Iowa Lemon Law
When does a Vehicle Qualify?
3 unsuccessful repair attempts of the defect, 1 unsuccessful repair attempt of a nonconformity likely to cause death or serious injury, or the vehicle is out of service for 30 days within 2 years or 24,000 miles of purchase.
Required actions and Timeline:
The owner must send notice to the manufacturer by certified registered mail. The manufacturer has 10 calendar days from receipt of that notice to make a final repair attempt on the vehicle.
Note: Law specifically applies to leased vehicles.
For a look at the strengths or weaknesses of Iowa’s lemon law, see the Center for Auto Safety Letter to Iowa Attorney General on Lemon Law Rank & Effectiveness.
More Helpful Information:
Links to external attorney sites do not constitute an endorsement or legal advice by the Center for Auto Safety.
Iowa Lemon Law Statute
Iowa Code Annotated Â§ 322G.1 to Â§ 322G.15
322G.1 Legislative intent.
The general assembly recognizes that a motor vehicle is a major consumer acquisition and that a defective motor vehicle undoubtedly creates a hardship for the consumer. The general assembly further recognizes that a duly franchised motor vehicle dealer is an authorized service agent of the manufacturer. It is the intent of the general assembly that a good faith motor vehicle warranty complaint by a consumer be resolved by the manufacturer within a specified period of time. It is further the intent of the general assembly to provide the statutory procedures whereby a consumer may receive a replacement motor vehicle, or a full refund, for a motor vehicle which cannot be brought into conformity with the warranty provided for in this chapter. However, this chapter does not limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a consumer under any other law.
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
- “Collateral charges” means those additional charges to a consumer wholly incurred as a result of the acquisition of the motor vehicle. For the purposes of this chapter, collateral charges include, but are not limited to, charges for manufacturer-installed or agent-installed items, earned finance charges, use taxes, and title charges.
2.“Condition” means a general problem that may be attributable to a defect in more than one part.
- “Consumer” means the purchaser or lessee, other than for purposes of lease or resale, of a new or previously untitled motor vehicle, or any other person entitled by the terms of the warranty to enforce the obligations of the warranty during the duration of the lemon law rights period.
- “Days” means calendar days.
5.“Department” means the attorney general.
- “Incidental charges” means those reasonable costs incurred by the consumer, including, but not limited to, towing charges and the costs of obtaining alternative transportation, which are the direct result of the nonconformity or nonconformities which are the subject of the claim. Incidental charges do not include loss of use, loss of income, or personal injury claims.
- “Lease price” means the aggregate of the following:
- Lessor’s actual purchase costs.
- Collateral charges, if applicable.
- Any fee paid to another to obtain the lease.
- Any insurance or other costs expended by the lessor for the benefit of the lessee.
- An amount equal to state and local use taxes, not otherwise included as collateral charges, paid by the lessor when the vehicle was initially purchased.
- An amount equal to five percent of the lessor’s actual purchase cost.
8.“Lemon law rights period” means the term of the manufacturer’s written warranty, the period ending two years after the date of the original delivery of a motor vehicle to a consumer, or the first twenty-four thousand miles of operation attributable to a consumer, whichever expires first.
- “Lessee” means any consumer who leases a motor vehicle for one year or more pursuant to a written lease agreement which provides that the lessee is responsible for repairs to the motor vehicle.
10.“Lessee cost” means the aggregate of the deposit and rental payments previously paid to the lessor for the leased vehicle.
- “Lessor” means a person who holds the title to a motor vehicle leased to a lessee under a written lease agreement or who holds the lessor’s rights under the agreement.
12.“Manufacturer” means a person engaged in the business of constructing or assembling new motor vehicles or installing on previously assembled vehicle chassis special bodies or equipment which, when installed, form an integral part of the new motor vehicle, or a person engaged in the business of importing new motor vehicles into the United States for the purpose of selling or distributing the new motor vehicles to new motor vehicle dealers.
13.“Motor vehicle” means a self-propelled vehicle purchased or leased in this state, except as provided in section 322G.15, and primarily designed for the transportation of persons or property over public streets and highways, but does not include mopeds, motorcycles, motor homes, or vehicles over ten thousand pounds gross vehicle weight rating.
