District of Columbia Lemon Laws

An automobile purchase is a big deal, usually the second-biggest investment an individual makes (after a house). But while cars require regular maintenance throughout their lives, a brand new car should not have major problems right after it rolls off the lot. Cars that fail to meet the terms of the warranty within a certain amount of time, despite repeated attempts to fix the problem, are called "lemons." State lemon laws , therefore, are meant to protect car buyers from being stuck with an inoperable or otherwise seriously problematic vehicle.

Washington, D.C. Lemon Laws at a Glance

Detailed information about D.C.'s lemon law is listed below. See FindLaw's Lemon Law section for additional articles.

Code Section 50-501, et seq.
Title of Act Automobile Consumer Protection Act of 1984
Definition of Defects Nonconformity to all warranties which results in significant impairment of vehicle
Statutory Definition of "Reasonable Number of Attempts"
  • The same nonconformity, defect, or condition, if it is not safety-related, has been subject to repair 4 or more times by the manufacturer, its agent, or authorized dealer after notification by the consumer;
  • The same nonconformity, defect, or condition, if it is safety-related, has been subject to repair 1 or more times by the manufacturer, its agents, or authorized dealers after notification by the consumer; or
  • The motor vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of any nonconformities, defects, or conditions which significantly impair the vehicle, on a cumulative total of 30 days or more during either period, whichever is the earlier date.
Time Limit for Manufacturer Repair First 18,000 miles of operation or during period of 2 years following date of delivery to original purchaser, whichever is earlier
Remedies Consumer's option: replace with comparable vehicle or accept return and refund full purchase price, including all sales tax, license fees, registration fees, and any similar governmental charges; less reasonable allowance for use

Note: State laws are not carved in stone and may change at any time, usually through the enactment of new legislation but sometimes through the decisions of higher courts or other means. You may want to contact a District of Columbia lemon law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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