Code of the District of Columbia

§ 50–501. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “Board” means the Board of Consumer Claims Arbitration for the District of Columbia established by § 50-503.

(2) “Consumer” means the purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, of a motor vehicle; any person to whom the motor vehicle is leased or otherwise transferred during the duration of a warranty applicable to the motor vehicle; and any other person entitled to enforce the obligations of the warranty. For the purposes of § 50-503, the term “consumer” means any natural person who does or would purchase, lease, or receive consumer goods or services. The term “consumer” includes any natural person who purchases insurance coverage in the District of Columbia.

(3) “Council” means the Council of the District of Columbia.

(4) “Court” means the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

(5) “District” means the District of Columbia.

(6) “Known” means, for the purposes of § 50-505, that a dealer or the dealer’s agent or employee has obtained facts or information about the condition of a motor vehicle which would lead a reasonable person in similar circumstances to believe that the motor vehicle contained 1 or more material mechanical defects. The term “known” encompasses knowledge obtained through an inspection, from a previous owner, from the salesperson at an auction, or through other means.

(7) “Material mechanical defect” means any defect, failure, or malfunction of the mechanical system of a motor vehicle, including, but not limited to, the engine, transmission and drive shaft, differential, cooling system, electrical system, fuel system, or accessories, which significantly impairs the operation, safety, performance, or value of the motor vehicle.

(8) “Mayor” means the Mayor of the District of Columbia.

(9) “Motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle which is manufactured for sale, offered for sale, sold, or registered in the District and which is designed for the primary purpose of transporting a driver and 1 or more passengers on streets, roads, or highways. The term “motor vehicle” shall not include buses sold for public transportation, motorcycles, motor homes, or motorized recreational vehicles.

(10) “New motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle which is in the period of the first 18,000 miles of operation or the first 2 years after the date of delivery to the original purchaser, whichever is earlier.

(11) “Safety-related defect” means an impairment which reduces the operator’s ability to control the motor vehicle in normal operation or which creates a risk of fire, explosion, or other life-threatening malfunction.

(12) “Significantly impair” means to render the motor vehicle unreliable or unsafe for normal operation or to reduce its resale value below the average resale value for comparable motor vehicles.

(13) “Used motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle which is offered for sale in the District and which is not within the period of the first 18,000 miles of operation or the first 2 years after the date of delivery to the original purchaser, whichever is earlier; but it does not mean a motor vehicle sold only for scrap or parts.

(14) “Warranty” means the written or implied warranty of the manufacturer of a motor vehicle.


(Mar. 14, 1985, D.C. Law 5-162, § 2, 32 DCR 160; Mar. 4, 1986, D.C. Law 6-96, § 4(a), 32 DCR 7245.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 40-1301.

Short Title

Short title: The first section of D.C. Law 5-162 provided: “That this act may be cited as the ‘Automobile Consumer Protection Act of 1984’.”