New Hampshire State Statutes
Title 31 - Chapter 357D
Trade and Commerce
New Motor Vehicle Arbitration
The legislature finds and declares that manufacturers, distributors and importers of
new motor vehicles should be obligated to provide speedy and less costly resolution of
automobile warranty problems. Manufacturers should be required to provide in as
expeditious a manner as possible a refund of the consumer's purchase price, payments to a
lessor and lessee, or a replacement vehicle that is acceptable to the consumer whenever
the manufacturer is unable to make the vehicle conform with its applicable warranty. New
motor vehicle dealers and used motor vehicle dealers cannot be sued under this chapter.
I. "Board" means the New Hampshire new motor vehicle arbitration
II. "Business day" means any day during which the service
departments of authorized dealers of the manufacturer of the motor vehicle are normally
open for business.
III. "Consumer" means the purchaser, other than for purposes of
resale of a new motor vehicle; the lessee of a new motor vehicle, other than for the
purpose of sublease; any person to whom such 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 enforce the obligations of the warranty.
"Consumer" shall not include any governmental entity.
IV. "Distributor" means any person who sells or distributes new or
used motor vehicles to motor vehicle dealers or who maintains distributor
representatives within this state.
V. "Early termination costs" means expenses and obligations incurred
by a motor vehicle lessee as a result of an early termination of a written lease
agreement and surrender of a motor vehicle to a manufacturer, including penalties for
prepayment of finance arrangements.
VI. "Factory branch" means any branch office maintained by a
manufacturer for the purpose of selling, leasing, or offering for sale or lease,
vehicles to a distributor or new motor vehicle dealer or for directing or supervising,
in whole or in part, factory distributor representatives.
VII. "Lease" or "leased" means a written agreement with a
lessee which shall be for the use of a motor vehicle for consideration for a term of 2
or more years.
VIII. "Lessee" means any consumer who leases a motor vehicle
pursuant to a written lease agreement for a term of 2 or more years.
IX. "Manufacturer" means any person, resident or nonresident, who
manufactures or assembles new motor vehicles, or imports for distribution through
distributors of motor vehicles or any partnership, firm, association, joint venture,
corporation or trust, resident or nonresident, which is controlled by a manufacturer.
The term "manufacturer" includes distributors and factory branches.
X. "Motor vehicle" means:
(a) A motor vehicle, as defined in RSA 259:60, of the private passenger or
station wagon type with a gross weight not exceeding 9,000 pounds that is purchased or
leased by a consumer; or
(b) Any other 4-wheel motor vehicle with a gross weight not exceeding 9,000
pounds, except tractors, off highway recreational vehicles, and mopeds; or
XI. "Motor vehicle dealer" means any person engaged in the business
of selling, offering to sell, leasing, soliciting or advertising the sale of new or used
motor vehicles or possessing motor vehicles for the purpose of resale either on his own
account or on behalf of another, either as his primary business or incidental thereto.
However, "motor vehicle dealer" shall not include:
(a) Receivers, trustees, administrators, executors, guardians, or other
persons appointed by or acting under judgment, decree or order of any court; or
(b) Public officers while performing their duties as such officers.
XII. "Motor vehicle lessor" means a person who holds title to a
motor vehicle leased to a lessee under written lease agreement for a term of 2 or more
years, or who holds the lessor's rights under such an agreement.
XIII. "New motor vehicle" means a passenger motor vehicle which is
still under the manufacturer's express warranty.
XIV. "Nonconformity" means a defect or condition that substantially
impairs the use, value or safety of a motor vehicle, but does not include a defect 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
XV. "Warranty" includes express warranties as defined in the Uniform
Commercial Code, RSA 382-A, plus any written warranty of the manufacturer.
357-D:3 Enforcement of Warranties.
I. Every new motor vehicle sold in this state shall conform to all applicable
II. It shall be the manufacturer's obligation under this chapter to insure
that all new motor vehicles sold or leased in this state conform with the manufacturer's
express warranties. The manufacturer may delegate responsibility to its agents or
authorized dealers provided, however, in the event the manufacturer delegates its
responsibility under this chapter to its agents or authorized dealers, it shall
compensate the dealer for all work performed by the dealer in satisfaction of the
manufacturer's responsibility under this chapter.
