Georgia Lemon Law

O.C.G.A. TITLE 10 Chapter 1 Article 28

GEORGIA CODE
Copyright 2008 by The State of Georgia
All rights reserved.

*** Current through the 2008 Regular Session ***

TITLE 10.  COMMERCE AND TRADE  
CHAPTER 1.  SELLING AND OTHER TRADE PRACTICES  
ARTICLE 28.  GEORGIA LEMON LAW

§ 10-1-780.  Short title

This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Georgia Lemon Law."

§ 10-1-781.  Legislative intent

The General Assembly recognizes that a new motor vehicle is a major consumer purchase and that a defectively manufactured new motor vehicle is likely to create hardship for, or may cause injury to, the consumer. It is the intent of the General Assembly to create a procedure for expeditious resolution of complaints and disputes concerning nonconforming new motor vehicles, to provide a method for notifying consumers of their rights under this article, and to ensure that consumers receive information, documents, and service necessary to enable them to exercise their rights under this article. In enacting these comprehensive measures, the General Assembly intends to encourage manufacturers to take all steps necessary to correct nonconformities in new motor vehicles and to create the proper blend of private and public remedies necessary to enforce this article.

§ 10-1-782.  Definitions

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, as used in this article, the term:

   (1) "Adjusted capitalized cost" means the amount shown as the adjusted capitalized cost in the lease agreement.

   (2) "Administrator" means the administrator appointed pursuant to Code Section 10-1-395 or his or her designee.

   (3) "Authorized agent" means any person, including a franchised motor vehicle dealer, who is authorized by the manufacturer to service motor vehicles.

   (4) "Collateral charges" means charges incurred by a consumer as a result of the purchase of a new motor vehicle including, but not limited to, charges attributable to factory or dealer installed options, sales tax and title charges, and earned finance charges.

   (5) "Consumer" means each of the following:

      (A) A person who purchases or leases a new motor vehicle for personal, family, or household use and not for the purpose of selling or leasing the new motor vehicle to another person; and

      (B) A person who purchases or leases ten or fewer new motor vehicles a year for business purposes other than limousine rental services.

   (6) "Days" means calendar days.

   (7) "Express warranty" means a warranty which is given by the manufacturer in writing.

   (8) "Incidental costs" means any reasonable expenses incurred by a consumer in connection with the repair of a new motor vehicle, including, but not limited to, payments to new motor vehicle dealers for the attempted repair of nonconformities, towing charges, and the costs of obtaining alternative transportation.

   (9) "Informal dispute settlement mechanism" means any procedure established, employed, utilized, or sponsored by a manufacturer for the purpose of resolving disputes with consumers under this article.

   (10) "Lemon law rights period" means the period ending two years after the date of the original delivery of a new motor vehicle to a consumer or the first 24,000 miles of operation after delivery of a new motor vehicle to the original consumer, whichever occurs first. The lemon law rights period shall be extended by one day for each day that repair services are not available to the consumer as a direct result of a strike, war, invasion, terrorist act, blackout, fire, flood, other disaster, or declared state of emergency.

   (11) "Lessee" means any consumer who enters into a written lease agreement or contract to lease a new motor vehicle for a period of at least one year and is responsible for repairs to such vehicle.

   (12) "Lessee cost" means the aggregate payment made by the lessee at the inception of the lease agreement or contract, inclusive of any allowance for a trade-in vehicle, and all other lease payments made by or on behalf of the lessee to the lessor.

   (13) "Lessor" means a person who holds title to a new motor vehicle that is leased to a consumer under a written lease agreement or contract or who holds the lessor's rights under such agreement.

   (14) "Manufacturer" means any person engaged in the business of constructing or assembling new motor vehicles or engaged in the business of importing or receiving imports of new motor vehicles into the United States for the purpose of selling or distributing them to new motor vehicle dealers.

   (15) "New motor vehicle" means any self-propelled vehicle primarily designed for the transportation of persons or property over the public highways that was leased, purchased, or registered in this state by the consumer or lessor to whom the original motor vehicle title was issued without previously having been issued to any person other than a new motor vehicle dealer. The term "new motor vehicle" does not include any vehicle on which the title and other transfer documents show a used, rather than new, vehicle. The term "new motor vehicle" also does not include trucks with more than 12,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating, motorcycles, or golf carts. If a new motor vehicle is a motor home, this article shall apply to the self-propelled vehicle and chassis, but does not include those portions of the vehicle designated, used, or maintained primarily as living quarters, office, or commercial space.

