Definitions. For purposes of this part, the
following definitions apply:
(1) "Collateral charge"
means all governmental charges, including but not limited to sales tax,
property tax, license and registration fees, and fees in lieu of tax.
means the purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, of a motor vehicle
that has not been brought into nonconformity as the result of abuse,
neglect, or unauthorized modifications or alterations by the purchaser,
any person to whom the motor vehicle is transferred during the duration of
an express warranty applicable to the motor vehicle, or any other person
entitled by the terms of the warranty to the benefits of its provisions.
(3) "Incidental damage"
means incidental and consequential damage as defined in 30-2-715.
has the meaning applied to that word in 61-4-201.
vehicle" means a vehicle, including the nonresidential portion of a
motor home as defined in 61-1-130, propelled by its own power, designed
primarily to transport persons or property upon the public highways, and
sold or registered in this state.
(b) The term does not include a truck with
10,000 pounds or more gross vehicle weight rating. Motor vehicle does not
include components, systems, fixtures, appliances, furnishings,
accessories, and features that are designed, used, and maintained
primarily for residential purposes.
allowance for use" is an amount directly attributable to use of the
motor vehicle by the consumer and any previous consumers prior to the
first written notice of the nonconformity to the manufacturer or its agent
and during any subsequent period when the vehicle is not out of service
because of nonconformity. The reasonable allowance for use must be
computed by multiplying the total contract price of the vehicle by a
fraction having as its denominator 100,000 and having as its numerator the
number of miles that the vehicle traveled prior to the manufacturer's
acceptance of its return.
(7) "Warranty period"
means the period ending 2 years after the date of the original delivery to
the consumer of a new motor vehicle or during the first 18,000 miles of
operation, whichever is earlier.
History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 144, L. 1983; amd.
Sec. 1, Ch. 744, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 300, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 1, Ch.
360, L. 2003.
Notice -- warranty enforceable after warranty period
(1) If a consumer notifies in writing the
manufacturer or its agent during the warranty period that a new motor
vehicle does not conform to all applicable express warranties, the repairs
necessary to conform the new motor vehicle to the express warranties shall
be made by or at the expense of the warrantor, regardless of the
expiration of the warranty period after notification of nonconformity is
given by the consumer.
(2) The warranty period of an express
warranty is extended to equal the time that repair services are not
available because of war or invasion or because of strike or fire, flood,
or other natural disaster. The presumption provided herein may not apply
against a manufacturer who has not received prior written notification
from or on behalf of the consumer and has not had an opportunity to cure
the alleged defect.
(3) The manufacturer must clearly and
conspicuously disclose to the consumer in the warranty or owner's manual
that written notification of a nonconformity is required before a consumer
may be eligible for a refund or replacement of the vehicle. The
manufacturer must include with the warranty or owner's manual the name and
address where the written notification must be sent.
History: (1)En. Sec. 2, Ch. 144, L. 1983;
(2)En. Sec. 5, Ch. 144, L. 1983; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 744, L. 1985.
Replacement for nonconformity to warranty.
(1) If after a reasonable number of attempts
the manufacturer or its agent or authorized dealer is unable, during the
warranty period, to conform the new motor vehicle to any applicable
express warranty by repairing or correcting any defect or condition that
substantially impairs the use and market value or safety of the motor
vehicle to the consumer, the manufacturer shall replace it with a new
motor vehicle of the same model and style and of equal value, unless for
reasons of lack of availability such replacement is impossible, in which
case the manufacturer shall replace it with a vehicle of comparable market
(2) As an alternative to replacement, the
manufacturer may accept return of the new motor vehicle from the consumer
upon refund to him of the full purchase price, plus reasonable collateral
charges and incidental damages, less a reasonable allowance for the
consumer's use of the motor vehicle. The refund shall be paid to the
consumer and to a lienholder, if any, in proportion to their interests.
History: En. Sec. 3, Ch. 144, L. 1983; amd.