III. If a new motor vehicle does not conform to all applicable express
warranties and the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, its agent or
authorized dealer during the term of the warranty, the manufacturer shall cause whatever
repairs are necessary to conform the vehicle to the warranties, notwithstanding the fact
that the repairs are made after the expiration of a warranty term.
IV. A manufacturer, its agent or authorized dealer shall not refuse to provide
a consumer with a written repair order and shall provide to the consumer, each time the
consumer's vehicle is brought in for examination or repair of a defect, a written
summary of the complaint and a fully itemized statement indicating all work performed on
the vehicle including, but not limited to, examination of the vehicle, parts, and labor.
V. If, after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer, its agent or
authorized dealer or its delegate is unable to conform the motor vehicle to any express
warranty by repairing or correcting any defect or condition covered by the warranty
which substantially impairs the use, market value, or safety of the motor vehicle to the
consumer, the manufacturer shall, at the option of the consumer within 30 days of the
effective date of the board's order, replace the motor vehicle with a new motor vehicle
from the same manufacturer, if available, of comparable worth to the same make and model
with all options and accessories with appropriate adjustments being allowed for any
model year differences or shall accept return of the vehicle from the consumer and
refund to the consumer the full purchase price or to the lessee, in the case of leased
vehicles, as provided in paragraph IX. In those instances in which a refund is tendered,
the manufacturer shall refund to the consumer the full purchase price as indicated in
the purchase contract and all credits and allowances for any trade-in or down payment,
license fees, finance charges, credit charges, registration fees, and any similar
charges and incidental and consequential damages or, in the case of leased vehicles, as
provided in paragraph IX. Refunds shall be made to the consumer and lien holder, if any,
as their interests may appear, or to the motor vehicle lessor and lessee as provided in
paragraph IX. A reasonable allowance for use shall be that amount directly attributable
to use by the consumer prior to the first repair attempt and shall be calculated by
multiplying the full purchase price of the vehicle by a fraction having as its
denominator 100,000, or for a motorcycle with an engine size of 250 cubic centimeters or
smaller 20,000, or for a motorcycle with an engine size greater than 250 cubic
centimeters 40,000, and having as its numerator the number of miles that the vehicle
traveled prior to the first attempt at repairing the vehicle.
VI. It shall be an affirmative defense to any claim under this chapter that an
alleged nonconformity does not substantially impair the use, market value, or safety or
that the nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications or
alterations of a motor vehicle by a consumer.
VII. It shall be presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been
undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to the applicable warranties if:
(a) The same nonconformity as identified in any written examination or
repair order has been subject to repair at least 3 times by the manufacturer, its
agent, or authorized dealer within the express warranty term and the same
nonconformity continues to exist; or
(b) The vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of one or more
nonconformities, defects, or conditions for a cumulative total of 30 or more business
days during the term of the express warranty. The term of any warranty and the 30-day
period shall be extended by any period of time during which repair services were not
available to the consumer because of war, invasion, strike, fire, flood, or other
natural disaster. If an extension of time is necessitated due to these conditions, the
manufacturer shall provide for the free use of a vehicle to the consumer whose vehicle
is out of service. A vehicle shall not be deemed out of service if it is available to
the consumer for a major part of the day.
VIII. In order for an attempt at repair to qualify for the presumptions of
this section, the attempt at repair shall be evidenced by a written examination or
repair order issued by the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer. The
presumptions of this section shall only apply to 3 attempts at repair evidenced by
written examination or repair orders undertaken by the same agent or authorized dealer,
unless the consumer shows good cause for taking the vehicle to a different agent or
IX. In cases in which a refund is tendered by a manufacturer for a leased
motor vehicle under paragraph V, the refund and rights of the motor vehicle lessor,
lessee, and manufacturer shall be in accordance with the following:
(a) The manufacturer shall provide to the lessee the aggregate deposit and
rental payments previously paid to the motor vehicle lessor by the lessee, and
incidental and consequential damages, if applicable, minus a reasonable allowance for
use. The aggregate deposit shall include, but not be limited to, all cash payments and
trade-in allowances tendered by the lessee to the motor vehicle lessor under the lease
agreement. The reasonable allowance for use shall be calculated by multiplying the
aggregate deposit and rental payments made by the lessee on the motor vehicle by a
fraction having as its denominator 100,000 or for a motorcycle 20,000, and having as
its numerator the number of miles that the vehicle traveled prior to the first attempt
to repair the vehicle.