   (16) "New motor vehicle dealer" means a person who holds a dealer agreement with a manufacturer for the sale of new motor vehicles, who is engaged in the business of purchasing, selling, servicing, exchanging, leasing, or dealing in new motor vehicles, or who is licensed or otherwise authorized to utilize trademarks or service marks associated with one or more makes of motor vehicles in connection with such sales.

   (17) "Nonconformity" means a defect, a serious safety defect, or a condition, any of which substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of a new motor vehicle to the consumer or renders the new motor vehicle nonconforming to a warranty. A nonconformity does not include a defect, a serious safety defect, or a condition that is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modification or alteration of the new motor vehicle.

   (18) "Panel" means the new motor vehicle arbitration panel as designated in this article.

   (19) "Person" shall have the same meaning as provided in Code Section 10-1-392.

   (20) "Purchase price" means, in the case of a sale of a new motor vehicle to a consumer, the cash price of the new motor vehicle appearing in the sales agreement or contract, inclusive of any reasonable allowance for a trade-in vehicle. In the case of a lease executed by a consumer, "purchase price" refers to the agreed upon value of the vehicle as shown in the lease agreement or contract.

   (21) "Reacquired vehicle" means a new motor vehicle with an alleged nonconformity that has been replaced or repurchased by the manufacturer as the result of any court order or judgment, arbitration decision, voluntary settlement entered into between a manufacturer and the consumer, or voluntary settlement between a new motor vehicle dealer and a consumer in which the manufacturer directly or indirectly participated.

   (22) "Reasonable number of attempts" under the lemon law rights period shall be as set forth in subsection (a) of Code Section 10-1-784.

   (23) "Reasonable offset for use" means an amount calculated by multiplying the purchase price of a vehicle by the number of miles directly attributable to consumer use as of the date on which the consumer first delivered the vehicle to the manufacturer, its authorized agent, or the new motor vehicle dealer for repair of a nonconformity and dividing the product by 120,000, or in the case of a motor home 90,000.

   (24) "Replacement motor vehicle" means a new motor vehicle that is identical or at least equivalent to the motor vehicle to be replaced as the motor vehicle to be replaced existed at the time of purchase or execution of the lease.

   (25) "Serious safety defect" means a life-threatening defect or a malfunction 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.

   (26) "Superior court" means the superior court in the county where the consumer resides, except if the consumer does not reside in this state, then the superior court in the county where an arbitration hearing was conducted pursuant to this article.

   (27) "Warranty" means any manufacturer's express warranty or any affirmation of fact or promise made by the manufacturer in connection with the sale of a new motor vehicle to a consumer concerning the vehicle's materials, workmanship, operation, or performance which becomes part of the basis of the bargain. The term shall not include any extended coverage purchased by the consumer as a separate item or any statements made by the dealer in connection with the sale of a motor vehicle to a consumer which relate to the nature of the material or workmanship and affirm or promise that such material or workmanship is free of defects or will meet a specified level of performance.

§ 10-1-783.  Provision of owner's manual and notice of rights; fully itemized and legible repair order; copies of reports

   (a) The manufacturer shall publish an owner's manual and provide it to the new motor vehicle dealer. The owner's manual shall include a clear and conspicuous listing of addresses, e-mail addresses, facsimile numbers, and toll-free telephone numbers for the manufacturer's customer service personnel who are authorized to direct activities regarding repair of the consumer's vehicle. A manufacturer shall also provide all applicable manufacturer's written warranties to the new motor vehicle dealer, who shall transfer the owner's manual and all applicable manufacturer's written warranties to the consumer at the time of purchase or vehicle acquisition.

   (b) At the time of purchase or vehicle acquisition, the new motor vehicle dealer shall provide the consumer with a written statement that explains the consumer's rights under this article. The statement shall be written by the administrator and shall contain information regarding the procedures and remedies under this article.

   (c) By October 1 of each year, the manufacturer shall forward to the administrator one copy of the owner's manual and the express warranty for each make and model of current year new motor vehicles it sells in this state. To the extent the instructions, terms, and conditions in the owner's manuals and express warranties for other models of the same make are substantially the same, submission of the owner's manual and express warranty for one model and a list of all other models for that make will satisfy the requirements of this subsection.