Sec. 3, Ch. 744, L. 1985.
61-4-504. Reasonable number of attempts -- presumption.
A reasonable number of attempts to conform a new motor vehicle to the
applicable express warranties is presumed to have been made for purposes
of 61-4-503(1) if:
(1) the same nonconformity has been subject
to repair four or more times by the manufacturer or its agent or
authorized dealer during the warranty period but the nonconformity
continues to exist; or
(2) the vehicle is out of service because of
nonconformity for a cumulative total of 30 or more business days during
the warranty period after notification of the manufacturer, agent, or
History: En. Sec. 4, Ch. 144, L. 1983.
Dealer exemption -- liability to manufacturer.
(1) Nothing in this part imposes any
liability on a dealer or creates a cause of action by a consumer against a
dealer under 61-4-503.
(2) A dealer is not liable to a manufacturer
for any refunds or vehicle replacements in the absence of evidence
indicating that repairs made by the dealer were carried out in a manner
inconsistent with the manufacturer's instructions.
History: En. Sec. 8, Ch. 144, L. 1983; amd.
Sec. 4, Ch. 744, L. 1985.
Provisions nonexclusive -- applicability of U.C.C. -- defenses.
(1) The provisions of this part do not limit
the rights or remedies available to a consumer under any other law.
(2) All express warranties arising from the
sale of a new motor vehicle are subject to the provisions of Title 30,
chapter 2, part 3.
(3) It is an affirmative defense to a claim
brought under this part that an alleged nonconformity does not
substantially impair the use, market value, or safety of the vehicle or
that the nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized
modification or alteration of a motor vehicle by the consumer.
History: En. Sec. 6, Ch. 144, L. 1983; amd.
Sec. 5, Ch. 744, L. 1985.
Exhaustion of remedies under federal law. The
provisions of 61-4-503 are not applicable against a manufacturer who has
established an informal dispute settlement procedure certified by the
department of administration to be in substantial compliance with the
provisions of Title 16, Code of Federal Regulations, part 703, as those
provisions read on October 1, 1983, unless the consumer has first resorted
to that procedure without satisfaction.
History: En. Sec. 7, Ch. 144, L. 1983; amd.
Sec. 6, Ch. 744, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 195, Ch. 483, L. 2001.
through 61-4-510 reserved.
Manufacturer's dispute settlement procedure -- certification --
(1) A manufacturer who has established an
informal dispute settlement procedure under the provisions of Title 16,
Code of Federal Regulations, part 703 (16 CFR, part 703), as those
provisions read on October 1, 1983, shall submit a copy of the procedure
to the department of administration. The department of administration
shall issue a certificate of approval to a manufacturer whose procedure
complies in all respects with the federal regulations and subsection (2).
The department of administration shall report to the department of justice
all manufacturer's procedures certified. The department of administration
may issue subpoenas requiring the attendance of witnesses and the
production of records, documents, or other evidence necessary to it in an
investigation related to the certification of a manufacturer's informal
dispute settlement procedure.
(2) A manufacturer's informal dispute
settlement procedure must afford the consumer or the consumer's
representative an opportunity to appear and present evidence in Montana at
a location reasonably convenient to the consumer and, further, may not
include any practices that:
(a) delay a decision in any dispute beyond 60
days after the date on which the consumer initially resorts to the dispute
(b) delay performance of remedies awarded in
a settlement beyond 10 days after a decision, except that a manufacturer
may have 30 days following the date of decision to replace a motor vehicle
or make refund to the consumer as provided in 61-4-503;
(c) require the consumer to make the vehicle
available for inspection by a manufacturer's representative more than
(d) fail to consider in decisions any
remedies provided by this part; or
(e) require the consumer to take any action or assume any obligation not
specifically authorized under the federal regulations referred to in
History: En. Sec. 7, Ch. 744, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 13, Ch. 503, L.
1985; amd. Sec. 196, Ch. 483, L. 2001.
