If you live in the state of Oregon and think you’ve purchased a lemon, Oregon’s Lemon Law may apply. Find out if you’re covered and what you can do if the Oregon Lemon Law applies to you.
Every year, thousands of Oregonians trade in their old cars for new ones. Most are happy with their new purchase, but for some,
it’s a “sour” experience from the minute they take the wheel.
Those consumers, who discover all too soon that they have purchased an automobile with major defects, are protected by Oregon’s “lemon law.”
Passed by the 1983 Legislature, this law gives purchasers of “lemons” the right to receive a new vehicle or a refund of the vehicle
purchase price less a reasonable allowance for use.
If you are planning on or have recently purchased a new car, protect your investment by keeping copies of all repair bills, major and minor, just in case you end up with a “lemon” a few months later.
Oregon Lemon Law covers:
- Any new motor vehicle normally used for personal, family or household purposes.
- Vehicles delivered to consumers within one year and driven less than 12,000 miles.
- Vehicles with conconformities after 4 repair attempts or 30 business days out of service.
- Substantial defects or conditions that substantially impair the use, market value or safety of the motor vehicle.
Oregon Lemon Law does not cover:
- Vehicles purchased for commercial or business use
- Nonconformities resulting from abuse, neglect or unauthorized modifications or alterations of the motor vehicle by the consumer.
The warranty period ends 12 months after the date of the vehicle’s original delivery to the consumer, or the first 12,000 miles of operation, whichever occurs first.
Oregon’s Lemon Law Process
If the manufacturer participates in a third party arbitration program and notifies you of the procedure, then you are obligated to try to solve your problem through the arbitration program to be eligible for a refund or a replacement vehicle. If you cannot reach a settlement in the arbitration, you may sue the manufacturer in court. The court has the authority to award three times the amount of any damages, not to exceed $50,000, if the court finds the manufacturer acted in bad faith.
Oregon Lemon Law Statutes
646.315 Definitions for ORS 646.315 to 646.375.
As used in ORS 646.315 to 646.375:
(1) “Consumer” means:
(a) The purchaser or lessee, other than for purposes of resale, of a
new motor vehicle normally used for personal, family or household purposes;
(b) Any person to whom a new motor vehicle used for personal, family
or household purposes is transferred for the same purposes during the duration
of an express warranty applicable to such motor vehicle; and
(c) Any other person entitled by the terms of such warranty to enforce
the obligations of the warranty.
(2) “Motor vehicle” means a passenger motor vehicle as defined in ORS
801.360 that is sold in this state.
646.325 Availability of remedy.
The remedy under the provisions of ORS 646.315 to 646.375 is available to a
(1) A new motor vehicle does not conform to applicable manufacturer’s
(2) The consumer reports each nonconformity to the manufacturer, its
agent or its authorized dealer, for the purpose of repair or correction, during
the period of one year following the date of original delivery of the motor
vehicle to the consumer or during the period ending on the date on which the
mileage on the motor vehicle reaches 12,000 miles, whichever period ends
(3) The manufacturer has received direct written notification from or
on behalf of the consumer and has had an opportunity to correct the alleged
defect. “Notification” under this subsection includes, but is not limited to, a
request by the consumer for an informal dispute settlement procedure under ORS
646.335 Consumer’s remedies; manufacturer’s affirmative defenses.
(1) If the manufacturer or its agents or authorized dealers are unable
to conform the motor vehicle to any applicable manufacturer’s express warranty
by repairing or correcting any defect or condition that substantially impairs
the use, market value or safety of the motor vehicle to the consumer after a
reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer shall:
(a) Replace the motor vehicle with a new motor vehicle; or
(b) Accept return of the vehicle from the consumer and refund to the
consumer the full purchase or lease price paid, including taxes, license and
registration fees and any similar collateral charges excluding interest, less a
reasonable allowance for the consumer’s use of the vehicle.
(2) Refunds shall be made to the consumer and lien holder, if any, as
their interests may appear. A reasonable allowance for use is that amount
directly attributable to use by the consumer prior to the 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.