   (d) Each time the consumer's new motor vehicle is returned from being diagnosed or repaired, the manufacturer, its authorized agent, or the new motor vehicle dealer shall provide to the consumer a fully itemized and legible statement or repair order containing a general description of the problem reported by the consumer; the date and the odometer reading when the vehicle was submitted for repair; the date and odometer reading when the vehicle was made available to the consumer; the results of any diagnostic test, inspection, or test drive; a description of any diagnosis or problem identified by the manufacturer, its authorized agent, or the new motor vehicle dealer; and an itemization of all work performed on the vehicle, including, but not limited to, parts and labor.

   (e) Upon request of the consumer, the manufacturer, its authorized agent, or the new motor vehicle dealer shall provide a copy of any report or computer reading compiled by the manufacturer's representative regarding inspection, diagnosis, or test drive of the consumer's new motor vehicle.

§ 10-1-784.  Reasonable attempts to correct nonconformity; option to repurchase or replace vehicle

   (a) (1) If a consumer reports a nonconformity during the lemon law rights period, the manufacturer, its authorized agent, or the new motor vehicle dealer shall be allowed a reasonable number of attempts to repair and correct the nonconformity. A reasonable number of attempts shall be deemed to have been undertaken by the manufacturer, its authorized agent, or the new motor vehicle dealer if, during the lemon law rights period:

      (A) A serious safety defect has been subject to repair one time and the serious safety defect has not been corrected;

      (B) The same nonconformity has been subject to repair three times, and the nonconformity has not been corrected; or

      (C) The vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of one or more nonconformities for a cumulative total of 30 days.
 
If the vehicle is being repaired by the manufacturer through an authorized agent or a new motor vehicle dealer on the date that the lemon law rights period expires, the lemon law rights period shall be extended until that repair attempt has been completed.

   (2) (A) If the manufacturer through an authorized agent or a new motor vehicle dealer is unable to repair and correct a nonconformity after a reasonable number of attempts, the consumer shall notify the manufacturer by statutory overnight delivery or certified mail, return receipt requested, of the need to repair and correct the nonconformity. The notice shall be sent to the address provided by the manufacturer in the owner's manual. The manufacturer shall have 28 days from its receipt of the notice to make a final attempt to repair and correct the nonconformity.

      (B) By not later than the close of business on the seventh day following receipt of notice from the consumer, the manufacturer shall notify the consumer of the location of a repair facility that is reasonably accessible to the consumer. By not later than the close of business on the fourteenth day following the manufacturer's receipt of notice, the consumer shall deliver the nonconforming new motor vehicle to the designated repair facility.

      (C) If the manufacturer fails to notify the consumer of the location of a reasonably accessible repair facility within seven days of its receipt of notice, or fails to complete the final attempt to repair and correct the nonconformity with the 28 day time period, the requirement that it be given a final attempt to repair and correct the nonconformity shall not apply. However, if the consumer delivers the nonconforming new motor vehicle to the designated repair facility more than 14 days from the date the manufacturer receives notice from the consumer, the 28 day time period shall be extended and the manufacturer shall have 14 days from the date the nonconforming new motor vehicle is delivered to the repair facility to complete the final attempt to repair and correct the nonconformity.

   (3) No manufacturer, its authorized agent, or new motor vehicle dealer may refuse to diagnose or repair any alleged nonconformity for the purpose of avoiding liability under this article.

   (b) (1) If the manufacturer, through an authorized agent or new motor vehicle dealer to whom the manufacturer directs the consumer to deliver the vehicle, is unable to correct a nonconformity after the final attempt, or if a vehicle has been out of service by reason of repair of one or more nonconformities for 30 days during the lemon law rights period, the manufacturer shall, at the option of the consumer, repurchase or replace the vehicle. The consumer shall notify the manufacturer, in writing by statutory overnight delivery or certified mail, return receipt requested, of which option the consumer elects. The manufacturer shall have 20 days from receipt of the notice to repurchase or replace the vehicle.

   (2) (A) If a consumer who is a lessee elects to receive a replacement motor vehicle, in addition to providing the replacement motor vehicle, the manufacturer shall pay to the lessor an amount equal to all charges that the lessor will incur as a result of the replacement transaction and shall pay the lessee an amount equal to all incidental costs that have been incurred by the lessee plus all charges that the lessee will incur as a result of the replacement transaction. If a lessee elects to receive a replacement motor vehicle, all terms of the existing lease agreement or contract shall remain in force and effect, except that the vehicle identification information contained in the lease agreement or contract shall be changed to conform to the vehicle identification information of the replacement vehicle.