Annual audit -- revocation or suspension of
(1) A manufacturer establishing an informal
dispute resolution procedure shall file with the department of
administration a copy of the annual audit required under Title 16, Code of
Federal Regulations, part 703 (16 CFR, part 703), as those provisions read
on October 1, 1983, along with any additional information that the
department of administration may require, including the number of refunds
and replacements made by the manufacturer during the period audited.
(2) The department of administration may,
after notice and hearing as provided in Title 2, chapter 4, suspend or
revoke the certification of a manufacturer's informal dispute resolution
procedure upon a finding that the procedure is being used to create
hardship to consumers. The department of administration shall notify the
department of justice of any revocation or suspension of a certification.
The department of administration may consider the revocation or suspension
in licensing manufacturers under Title 61, chapter 4, part 2.
History: En. Sec. 8, Ch. 744, L. 1985; amd.
Sec. 13, Ch. 503, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 197, Ch. 483, L. 2001.
and 61-4-514 reserved.
(1) The department of administration shall
provide an independent forum and arbitration procedure for the settlement
of disputes between consumers and manufacturers of motor vehicles that do
not conform to all applicable warranties under the provisions of this
part. The procedure must conform to Title 27, chapter 5. All arbitration
must take place in Montana at a place reasonably convenient to the
(2) Except as provided in 61-4-520, a
consumer owning a motor vehicle that fails to conform to all applicable
warranties may bring a grievance before an arbitration panel only if the
manufacturer of the motor vehicle has not established an informal dispute
settlement procedure that has been certified by the department of
administration under 61-4-511
History: En. Sec. 10, Ch. 744, L. 1985; amd.
Sec. 23, Ch. 744, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 198, Ch. 483, L. 2001.
61-4-516. Selection of arbitrator. An arbitrator for a
grievance under this part must be chosen by the department of
administration. The department of administration shall maintain a list of
persons willing to serve as an arbitrator.
History: En. Sec. 11, Ch. 744, L. 1985; amd.
Sec. 199, Ch. 483, L. 2001; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 360, L. 2003.
Implementation of arbitration.
(1) A consumer may initiate a request for
arbitration by filing a notice with the department of administration. The
consumer shall file, on a form prescribed by the department of
administration, any information considered relevant to the resolution of
the dispute and shall return the form, along with a $50 filing fee, within
5 days after receiving it. The complaint form must offer the consumer the
choice of presenting any subsequent testimony orally or in writing, but
(2) The department of administration shall
determine whether the complaint alleges the violation of any applicable
warranty under this part. If the department of administration determines
that a complaint does not allege a warranty violation, it shall refund the
(3) Upon acceptance of a complaint, the
department of administration shall notify the manufacturer of the filing
of a request for arbitration and shall obtain from the manufacturer, on a
form prescribed by the department of administration, any information
considered relevant to the resolution of the dispute. The manufacturer
shall return the form within 15 days of receipt, with a filing fee of
(4) Fees collected under this section must be
deposited in a special revenue fund for the use of the department of
administration in administering this part.
(5) The manufacturer's fee provided in
subsection (3) is due only if the department of administration arbitration
procedures are used.
History: En. Sec. 12, Ch. 744, L. 1985; amd.
Sec. 200, Ch. 483, L. 2001.
61-4-518. Arbitration -- role of department of
administration -- expert.
(1) The department of administration shall
investigate, gather, and organize all information necessary for a fair and
timely decision in each dispute. The department of administration may, on
behalf of the arbitrator, issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of
witnesses and the production of documents, papers, and records relevant to
(2) If requested by the arbitrator, the
department of administration may forward a copy of all written testimony
and documentary evidence to an independent technical expert certified by
the national institute of automotive excellence. The expert may review the
material and be available to advise and consult with the arbitrator. The
expert, at the arbitrator's request, may be present whenever oral
testimony is presented.
History: En. Sec. 13, Ch. 744, L. 1985; amd.
Sec. 13, Ch. 503, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 201, Ch. 483, L. 2001; amd. Sec. 3,
Ch. 360, L. 2003.