14.“Nonconformity” means a defect, malfunction, or condition in a motor vehicle such that the vehicle fails to conform to the warranty, but does not include a defect, malfunction, or condition that results from an accident, abuse, neglect, modification, or alteration of the motor vehicle by persons other than the manufacturer or its authorized service agent.
15.“Person” means person as defined in section 714.16.
- “Program” means an informal dispute settlement procedure established by a manufacturer which mediates and arbitrates motor vehicle warranty disputes arising in this state.
- “Purchase price” means the cash price paid for the motor vehicle appearing in the sales agreement or contract, including any net allowance given for a trade-in vehicle.
- “Reasonable offset for use” means the number of miles attributable to a consumer up to the date of the third attempt to repair the same nonconformity which is the subject of the claim, or the first attempt to repair a nonconformity that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, or the twentieth cumulative day when the vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of one or more nonconformities, whichever occurs first, multiplied by the purchase price of the vehicle, or in the event of a leased vehicle, the lessor’s actual lease price plus an amount equal to two percent of the purchase price, and divided by one hundred twenty thousand.
- “Replacement motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle which is identical or reasonably equivalent to the motor vehicle to be replaced, and as the motor vehicle to be replaced would have existed without the nonconformity at the time of original acquisition.
20.“Substantially impair” means to render the motor vehicle unfit, unreliable, or unsafe for warranted or ordinary use, or to significantly diminish the value of the motor vehicle.
- “Warranty” means any written warranty issued by the manufacturer; or any affirmation of fact or promise made by the manufacturer, excluding statements made by the dealer, in connection with the sale or lease of a motor vehicle to a consumer, which relates to the nature of the material or workmanship and affirms or promises that the material or workmanship is free of defects or will meet a specified level of performance.
322G.3 Duties of manufacturer.
- At the time of the consumer’s purchase or lease of the vehicle, the manufacturer shall provide to the consumer a written statement that explains the consumer’s rights and obligations under this chapter. The written statement shall be prepared by the attorney general and shall contain a telephone number that the consumer can use to obtain information from the attorney general regarding the rights and obligations provided under this chapter.
2.At the time of the consumer’s purchase or lease of the vehicle, the manufacturer shall provide to the consumer the address and phone number for the zone, district, or regional office of the manufacturer for this state where a claim may be filed by the consumer. This information shall be provided to the consumer in a clear and conspicuous manner. Within thirty days of the introduction of a new model year for each make and model of motor vehicle sold in this state, the manufacturer shall notify the attorney general of such introduction. The manufacturer shall also inform the attorney general that a copy of the owner’s manual and applicable written warranties shall be provided upon request and provide information as to where the request should be made. The manufacturer shall inform the attorney general where such a request should be directed and shall provide the copy of the owner’s manual and applicable written warranties within five business days of a request by the attorney general.
- A manufacturer or the authorized service agent of the manufacturer shall make repairs as necessary to conform the vehicle to the warranty if a motor vehicle does not conform to the warranty and the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer or authorized service agent during the lemon law rights period. Such repairs shall be made irrespective of whether they can be made prior to the expiration of the lemon law rights period.
4.A manufacturer or the authorized service agent of the manufacturer, shall provide to the consumer, each time the motor vehicle is returned after being examined or repaired under the warranty, a fully itemized, legible statement or repair order indicating any diagnosis made, and all work performed on the motor vehicle including, but not limited to, a general description of the problem reported by the consumer or an identification of the defect or condition, parts and labor, the date and the odometer reading when the motor vehicle was submitted for examination or repair, and the date when the repair or examination was completed.
- Upon request from the consumer, the manufacturer, or the authorized service agent of the manufacturer, shall provide a copy of either or both of the following:
- Any report or printout of any diagnostic computer operation compiled by the manufacturer or authorized service agent regarding an inspection or diagnosis of the motor vehicle.
- A copy of any technical service bulletin issued by the manufacturer regarding the year and model of the motor vehicle as it pertains to any material, feature, component, or the performance of the motor vehicle.
322G.4 Nonconformity of motor vehicles.