      (B) If a consumer who is not a lessee elects to receive a replacement motor vehicle, in addition to providing the replacement motor vehicle, the manufacturer shall pay to the consumer an amount equal to all incidental costs incurred by the consumer plus all charges that the consumer will incur as a result of the replacement transaction.

   (3) (A) If a consumer who is a lessee elects a repurchase, the manufacturer shall pay to the lessee an amount equal to all payments made by the lessee under the lease agreement or contract, including, but not limited to, the lessee cost, plus all incidental costs, less a reasonable offset for use of the nonconforming new motor vehicle. The manufacturer shall pay to the lessor an amount equal to 110 percent of the adjusted capitalized cost of the nonconforming new motor vehicle. After the lessor has received payment from the manufacturer as specified in this subparagraph and payment from the consumer of all past due charges, if any, the consumer shall have no further obligation to the lessor.

      (B) If a consumer who is not a lessee elects a repurchase, the manufacturer shall pay to the consumer an amount equal to the purchase price of the nonconforming new motor vehicle plus all collateral charges and incidental costs, less a reasonable offset for use of the nonconforming new motor vehicle. Payment shall be made to the consumer and lienholder of record, if any, as their interests may appear on the records of ownership.

§ 10-1-785.  Compelled replacement or repurchase through arbitration; manufacturer's informal dispute settlement mechanism; revocation of mechanism

   (a) (1) If a manufacturer does not replace or repurchase a nonconforming new motor vehicle after being requested to do so under subsection (b) of Code Section 10-1-784, the consumer may move to compel replacement or repurchase by applying for arbitration pursuant to Code Section 10-1-786. However, if a manufacturer has established an informal dispute settlement mechanism which the administrator has certified as complying with the provisions and rules of this article, the consumer shall be eligible to apply for arbitration only after submitting a dispute under this article to the informal dispute settlement mechanism.

   (2) A consumer must file a claim with the manufacturer's certified informal dispute settlement mechanism no later than one year after expiration of the lemon law rights period.

   (3) After a decision has been rendered by the certified informal dispute settlement mechanism, the consumer is eligible to apply for arbitration pursuant to Code Section 10-1-786.

   (4) If a decision is not rendered by the certified informal dispute settlement mechanism within 40 days of filing, the requirement that the consumer submit his or her dispute to the certified informal dispute settlement mechanism shall not apply and the consumer is eligible to apply for arbitration under Code Section 10-1-786.

   (b) Certified informal dispute settlement mechanisms shall be required to take into account the principles contained in and any rules promulgated under this article and shall take into account all legal and equitable factors germane to a fair and just decision. A decision shall include any remedies appropriate under the circumstances, including repair, replacement, refund, and reimbursement for collateral charges and incidental costs. For purposes of this Code section, the phrase "take into account the principles contained in and any rules promulgated under this article" means to be aware of the provisions of this article, to understand how they might apply to the circumstances of the particular dispute, and to apply them if it is appropriate and fair to both parties to do so.

   (c) A certified informal dispute settlement mechanism shall keep such records as prescribed by the administrator in rules promulgated under this article and shall allow the administrator, without notice, to inspect and obtain copies of the records. Copies of any records requested by the administrator shall be provided promptly to the administrator at no cost.

   (d) A manufacturer may apply to the administrator for certification of its informal dispute settlement mechanism. The administrator may, in his or her discretion, impose requirements on an informal dispute settlement mechanism in order for it to be certified. Within a reasonable time following receipt of the application, the administrator shall certify the informal dispute settlement mechanism or notify the manufacturer of the reason or reasons for denial of the requested certification.

   (e) At any time the administrator has reason to believe that a certified informal dispute settlement mechanism is no longer in compliance with this article, he or she may notify the manufacturer of intent to revoke the informal dispute settlement mechanism's certification. The notice shall contain a statement of the reason or reasons for the revocation.

   (f) The manufacturer shall have ten days from its receipt of notice of denial of requested certification or notice of intent to revoke certification to submit a written request for a hearing to contest the denial or intended revocation. If a hearing is requested, it shall be held within 30 days of the administrator's receipt of the hearing request. The hearing shall be conducted by the Office of State Administrative Hearings following the procedures set forth in Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act."

   (g) No representation shall be made to a consumer that his or her dispute must be submitted to an informal dispute settlement mechanism that is not certified by the administrator pursuant to this Code section.

