Rhode Island Lemon Laws

Rhode Island lemon laws are dealt with in General Laws of Rhode Island, Title 31, Chapter 5.2, Section 31-5.2-1 et seq. Nonconformity is any specific or generic defect or malfunction, or any concurrent combination of such defects or malfunctions that substantially impairs the use, market value, or safety of a motor vehicle.

The prescribed time limit for manufacturer repair or the term of protection is one year or fifteen thousand (15,000) miles of use from the date of original delivery of a new motor vehicle to the consumer, whichever comes first.  This time limit is prescribed in Section 31-5.2-1.  During this time limit the consumer should report any nonconformity, defect, or condition to the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer.  The manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer should repair or correct the nonconformity, defect, or condition at no charge to the consumer, within this time period.  The manufacturer’s obligation to fulfill warranties is provided in Section 31-5.2-2.

Certain remedies are available to the consumer if the manufacturer is unable to cure any nonconformity, after a reasonable number of attempts.  The manufacturer should either replace the motor vehicle with a comparable new motor vehicle in good working order, or accept return of the motor vehicle from the consumer and refund to the consumer.  The refund includes the full purchase or lease price paid including all credits and allowances for any trade-in vehicle.  The consumer has the option to choose from either of the two remedies.  From the full purchase price, the manufacturer can deduct a reasonable allowance for the consumer’s use of the motor vehicle.  The remedies are enumerated under Section 31-5.2-3.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-5.2-1

Definitions
The following words and phrases, for the purposes of this chapter, have the following meanings:

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(9) “Nonconformity” means any specific or generic defect or malfunction, or any concurrent combination of such defects or malfunctions, that substantially impairs the use, market value, or safety of a motor vehicle.
(10) “Term of protection” means one year or fifteen thousand (15,000) miles of use from the date of original delivery of a new motor vehicle to the consumer, whichever comes first; or, in the case of a replacement vehicle provided by a manufacturer to a consumer under this chapter, one year or fifteen thousand (15,000) miles from the date of delivery to the consumer of that replacement vehicle, whichever comes first.
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R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-5.2-2

Manufacturers’ obligation to fulfill warranties
If a motor vehicle does not conform to any applicable express or implied warranties, including, but not limited to, the implied warranty of merchantability as defined in § 6A-2-314 and the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose as defined in § 6A-2-315, and the consumer or lessee reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer of the vehicle, its agent, or its authorized dealer or lessor during the term of protection, the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer shall effect such repairs as are necessary to conform the vehicle to the warranty, notwithstanding the fact that those repairs are made after the expiration of the term.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-5.2-3

Replacement of nonconforming vehicle
(a) (1) If the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer or lessor does not conform the motor vehicle to any applicable express or implied warranty by curing any nonconformity after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer shall accept return of the vehicle from the consumer or lessee and, at the consumer’s or lessee’s option, refund the full contract price or lease price of the vehicle including all credits and allowances for any trade-in vehicle, less a reasonable allowance for use, or replace it with a comparable new motor vehicle in good working order.


Inside Rhode Island Lemon Laws