- After three attempts have been made to repair the same nonconformity that substantially impairs the motor vehicle, or after one attempt to repair a nonconformity that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, the consumer may give written notification, which shall be by certified or registered mail or by overnight service, to the manufacturer of the need to repair the nonconformity in order to allow the manufacturer a final attempt to cure the nonconformity. The manufacturer shall, within ten days after receipt of such notification, notify and provide the consumer with the opportunity to have the vehicle repaired at a reasonably accessible repair facility and after delivery of the vehicle to the designated repair facility by the consumer, the manufacturer shall, within ten days, conform the motor vehicle to the warranty. If the manufacturer fails to notify and provide the consumer with the opportunity to have the vehicle repaired at a reasonably accessible repair facility or perform the repairs within the time periods prescribed in this subsection, the requirement that the manufacturer be given a final attempt to cure the nonconformity does not apply.
After twenty or more cumulative days when the motor vehicle has been out of service by reason of repair of one or more nonconformities, the consumer may give written notification to the manufacturer which shall be by certified or registered mail or by overnight service. Commencing upon the date such notification is received, the manufacturer has ten cumulative days when the vehicle has been out of service by reason of repair of one or more nonconformities to conform the motor vehicle to the warranty.
- If the manufacturer, or its authorized service agent, has not conformed the motor vehicle to the warranty by repairing or correcting one or more nonconformities that substantially impair the motor vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer shall, within orty days of receipt of payment by the manufacturer of a reasonable offset for use by the consumer, replace the motor vehicle with a replacement motor vehicle acceptable to the consumer, or repurchase the motor vehicle from the consumer or lessor and refund to the consumer or lessor the full purchase or lease price, less a reasonable offset for use. The replacement or refund shall include payment of all collateral and reasonably incurred incidental charges. The consumer has an unconditional right to choose a refund rather than a replacement. If the consumer elects to receive a refund, and the refund exceeds the amount of the payment for a reasonable offset for use, the requirement that the consumer pay the reasonable offset for use in advance does not apply, and the manufacturer shall deduct that amount from the refund due to the consumer. If the consumer elects a replacement motor vehicle, the manufacturer shall provide the consumer a substitute motor vehicle to use until such time as the replacement vehicle is delivered to the consumer. At the time of the refund or replacement, the consumer, lien holder, or lessor shall furnish to the manufacturer clear title to and possession of the original motor vehicle.
Refunds shall be made to the consumer and lien holder of record, if any, as their interests appear. If applicable, refunds shall be made to the lessor and lessee as follows: the lessee shall receive the lessee’s cost less a reasonable offset for use, and the lessor shall receive the lease price less the aggregate deposit and rental payments previously paid to the lessor for the leased vehicle. If it is determined that the lessee is entitled to a refund pursuant to this chapter, the consumer’s lease agreement with the lessor is terminated upon payment of the refund and no penalty for early termination shall be assessed. The department of revenue and finance shall refund to the manufacturer any use tax which the manufacturer refunded to the consumer, lessee, or lessor under this section, if the manufacturer provides to the department of revenue and finance a written request for a refund and evidence that the use tax was paid when the vehicle was purchased and that the manufacturer refunded the use tax to the consumer, lessee, or
- It is presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to the warranty if, during he lemon law rights period, any of the following occur:
- The same nonconformity that substantially impairs the motor vehicle has been subject to examination or repair at least three times by the manufacturer or its authorized service agent, plus a final attempt by the manufacturer to repair the motor vehicle if undertaken as provided for in subsection 1, and such nonconformity continues to exist.
- A nonconformity that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury has been subject to examination or repair at least one time by the manufacturer or its authorized service agent, plus a final attempt by the manufacturer to repair the motor vehicle if undertaken as provided for in subsection 1, and such nonconformity continues to exist.
- The motor vehicle has been out of service by reason of repair by the manufacturer, or its authorized service agent, of one or more nonconformities that substantially impair the motor vehicle for a cumulative total of thirty or more days, exclusive of down time for routine maintenance prescribed by the owner’s manual. The thirty-day period may 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 natural disaster.
The terms of this subsection shall be extended for a period of up to two years after the date of the original delivery of a motor vehicle to a consumer, or the first twenty-four thousand miles of operation attributable to a consumer, whichever occurs first, if a nonconformity has been reported but has not been cured by the manufacturer, or its authorized service agent, before the expiration of the lemon law rights period.
- A manufacturer, or its authorized service agent, shall not refuse to examine or repair any nonconformity for the purpose of avoiding liability under this chapter.
322G.5 Affirmative defenses.
Any of the following is an affirmative defense to a claim under this chapter:
1.The alleged nonconformity or nonconformities do not substantially impair the motor vehicle.