(b) The manufacturer shall provide to the motor vehicle lessor the aggregate
of the following:
(1) The lessor's actual purchase cost, less payments made by the lessee;
(2) The freight cost, if applicable;
(3) The cost for dealer or manufacturer-installed accessories, if
(4) Any fee paid to another to obtain the lease;
(5) An amount equal to 5 percent of the lessor's actual purchase cost as
prescribed in subparagraph IX(b)(1). The amount in this subparagraph shall be
instead of any early termination costs.
(c) The lessee's lease agreement with the motor vehicle lessor and all
contractual obligations shall be terminated upon a decision of the board in favor of
the lessee. The lessee shall not be liable for any further costs or charges to the
manufacturer or motor vehicle lessor under the lease agreement.
(d) The motor vehicle lessor shall release the motor vehicle title to the
manufacturer upon the payment by the manufacturer under the provisions of this
(e) The board shall give notice to the motor vehicle lessor of the lessee's
filing of a request for arbitration under this chapter and shall notify the motor
vehicle lessor of the date, time and place scheduled for a hearing before the board.
The motor vehicle lessor shall provide testimony and evidence necessary to the
arbitration proceedings. Any decision of the board shall be binding upon the motor
357-D:4 Procedure to Obtain Refund or Replacement.
I. After the third attempt at repair or correction of the nonconformity,
defect or condition, or after the vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of one
or more nonconformities, defects or conditions for a cumulative total of 30 or more
business days as provided in this chapter, the consumer shall notify the manufacturer
along with a clear and conspicuous disclosure notice of the rights of the consumer under
this chapter at the time the new motor vehicle is delivered, of the nonconformity,
defect or condition and the consumer's election to proceed under this chapter. The forms
shall be made available by the manufacturer to the New Hampshire new motor vehicle
arbitration board, and any other public or nonprofit agencies that shall request them.
Forms and notices shall be in a form prescribed by rule of the department of justice and
shall not include window stickers. The consumer shall, in the notice, elect whether to
use the dispute settlement mechanism or the arbitration provisions established by the
manufacturer or to proceed under the New Hampshire new motor vehicle arbitration board
as established under this chapter. The consumer's election of whether to proceed before
the board or the manufacturer's dispute settlement mechanism shall preclude his recourse
to the method not selected.
II. A consumer shall not pursue a remedy under this chapter if he has
discontinued financing or lease payments, if the payments have been discontinued due to
the manufacturer's breach of obligation under this chapter or due to a breach of the
III. A consumer who elects to proceed before the board shall pay a filing fee
of $50 and the manufacturer shall pay a filing fee of $250. Such fees shall be retained
by the department of safety and used to defray costs associated with the work of the
board, including per diem costs of board members and any other administrative expenses.
IV. Arbitration of the consumer's complaint, either through the manufacturer's
dispute settlement mechanism or the board, shall be held within 40 days of receipt by
the manufacturer or the board and the manufacturer of the consumer's notice electing the
remedy of arbitration unless the consumer or the manufacturer has good cause for an
extension of time, not to exceed an additional 30-day period. If the extension of time
is requested by the manufacturer, the manufacturer shall provide free use of a vehicle
to the consumer if the consumer's vehicle is out of service. In the event the consumer
elects to proceed in accordance with the manufacturer's dispute settlement mechanism and
the arbitration of the dispute is not held within 40 days of the manufacturer's receipt
of the consumer's notice and the manufacturer is not able to establish good cause for
the delay, the consumer shall be entitled to receive the relief requested under this
V. Within the 40-day period set forth in paragraph IV, the manufacturer shall
have one final opportunity to correct and repair the defect which the consumer claims
entitles him to a refund or replacement vehicle. If the consumer is satisfied with the
corrective work done by the manufacturer or his delegate, the arbitration proceedings
shall be terminated without prejudice to the consumer's right to request that
arbitration be recommended as provided in RSA 357-D:11, I(b) if the repair proves
VI. The manufacturer shall refund the reasonable allowance provided for in RSA
357-D:3, V or IX, or make the replacement required by the board within 30 days of a
decision of the board or within 15 days of final adjudication.
357-D:5 New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board Established.