§ 10-1-786.  Request for arbitration; determination of eligibility; notifications; timing; requirements for decision

   (a) A consumer shall request arbitration by filing a written application for arbitration with the administrator. The application must be filed no later than one year from the date of expiration of the lemon law rights period or 60 days from the conclusion of the certified informal dispute settlement mechanism's proceeding, whichever occurs later.

   (b) (1) After receiving an application for arbitration, the administrator shall determine whether the dispute is eligible for arbitration. Manufacturers shall be required to submit to arbitration under this article if the consumer's dispute is deemed eligible for arbitration by the administrator. Disputes deemed eligible for arbitration shall be assigned to an arbitrator or arbitrators appointed pursuant to Code Section 10-1-789.

   (2) (A) A consumer whose dispute is determined to be ineligible for arbitration by the administrator may appeal the determination of ineligibility to an arbitrator or arbitrators appointed pursuant to Code Section 10-1-789.

      (B) If the arbitrator or arbitrators determine that the consumer's dispute is eligible for arbitration, the arbitrator or arbitrators shall retain jurisdiction and the consumer's dispute shall proceed in accordance with this Code section.

      (C) If the arbitrator or arbitrators determine that the consumer's dispute is not eligible for arbitration, a written decision shall be prepared and sent to the consumer and manufacturer by certified mail, return receipt requested.

      (D) The decision of ineligibility may be appealed by the consumer under the provisions set forth in subsection (a) of Code Section 10-1-787. On appeal, the court shall consider only the issue of eligibility for arbitration.

   (3) If the court finds that a consumer's appeal from a determination of ineligibility is frivolous or has been filed in bad faith or for the purpose of harassment, the court may require the consumer to pay to the administrator all costs incurred as a direct result of the appeals from the administrator's determination of ineligibility.

   (c) A lessee shall notify the lessor of the pending arbitration, in writing, within ten days of the lessee's receipt of notice that a dispute has been deemed eligible for arbitration and shall provide to the arbitrator or arbitrators proof that notice was given to the lessor. Within ten days of its receipt of notice from the lessee, a lessor may petition the arbitrator or arbitrators to be a party to the arbitration proceeding.

   (d) The arbitrator or arbitrators shall make every effort to conduct the arbitration hearing within 40 days from the date the dispute is deemed eligible for arbitration. The hearing shall be held at a location that is reasonably convenient to the Georgia consumer. Failure to hear the case within 40 days shall not divest authority of the arbitrator or arbitrators to hear the dispute or void any decision ultimately rendered.

   (e) If the arbitrator or arbitrators determine:

   (1) That a reasonable number of attempts has been undertaken to repair and correct the nonconformity and that the manufacturer was given the opportunity to make a final attempt to repair and correct the nonconformity and was unable to correct it; or

   (2) That a new motor vehicle was out of service by reason of repair of one or more nonconformities for a cumulative total of 30 days within the lemon law rights period,
 
the consumer shall be awarded replacement or repurchase of the new motor vehicle as provided under Code Section 10-1-784. The arbitrator or arbitrators also may award attorney's fees and technical or expert witness fees to a consumer who prevails.

   (f) The decision of the arbitrator or arbitrators shall be in writing, be signed, and contain findings of fact and conclusions of law. The original signed decision shall be filed with the administrator and copies shall be sent to all parties. The filing of the decision with the administrator constitutes entry of the decision.

   (g) A decision of the arbitrator or arbitrators that has become final under the provisions of subsection (a) of Code Section 10-1-787 may be filed with the clerk of the superior court, shall have all the force and effect of a judgment or decree of the court, and may be enforced in the same manner as any other judgment or decree.

   (h) No arbitrator may be required to testify concerning any arbitration and the arbitrator's notes or other records are not subject to discovery. This provision does not extend to testimony or documents sought in connection with legal claims brought against an arbitrator arising out of an arbitration proceeding.

§ 10-1-787.  Finality of arbitrator's decision; appeals by manufacturers; time for compliance with arbitrator's decision

   (a) The decision of the arbitrator or arbitrators is final unless a party to the arbitration, within 30 days of entry of the decision, appeals the decision to the superior court. A party who appeals a decision shall follow the procedures set forth in Article 2 of Chapter 3 of Title 5, and any appeal shall be de novo; however, the decision of the arbitrator or arbitrators shall be admissible in evidence.