- A nonconformity is the result of an accident, abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modification or alteration of the motor vehicle by a person other than the manufacturer or its authorized service agent.
- The claim by the consumer was not filed in good faith.
- Any other defense allowed by law which may be raised against the claim.
322G.6 Informal dispute settlement procedures
Operations and certification.
- At the time of the consumer’s purchase or lease of the vehicle, a manufacturer who has established a program certified pursuant to this section shall, at a minimum, clearly and conspicuously disclose to the consumer in written materials accompanying the vehicle how and where to file a claim with the program.
- A certified program shall be funded and competently staffed at a level sufficient to ensure fair and expeditious resolution of all disputes, and shall not charge consumers any fee for use of the program. The manufacturer shall take all steps necessary to ensure that a certified program and its staff and decision makers are sufficiently insulated from the manufacturer so that the performance of the staff and the decisions of the decision makers are not influenced by the manufacturer. Such steps, at a minimum, shall ensure that the manufacturer does not make decisions on whether a consumer’s dispute proceeds to the decision maker. Staff and decision makers of a certified program shall be trained in the provisions of this chapter and rules adopted under this chapter.
- A certified program shall allow an oral presentation by a party, or by a party’s employee, agent, or representative.
Within five days following the consumer’s notification to the certified program of the dispute, the program shall inform each party of their right to make an oral presentation.
Meetings of a certified program to hear and decide disputes shall be open to observers, including either party to the dispute, on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms.
- A certified program shall render a decision no later than sixty days from the day of the consumer’s notification of the dispute, provided that a significant number of decisions are rendered within forty days. For the purposes of this section, notification is deemed to have occurred when a certified program has received the consumer’s name and address; the current date and the date of the original delivery of the motor vehicle to a consumer; the year, make, model, and identification number of the motor vehicle; and a description of the nonconformity. If the consumer has not previously notified the manufacturer of the nonconformity, the sixty-day period is extended for an additional seven days.
- A certified program shall, in rendering decisions, take into account the provisions of this chapter and all legal and equitable factors germane to a fair and just decision. The decision shall disclose to the consumer and the manufacturer the reasons for the decision, and the manufacturer’s required actions, if applicable. If the decision is in favor of the consumer, the consumer shall have up to twenty-five days from the date of receipt of the certified program’s decision to indicate acceptance of the decision. The decision shall prescribe a reasonable period of time, not to exceed thirty days from the date the consumer notifies the manufacturer of acceptance of the decision, within which the manufacturer must fulfill the terms of the decision. If the manufacturer has had a reasonable number of attempts to conform a motor vehicle to the warranty as set forth in section 322G.4, subsection 3, including a final attempt by the manufacturer to repair the motor vehicle, if undertaken as provided for in section 322G.4, subsection 1, and the consumer is entitled to a replacement vehicle or a refund under section 322G.4, subsection 2, the decision shall be limited to relief as allowed under section 322G.4, subsection 2. In an action brought by a consumer under this chapter, the decision of a certified program is admissible in evidence.
- A certified program shall establish written procedures which explain operation of the certified program. Copies of the written procedures shall be made available to any person upon request and shall be sent to the consumer upon notification of the dispute.
- A certified program shall retain all records for each dispute for at least four years after the final disposition of the dispute. A certified program shall have an independent audit conducted annually to determine whether the manufacturer and its performance and the program nd its implementation are in compliance with this chapter. All records for each dispute shall be available for the audit. Such audit, upon completion, shall be forwarded to the attorney general.
- Any manufacturer licensed to sell motor vehicles in this state may apply to the attorney general for certification of its program. A manufacturer seeking certification of its program in this state shall submit to the attorney general an application for certification on a form prescribed by the attorney general.
- A program certified in this state or a program established by a manufacturer applying for certification in this state shall submit to the attorney general a copy of each settlement approved by the program or decision made by the decision maker within thirty days after the settlement is reached or the decision is rendered. The decision or settlement shall contain information prescribed by the attorney general.
- The attorney general shall review the operations of any certified program at least once annually. The attorney general shall prepare annual and periodic reports evaluating the operation of certified programs serving consumers in this state or programs established by motor vehicle manufacturers applying for certification in this state. The reports shall indicate whether certification should be granted, renewed, denied, or revoked.
11.If a manufacturer has established a program which the attorney general has certified as substan