I. There is created a New Hampshire new motor vehicle arbitration board
consisting of 5 members and 3 alternate members to be appointed by the governor and
council. Terms of members shall be for 3 years. Board members may be appointed for no
more than 2 terms. One member and one alternate of the board shall be new car dealers in
New Hampshire, one member and one alternate shall be persons knowledgeable in automobile
mechanics, and 3 members and one alternate shall be persons who represent consumers and
have no direct involvement in the design, manufacture, distributions, sales or service
of motor vehicles or their parts. Three members of the board shall constitute a quorum.
Members shall be paid $50 per diem plus mileage.
II. The board shall be administratively attached to the department of safety
under RSA 21-G:10.
III. The board shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, to implement the
provisions of this chapter.
IV. The board shall hold a hearing within 40 days of receipt of a complaint,
unless an extension of time has been granted by the board under RSA 357-D:4, IV, and
shall render a decision within 30 days of the conclusion of a hearing. The board shall
have the authority to issue only damages as are provided by this chapter.
357-D:6 Appeal From Board's Decision.
I. The decision of the board shall be final and shall not be modified or
vacated unless, on appeal to the superior court, a party to the arbitration proceeding
proves, by clear and convincing evidence, that:
(a) The award was procured by corruption, fraud or other undue means.
(b) There was evident partiality by the board or corruption or misconduct by
the board prejudicing the rights of any party.
(c) The board exceeded its powers.
(d) The board refused to postpone a hearing after being shown sufficient
cause to do so, refused to hear evidence material to the controversy, or otherwise
conducted the hearing contrary to the rules adopted by the board so as to prejudice
substantially the rights of a party.
II. A party to the arbitration proceeding shall not pursue an appeal until a
final decision has been rendered by the board. Any appeal shall be filed with the
superior court within 30 days of the date of the written board decision.
357-D:7 Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices.
Failure of the manufacturer or distributor to comply with a decision of the board shall
constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice under RSA 358-A:2.
357-D:8 Dealer's Liability.
Nothing in this chapter imposes any liability on a franchised motor vehicle dealer or
creates a cause of action by a consumer against a dealer, except for written express
warranties made by the dealer apart from the manufacturer's warranties. A dealer shall not
be made a party defendant in any action involving or relating to this chapter, except as
provided in this section. The manufacturer shall not charge back or require reimbursement
by the dealer for any costs, including, but not limited to, any refunds or vehicle
replacements, incurred by the manufacturer arising from this chapter.
357-D:9 Notification to Consumers.
Beginning with the model year following July 1, 1992, the manufacturer of every motor
vehicle sold in this state shall provide a clear and conspicuous written notice of the
consumer's rights under this chapter as provided under RSA 357-D:4 at the time of the
delivery of every such new motor vehicle in this state. The manufacturer shall provide the
consumer with a self-addressed notice in a form developed in accordance with rules adopted
by the department of justice under RSA 541-A and sufficient to notify the manufacturer of
the consumer's election to proceed under this chapter. The manufacturer shall not delegate
this responsibility to its authorized dealers. The manufacturer of every new motor vehicle
sold in this state shall also provide a clear and conspicuous notice that informs
consumers of their rights under this chapter.
357-D:10 Costs and Attorney's Fees.
In any action by a consumer against the manufacturer or distributor of a motor vehicle
based upon the alleged breach of an express warranty made in connection with the sale or
lease of such motor vehicle, the court, in its discretion, may award to the plaintiff
costs and reasonable attorney's fees. If the court determines that the action was brought
with no substantial justification, it may award costs and reasonable attorney's fees to
357-D:11 Limitations on Actions.
I. Any proceeding initiated under the provisions of this chapter shall be
commenced within one year following the later of:
(a) The expiration of the express warranty term; or
(b) The manufacturer's final repair attempt of the nonconformity, as
provided in RSA 357-D:4, V which gave rise to the consumer's request that the vehicle
be replaced or the money refunded.
II. Nothing in this chapter shall in any way limit the rights or remedies
which are otherwise available to a consumer under any other provision of law.
357-D:12 Sale of Defective Motor Vehicles.
I. For purposes of this section "a serious safety defect" means a
life-threatening malfunction or nonconformity that impedes the consumer's ability to
control or operate the motor vehicle for ordinary use or reasonable intended purposes or
creates a risk of fire or explosion.
II. Any manufacturer or its agent or authorized dealer is prohibited from
reselling in New Hampshire any vehicle determined or adjudicated by the board as having
a serious safety defect.