consumers or lien holders as their interests may appear.
C. It shall be presumed that a reasonable number of attempts as mentioned in Subsection B of this section have been undertaken to conform a new motor vehicle to the applicable express warranties if:
(1) the same uncorrected nonconformity has been subject to repair four or more times by the manufacturer or its agents or 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 in the possession of the manufacturer, its agent or authorized dealer for repair a cumulative total of thirty or more business days during such term or during such period whichever is the earlier date, exclusive of down time for routine maintenance as prescribed by the manufacturer. The term of an express warranty, such one-year period and such thirty-day period shall be extended by any period of time during which repair services are not available to the consumer because of war, invasion, strike, fire, flood or other natural disaster. In no event shall the presumption herein provided apply against a manufacturer unless the manufacturer has received prior direct written notification from or on behalf of the consumer and an opportunity to cure the defect alleged. The manufacturer shall provide written notice and instruction to the consumer, either in the warranty or a separate notice, of the obligation to file this written notification before invoking the remedies available pursuant to the Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act.
New Mexico Lemon Law 57-16A-4 Affirmative defenses.
It shall be an affirmative defense to any claim under the Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act that:
A. an alleged nonconformity does not substantially impair the use and market value of the motor vehicle;
B. a nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized modifications or alterations of the motor vehicle;
C. a claim by a consumer was not filed in good faith; or
D. any other affirmative defense allowed by law.
New Mexico Lemon Law 57-16A-5 Limitation of remedy.
Any consumer who seeks enforcement of the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act shall be foreclosed from pursuing any Uniform Commercial Code remedy set forth in Sections 55-2-602 through 55-2-608 NMSA 1978.
New Mexico Lemon Law 57-16A-6 Informal dispute resolution.
If a manufacturer has established or participates in a fair and impartial informal dispute settlement procedure which substantially complies with the substantive requirements of Title 16, Part 703 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the provisions of Subsection B of Section 3 [57-16A-3B NMSA 1978] of the Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act concerning refunds or replacement shall not apply to any consumer who has not first resorted to that procedure. The state attorney general may investigate and determine that the informal dispute settlement procedure is fair and impartial and conforms with the requirements of Title 16, Part 703 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
New Mexico Lemon Law 57-16A-7 Resale of returned motor vehicle.
No motor vehicle which has not been properly repaired pursuant to the provisions of Subsection B of Section 3 [57-16A-3 NMSA 1978] of the Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act, or pursuant to a similar law of another state, may be resold in New Mexico unless the manufacturer provides full written disclosure of the reason for the return to any prospective buyer.
New Mexico Lemon Law 57-16A-8 Limitation of action.
Any action brought to enforce the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act shall be commenced within eighteen months following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to a consumer, or, in the event that a consumer resorts to an informal dispute settlement procedure pursuant to Section 6 [57-16A-6 NMSA 1978] of the Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act, within ninety days following the final action of the panel, whichever is later.
New Mexico Lemon Law 57-16A-9 Reasonable attorney fees.
A consumer who prevails in an action brought to enforce the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act shall be entitled to receive reasonable attorneys’ fees and court costs from the manufacturer. If a consumer does not prevail in such an action and brings that action for frivolous reasons or in bad faith, the manufacturer shall be entitled to receive reasonable attorneys’ fees and court costs from the consumer.