61-4-519. Action by
arbitrator -- decision.
(1) The arbitrator shall, as expeditiously as
possible, but not later than 60 days after the department of
administration has accepted a complaint, render a fair decision based on
the information gathered and disclose the arbitrator's findings and
reasoning to the parties.
(2) The decision shall provide appropriate
remedies, including but not limited to:
(a) repair of the vehicle;
(b) replacement of the vehicle with an
identical vehicle or a comparable vehicle acceptable to the consumer;
(c) refund as provided in 61-4-503 (2);
(d) any other remedies available under the
applicable warranties or 15 U.S.C. 2301 through 2312, as in effect on
October 1, 1983; or
(e) reimbursement of expenses and costs to
the prevailing party.
(3) The decision must specify a date for performance and completion of all
awarded remedies. The department of administration shall contact the
prevailing party within 10 working days after the date for performance to
determine whether performance has occurred. The parties shall act in good
faith in abiding by any decision. In addition, if the decision is not
accepted, the parties shall follow the provisions of Title 27, chapter 5.
If it is determined by the court that the appellant has acted without good
cause in bringing an appeal of an award, the court, in its discretion, may
grant to the respondent costs and reasonable attorney fees.
History: En. Sec. 14, Ch. 744, L. 1985; amd.
Sec. 23, Ch. 744, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 202, Ch. 483, L. 2001; amd. Sec. 4,
Ch. 360, L. 2003.
61-4-520. Nonconforming procedure -- arbitration de novo.
A consumer injured by the operation of any procedure that does not conform
with procedures established by a manufacturer pursuant to 61-4-511 and the
provisions of Title 16, Code of Federal Regulations, part 703, as in
effect on October 1, 1983, may appeal any decision rendered as the result
of the procedure by requesting arbitration de novo of the dispute by a
department of administration panel. Filing procedures and fees for appeals
must be the same as those required in 61-4-515 through 61-4-517. The
findings of the manufacturer's informal dispute settlement procedure are
admissible in evidence at the department of administration arbitration
panel hearing and in any civil action arising out of any warranty
obligation or matter related to the dispute.
History: En. Sec. 16, Ch. 744, L. 1985; amd.
Sec. 203, Ch. 483, L. 2001.
through 61-4-524 reserved.
61-4-525. Notice on resale of
replaced vehicle. A motor vehicle which is returned to the manufacturer
and which requires replacement or refund may not be sold in the state
without a clear and conspicuous written disclosure of the fact that the
vehicle was returned. The department of justice may prescribe by rule the
form and content of the disclosure statement and a procedure by which the
disclosure may be removed upon a determination that the vehicle is no
History: En. Sec. 9, Ch. 744, L. 1985; amd.
Sec. 13, Ch. 503, L. 1985.
Records of disputes The department of administration shall maintain
records of each dispute as it determines, including an index of disputes
by brand name and model. The department of administration shall, at
intervals of no more than 6 months, compile and maintain statistics
indicating the record of compliance with arbitration decisions and the
number of refunds or replacements awarded. The statistical summary must be
considered by the department of administration in determining the issuance
of any manufacturer license required under Title 61, chapter 4, part 2.
History: En. Sec. 15, Ch. 744, L. 1985; amd.
Sec. 13, Ch. 503, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 204, Ch. 483, L. 2001.
through 61-4-530 reserved.
Nondelegable. The liabilities and obligations contained in this
part may not be delegated or assigned to or assumed by any other person or
Rulemaking. The department of administration may adopt rules to
implement the provisions of this part.
History: En. Sec. 18, Ch. 744, L. 1985; amd.
Sec. 205, Ch. 483, L. 2001.
Penalty. A violation of any provision of this part is an unfair or
deceptive trade practice under Title 30, chapter 14, part 2, and the
penalties provided in 30-14-224(1) apply.
History: En. Sec. 19, Ch. 744, L. 1985.