   (b) If the manufacturer appeals, the court may require the manufacturer to post security for the consumer's financial loss due to the passage of time for review.

   (c) If the manufacturer appeals and the consumer prevails, recovery, in addition to the arbitrator's award, shall include all charges incurred by the consumer during the pendency of, or as a result of, the appeal, including, but not limited to, continuing collateral and incidental costs, technical or expert witness fees, attorney's fees, and court costs.

   (d) A manufacturer which does not appeal a decision in favor of a consumer must fully comply with the decision within 40 days of entry thereof. If a manufacturer does not fully comply within the 40 day time period, the administrator may issue an order imposing a civil penalty of up to $1,000.00 per day for each day that the manufacturer remains out of compliance. The provisions of Code Sections 10-1-398 and 10-1-398.1 shall apply in connection with the imposition of a civil penalty under this subsection. It shall be an affirmative defense to the imposition of a civil penalty under this subsection that a delay or failure to comply was beyond the manufacturer's control or that a delay was acceptable to the consumer.

§ 10-1-788.  Exhaustion of remedies under article required

The provisions of this article are not available to a consumer in a civil action unless the consumer has first exhausted all remedies provided for in this article.

§ 10-1-789.  Establishment of motor vehicle arbitration panel; compensation; conduct; liability

   (a) The administrator shall establish a new motor vehicle arbitration panel to resolve disputes between consumers and manufacturers arising under this article. The administrator, in his or her discretion, may operate the panel by contracting with public or private entities to conduct arbitrations under this article or by appointing individuals to serve as panel member arbitrators. An arbitrator shall be licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia and a member in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia or shall have at least two years' experience in professional arbitration or dispute resolution. No arbitrator shall be affiliated with or involved in the manufacture, distribution, sale, lease, or servicing of motor vehicles.

   (b) Panel member arbitrators and entities that contract with the administrator to provide arbitration services shall be compensated for time and expenses at a rate to be determined by the administrator.

   (c) Each arbitration proceeding shall be conducted by either one or three arbitrators, each of whom is to be assigned by the administrator or contracted entity.

   (d) Neither the administrator, an entity with which the administrator has contracted, nor any arbitrator shall be civilly liable for any decision, action, statement, or omission made in connection with any proceeding under this article, except in circumstances where the decision, action, statement, or omission was made with malice or gross negligence.

§ 10-1-790.  Requirements for transfer of reacquired vehicle

   (a) No manufacturer, its authorized agent, new motor vehicle dealer, or other transferor shall knowingly resell, either at wholesale or retail, lease, transfer a title, or otherwise transfer a reacquired vehicle, including a vehicle reacquired under a similar statute of any other state, unless the vehicle is being sold for scrap and the manufacturer has notified the administrator of the proposed sale or:

   (1) The fact of the reacquisition and nature of any alleged nonconformity are clearly and conspicuously disclosed in writing to the prospective transferee, lessee, or buyer; and

   (2) The manufacturer warrants to correct such nonconformity for a term of one year or 12,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
 
A knowing violation of this subsection shall constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice in the conduct of consumer transactions under Part 2 of Article 15 of Chapter 1 of Title 10 and will subject the violator to an action by a consumer under Code Section 10-1-399.

   (b) The manufacturer shall have 30 days to notify the administrator that a vehicle has been reacquired in this state under the provisions of this article. The notice shall be legible and include, at a minimum, the vehicle year, make, model, and identification number; the date and mileage at the time the vehicle was reacquired; the nature of the alleged nonconformity; the reason for reacquisition; and the name and address of the original consumer. When the manufacturer resells, leases, transfers, or otherwise disposes of a reacquired vehicle, the manufacturer shall, within 30 days of the resale, lease, transfer, or disposition, notify the administrator of the vehicle year, make, model, and identification number; the date of the sale, lease, transfer, or disposition of the vehicle; and the name and address of the buyer, lessee, or transferee.

   (c) If a manufacturer resells, leases, transfers, or otherwise disposes of a motor vehicle in this state that it reacquired under a similar statute of any other state, the manufacturer shall, within 30 days of the resale, lease, transfer, or disposition, notify the administrator of the transaction. The contents of the notice shall comply with the requirements of subsection (b) of this Code section.

   (d) Manufacturers shall use forms approved by the administrator. The forms shall contain the information required under this Code section and any other information the administrator deems necessary for implementation of this Code section.

