Louisiana Lemon Law For Purchasers

June 19, 2023by Sarah Fisher0

What and Who

Louisiana’s lemon law is governed by Louisiana Rev. Stat. Ann. § 51:1941, et seq. These laws protect consumer purchases of “motor vehicles”, which are defined as passenger motor vehicles or passenger/commercial motor vehicles, including any motor driven car, van, or truck required to be registered and that is used or designed to be used for transporting passengers or goods for public, private, commercial, or for-hire purposes. To be governed by Louisiana’s lemon law, the motor vehicle must have been sold in the State of Louisiana on or after September 1, 1984. “Motor vehicles” may also include personal watercrafts and all-terrain vehicles, in certain circumstances. Lemon law covers a wide range of “nonconformities”, which are defined as any specific or generic defect or malfunction, or any defect or condition that substantially impairs the use and/or market value of a motor vehicle. Protected “consumers” generally include:

  1. The purchaser of a new motor vehicle that is subject to a manufacturer’s express warranty;
  2. A person to whom a motor vehicle is transferred during the duration of an express warranty;
  3. A person to whom a motor vehicle is leased;
  4. Any other person entitled to enforce the warranty. It is important to note that a slightly different set of rules govern Louisiana lemon law for vehicle lessors.

Legal Duties

Simply stated, manufacturers have a duty to repair defective vehicles. This duty kicks in when:

  1. a new motor vehicle does not conform to an express warranty,
  2. and the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer or any of its authorized motor vehicle dealers;
  3. and the consumer makes the motor vehicle available for repair by the earlier date of either:
    1. the expiration of the warranty,
    2. or during a period of one (1) year following the original delivery date of the motor vehicle to the consumer.

The manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer must make all repairs necessary to conform the vehicle to such a warranty.

Time Periods

The manufacturer has a limited time period to conform the vehicle to applicable standards. It shall be presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to repair a motor vehicle if:

  1. the vehicle is out of service by reason of repair for a cumulative total of forty-five (45) calendar days;
  2. or if the same nonconformity has been subject to repair four (4) or more times, during the earlier date of either:
    1. the warranty term;
    2. or one (1) year following the date of the original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer.

A manufacturer’s failure to respond to the consumer or to perform the necessary repairs within the time periods above constitutes a waiver of the manufacturer’s right to a final attempt to cure the nonconformity. At that point, the consumer has a right to seek legal action.

Replacement or Reimbursement

If the nonconformity has not been repaired within the timeframe noted above, the manufacturer shall, at its option:

  1. replace the motor vehicle with a comparable new vehicle;
  2. or accept return of the vehicle and refund the full purchase price.

In the event of the second option, the refund to the consumer will include any amounts paid at the point of sale and all collateral costs, but it will deduct a “reasonable allowance for use to the consumer”. This includes the amount directly attributable to use by the consumer prior to his first notice of nonconformity to the manufacturer and during any subsequent period when the vehicle was not out of service by reason of repair. The consumer has three (3) years from the date of purchase or one (1) year from the end of the warranty period, whichever is longer, in which to file suit against the manufacturer to force compliance with the provisions set forth above.

Attorney’s Fees

While litigation can be burdensome, in most cases, if the vehicle does not conform to express warranties for that vehicle even after following all the necessary steps above, the consumer will be entitled to recover attorney fees incurred in the event that a court renders a favorable judgment for the consumer.

For more information on Louisiana lemon law in general, or for specific information about lemon law provisions for holders of leased vehicles, please contact our office.

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