This is in response to your recent e-mail concerning
the difficulties you have encountered with the 1995 Ford Windstar you
purchased from Smart Wheels in Fairfax, Virginia. We appreciate your making
this Office aware of this matter.
First, let me explain the role of the Office of the
Attorney General. This Office functions as the law firm for Virginia state
government. In that capacity, we represent the various state departments
and agencies and provide advice to state officials. Although able to
provide copies of statutes, state laws, conflict of interest rules and other
policy considerations prevent us from being able to provide private legal
advice or represent individual consumers.
You have asked about Virginia's lemon law. The
Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act, Va. Code §§ 59.1-207.9 to
59.1-207.16:1, is commonly referred to as the "Lemon Law." To access this
and other Virginia laws you may visit The Virginia Code Commission's web
site which is http://legis.state.va.us/codecomm/codehome.htm
<http://legis.state.va.us/codecomm/codehome.htm> . Once at this site, click
on "Code of Virginia" and then type in the code section in which you are
interested, or in this case you may click on "Popular Names" and then "Motor
Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act." Although I cannot interpret this statute
for you, I can call to your attention that this law applies to the first
eighteen (18) months after purchase of a vehicle.
Because Smart Wheels is located in Fairfax,
Virginia, I am taking the liberty of forwarding this complaint to the
Fairfax County Department of Telecommunications and Consumer Services
("Fairfax County DTCS"). Typically the Fairfax County DTCS will conduct an
investigation and attempt to resolve the complaint through voluntary
mediation or arbitration. When an investigation reveals a pattern of
violation of Virginia consumer protection laws, the Fairfax County DTCS
works with the County Attorney's Office to stop the illegal practice.
I am also referring a copy of your complaint to the
Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer Board ("MVDB"). Among other duties, the Board
is responsible for certifying or licensing motor vehicle dealers and motor
vehicle salespersons as well as receiving complaints concerning the conduct
of persons and businesses licensed by it.
Finally, because you feel the seat belt issue may be
a problem in other 1995 Ford Windstar vans, I am also sending a copy of your
complaint to the National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB"). Among other
things, the NTSB conducts special investigations and safety studies on
various modes of transportation.
In closing, thank you again for writing to this
Office. I hope the action we have taken will be helpful to you.
Very truly yours,
Linda A. Dickerson
cc: Fairfax County Department of
Telecommunications & Consumer Services
12000 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, Virginia 22035
Motor Vehicle Dealer Board
2201 West Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23220
National Transportation Safety Board
490 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20594
Hope this will help some of you.