§ 10-1-791.  Consumer fees to implement provisions of article; enforcement

   (a) A fee of $3.00 shall be collected by the new motor vehicle dealer from the consumer at completion of a sale or execution of a lease of each new motor vehicle. The fee shall be forwarded quarterly to the Office of Planning and Budget for deposit in the new motor vehicle arbitration account created in the state treasury. The payments are due and payable the first day of the month in each quarter for the previous quarter's collection and shall be mailed by the new motor vehicle dealer not later than the twentieth day of such month. The first day of the month in each quarter is July 1, October 1, January 1, and April 1 for each year. Consumer fees in the account shall be used for the purposes of this article. Funds in excess of the appropriated amount remaining in the new motor vehicle arbitration account at the end of each fiscal year shall be transferred to the general treasury. The new motor vehicle dealer shall retain $1.00 of each fee collected to cover administrative costs.

   (b) The administrator appointed pursuant to subsection (g) of Code Section 10-1-395 shall have the power to enforce the provisions of this Code section. The administrator's enforcement power shall include:

   (1) The authority to investigate alleged violations through use of all investigative powers available under Part 2 of Article 15 of this chapter, the "Fair Business Practices Act"; and

   (2) The authority to initiate proceedings, pursuant to Code Section 10-1-397, in the event of a violation of this Code section. Such proceedings include, without limitation, issuance of a cease and desist order, a civil penalty order imposing a civil penalty up to a maximum of $2,000.00 for each violation, and proceedings to seek additional relief in any superior court of competent jurisdiction. The provisions of Code Sections 10-1-398, 10-1-398.1, 10-1-402, and 10-1-405 shall apply to proceedings initiated by the administrator under this Code section.

§ 10-1-792.  Other rights and remedies

   (a) Except as provided in subsection (a) of Code Section 10-1-790, this article shall not create or give rise to any cause of action by manufacturers or consumers against new motor vehicle dealers. No new motor vehicle dealer shall be held liable by a manufacturer or a consumer for any collateral charges, incidental charges, costs, purchase price refunds, or vehicle replacements. Manufacturers and consumers shall not make new motor vehicle dealers party to an arbitration proceeding or any other proceeding under this article. A new motor vehicle dealer that is named as a party in any proceeding brought by a consumer or a manufacturer under this article, except as provided in subsection (a) of Code Section 10-1-790, shall be entitled to an award of reasonable attorney's fees and expenses of litigation incurred in connection with such proceeding.

   (b) The provisions of this article shall not impair any obligation under any manufacturer-dealer franchise agreement; provided, however, that any provision of any manufacturer-dealer franchise agreement which attempts to shift any duty, obligation, responsibility, or liability imposed upon a manufacturer by this article to a new motor vehicle dealer, either directly or indirectly, shall be void and unenforceable, except for any liability imposed upon a manufacturer by this article which is directly caused by the gross negligence of the dealer in attempting to repair the motor vehicle after such gross negligence has been determined by the hearing officer, as provided in Article 22 of this chapter, the "Georgia Motor Vehicle Franchise Practices Act."

§ 10-1-793.  Violations constitute unfair and deceptive act or practice; cumulative effect

   (a) A violation of this article shall constitute an unfair and deceptive act or practice in the conduct of consumer transactions under Part 2 of Article 15 of this chapter, the "Fair Business Practice Act"; provided, however, that enforcement against such violations shall be by public enforcement by the administrator and, except as provided in subsection (a) of Code Section 10-1-790, shall not be enforceable through private action under Code Section 10-1-399.

   (b) Except as otherwise provided, this article is cumulative with other laws and is not exclusive. The rights and remedies provided for in this article shall be in addition to any other rights and remedies that are otherwise available to a consumer under any other law.

§ 10-1-794.  Staff for administration

All administrative staff hired by the administrator to aid in the administration of this article shall be in the unclassified service and compensated at a salary determined by the administrator.

§ 10-1-795.  Promulgation of rules and regulations

The administrator shall promulgate rules and regulations and establish procedures necessary to carry into effect, implement, and enforce the provisions of this article. The authority granted to the administrator pursuant to this Code section shall be exercised at all times in conformity with Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act."

§ 10-1-796.  Severability

If any provision of this article or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this article which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this article are severable.

§ 10-1-797.  Consumer cannot waive rights

Any agreement entered into by a consumer that waives, limits, or disclaims the rights set forth in this article shall be unenforceable as contrary to public policy.