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Consumer Protection; Lemon Law

Consumer Protection
Lemon Law

If a manufacturer raises the affirmative defense that the consumer prevented it from providing a refund within the 30-day statutory period under the Lemon Law, it must prove that the consumer did so intentionally.

“We thus reject Mercedes-Benz’s invitation to broaden the manufacturer’s affirmative defense to encompass a consumer’s unintentional conduct. Accordingly, we conclude that a manufacturer may avoid Lemon Law penalties for failing to provide a refund within the 30-day statutory period if it proves that the consumer intentionally prevented the manufacturer from providing a refund within the 30-day statutory period. Marquez I used the phrases ‘good faith’ and ‘bad faith.’ It limited its definition of good faith to not intentionally preventing the manufacturer from complying with the 30-day statutory period or not intentionally thwarting its efforts to do so. Accordingly, we need not use the phrases ‘good faith’ or ‘bad faith.’ We can avoid any confusion about the meaning of the phrases ‘good faith’ and ‘bad faith’ that may come from the use of these phrases in other contexts. In keeping with Marquez I and the jury instructions, we need address only whether the consumer intentionally prevented the manufacturer from providing a refund within the 30-day statutory period.”

Affirmed.

2010AP826 Marquez v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC
Abrahamson, C.J.

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