(3) It shall be an affirmative defense to any claim under ORS 646.315
(a) That an alleged nonconformity does not substantially impair such
use, market value or safety; or
(b) That a nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect or
unauthorized modifications or alterations of the motor vehicle by the
646.345 Presumption of reasonable attempt to conform.
Extension of time for repairs; notice to manufacturer.
(1) It shall be presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to the applicable manufacturer’s express warranties if, during the period of one year following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to a consumer or during the period ending on the date on which the mileage on the motor vehicle reaches 12,000 miles, whichever period ends earlier:
(a) The same nonconformity has been subject to repair or correction four or more times by the manufacturer or its agent or authorized dealer, but such nonconformity continues to exist; or
(b) The vehicle is out of service by reason of repair or correction for a cumulative total of 30 or more business days.
(2) A repair or correction for purposes of subsection (1) of this section includes a repair that must take place after the expiration of the earlier of either period.
(3) The period ending on the date on which the mileage on the motor vehicle reaches 12,000 miles, 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, fire, flood or other natural disaster.
(4) In no event shall the presumption described in subsection (1) of this section apply against a manufacturer unless the manufacturer has received prior direct written notification from or on behalf of the consumer and has had an opportunity to cure the defect alleged.
646.355 Use of informal dispute settlement procedure.
Condition for remedy; binding effect on manufacturer.
If the manufacturer has established or participates in an informal dispute settlement procedure that substantially complies with the provisions of Title 16, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 703, as from time to time amended, and causes the consumer to be notified of the procedure, ORS 646.335 concerning refunds or replacement shall not apply to any consumer who has not first resorted to the procedure. A decision resulting from arbitration pursuant to the informal dispute settlement procedure shall be binding on the manufacturer.
646.357 Informal dispute settlement procedure.
Record keeping; review by Department of Justice.
A manufacturer which has established or participates in an informal dispute settlement procedure shall keep records of all cases submitted to the procedure under ORS 646.355 and shall make the records available to the Department of Justice if the department requests them. The department may review all case records kept under this section to determine whether or not the arbitrators are complying with the provisions of ORS 646.315 to 646.375 in reaching their decisions.
646.359 Judicial review; damages; attorney fees.
(1) If a consumer appeals to a court from a decision resulting from the informal dispute settlement procedure established by ORS 646.355 because the consumer was not granted one of the remedies specified in ORS 646.335 (1), and the consumer is granted one of the specified remedies by the court, the consumer shall also be awarded up to three times the amount of any damages if the court finds that the manufacturer did not act in good faith in the dispute settlement procedure.
(2) If a consumer brings an action under ORS 646.315 to 646.375 against a manufacturer who has not established informal dispute settlement procedures and the consumer is granted one of the remedies specified in ORS 646.335 (1), the consumer shall also be awarded three times the amount of the damages.
(3) The court may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party in an appeal or action under this section.
646.361 Limitations on actions against dealers.
(1) Nothing in ORS 646.315 to 646.375 creates a cause of action by a consumer against a vehicle dealer.
(2) A manufacturer may not join a dealer as a party in any proceeding brought under ORS 646.315 to 646.375, nor may the manufacturer try to collect from a dealer any damages assessed against the manufacturer in a proceeding brought under ORS 646.315 to 646.375.
646.365 Limitation on commencement of action.
Any action brought under ORS 646.315 to 646.375 shall be commenced within one year following whichever period ends earlier:
(1) The period ending on the date on which the mileage on the motor vehicle reaches 12,000 miles; or
(2) The period of one year following the date of the original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer.
646.375 Other Remedies
Other Remedies supplementary to existing statutory or common law remedies; election of remedies.
Nothing in ORS 646.315 to 646.375 is intended in any way to limit the rights or remedies that are otherwise available to a consumer under any other law. However, if the consumer elects to pursue any other remedy in state or federal court, the remedy available under ORS 646.315 to 646.375 shall not be available insofar as it would result in recovery in excess of the recovery authorized by ORS 646.335 without proof of fault resulting in damages in excess of such recovery.