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Consumer Warranty Law: Scope

General repair or motor vehicle repair disclosure and regulation laws often restrictively define the type of work or the type of repair establishments that are covered. They may exclude body work or simple maintenance typically done by service stations (for example, replacement of windshield wipers, fan belts, spark plugs, or lubricating), or the law may specifically include certain work. The law may apply to certain establishments (for example, car dealers and repair shops), but not others (for example, service stations).

Consumer Warranty Law: Required disclosures

About half the states have adopted specific provisions regulating the daily operation of repair facilities. Although the specific requirements vary from state to state, common provisions include requirements that the facilities:

Consumer Warranty Law: Administrative enforcement

Administrative enforcement authority for automobile repair laws is not uniform; authority may be vested in the state attorney general, the secretary of state, the motor vehicle commissioner, the commerce department, or an administrative board or commission. A regulatory body may be authorized only to initiate investigations. Administrative remedies include civil penalties,292 license suspension and revocation,293 and cease and desist orders.

Consumer Warranty Law: Repair Shop Licensing

Several states license automobile repair shops or mechanics. These statutes often prohibit unregistered or unlicensed practice. Generally, but not always, the licensing statute is applicable only to those who repair mechanical parts, not to body and fender mechanics, and not to service stations or other employees.294 Garages, repair shops, and towing services may also be regulated by municipal ordinances.

Consumer Warranty Law: 19.10.4 State UDAP Statutes

Idaho, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Wisconsin have enacted detailed regulations under their unfair and deceptive acts and practices (UDAP) statutes specifying deceptive automobile repair or general repair practices.302 Several of these automobile repair regulations require repair shops to provide consumers with price estimates and repair orders.

Consumer Warranty Law: Liability for Repair Costs for Recalls or Emissions Control Equipment Failure

Even if a vehicle’s warranty has expired, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act authorizes the United States Secretary of Transportation to require the manufacturer to make free repairs for safety-related defects.308 The manufacturer must send notice “to each person registered under State law as the owner and whose name and address are reasonably ascertainable by the manufacturer through State records or other available sources.”309 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website also lists vehicles

Consumer Warranty Law: E.1 Introduction

This appendix reprints the parts of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) text and official comments most often consulted in consumer warranty cases. The UCC is prepared by the American Law Institute (ALI) and the Uniform Law Commission (formerly the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL)). These selected sections are reprinted with permission.1

Consumer Warranty Law: Listing of Provisions

Listing of UCC Article 1 Sections Reprinted

[Note: Only sections of the 2001 revised version of Article 1 which are reproduced herein are listed below.]

Article 1 General Provisions [2001]

Part 1. General Provisions

1-101. Short Titles

1-102. Scope of Article

Consumer Warranty Law: Section 1-101. Short Titles.

(a) This [Act] may be cited as the Uniform Commercial Code.

(b) This article may be cited as Uniform Commercial Code—General Provisions.

Official Comment

Source: Former Section 1-101.

Changes from former law: Subsection (b) is new. It is added in order to make the structure of Article 1 parallel with that of the other articles of the Uniform Commercial Code.

Consumer Warranty Law: Section 1-103. Construction of [Uniform Commercial Code] to Promote Its Purposes and Policies; Applicability of Supplemental Principles of Law.

(a) [The Uniform Commercial Code] must be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes and policies, which are:

(1) to simplify, clarify, and modernize the law governing commercial transactions;

(2) to permit the continued expansion of commercial practices through custom, usage, and agreement of the parties; and

(3) to make uniform the law among the various jurisdictions.

Consumer Warranty Law: Section 1-201. General Definitions.

(a) Unless the context otherwise requires, words or phrases defined in this section, or in the additional definitions contained in other articles of [the Uniform Commercial Code] that apply to particular articles or parts thereof, have the meanings stated.

(b) Subject to definitions contained in other articles of [the Uniform Commercial Code] that apply to particular articles or parts thereof:

Consumer Warranty Law: Section 1-202. Notice; Knowledge.

(a) Subject to subsection (f), a person has “notice” of a fact if the person:

(1) has actual knowledge of it;

(2) has received a notice or notification of it; or

(3) from all the facts and circumstances known to the person at the time in question, has reason to know that it exists.

(b) “Knowledge” means actual knowledge. “Knows” has a corresponding meaning.

Consumer Warranty Law: Section 1-203. Lease Distinguished From Security Interest.

(a) Whether a transaction in the form of a lease creates a lease or security interest is determined by the facts of each case.

(b) A transaction in the form of a lease creates a security interest if the consideration that the lessee is to pay the lessor for the right to possession and use of the goods is an obligation for the term of the lease and is not subject to termination by the lessee, and:

(1) the original term of the lease is equal to or greater than the remaining economic life of the goods;

Consumer Warranty Law: Section 1-204. Value.

Except as otherwise provided in Articles 3, 4, [and] 5, [and 6], a person gives value for rights if the person acquires them:

(1) in return for a binding commitment to extend credit or for the extension of immediately available credit, whether or not drawn upon and whether or not a charge-back is provided for in the event of difficulties in collection;

(2) as security for, or in total or partial satisfaction of, a preexisting claim;

Consumer Warranty Law: Section 1-205. Reasonable Time; Seasonableness.

(a) Whether a time for taking an action required by [the Uniform Commercial Code] is reasonable depends on the nature, purpose, and circumstances of the action.

(b) An action is taken seasonably if it is taken at or within the time agreed or, if no time is agreed, at or within a reasonable time.

Official Comment

Source: Former Section 1-204(2)–(3).

Consumer Warranty Law: Section 1-303. Course of Performance, Course of Dealing, and Usage of Trade.

(a) A “course of performance” is a sequence of conduct between the parties to a particular transaction that exists if:

(1) the agreement of the parties with respect to the transaction involves repeated occasions for performance by a party; and

(2) the other party, with knowledge of the nature of the performance and opportunity for objection to it, accepts the performance or acquiesces in it without objection.

Consumer Warranty Law: Section 1-304. Obligation of Good Faith.

Every contract or duty within [the Uniform Commercial Code] imposes an obligation of good faith in its performance and enforcement.

Official Comment

Source: Former Section 1-203.

Changes from former law: Except for changing the form of reference to the Uniform Commercial Code, this section is identical to former Section 1-203.

Consumer Warranty Law: Section 1-305. Remedies to Be Liberally Administered.

(a) The remedies provided by [the Uniform Commercial Code] must be liberally administered to the end that the aggrieved party may be put in as good a position as if the other party had fully performed but neither consequential or special damages nor penal damages may be had except as specifically provided in [the Uniform Commercial Code] or by other rule of law.

(b) Any right or obligation declared by [the Uniform Commercial Code] is enforceable by action unless the provision declaring it specifies a different and limited effect.