(a) A consumer sustaining damages as a proximate consequence of the failure by a manufacturer to perform its obligations imposed under this chapter may bring a civil action against the manufacturer to enforce the provisions of this chapter. Prior to the commencement of any such proceeding a consumer must give notice of a nonconforming condition by certified United States mail to the manufacturer and demand correction or repair of the nonconforming condition. If at the time such notice of a nonconforming condition is given to the manufacturer, a presumption has arisen that reasonable attempts to correct a nonconforming condition have been allowed, the manufacturer shall be given a final opportunity to cure the nonconforming condition. The manufacturer shall within seven calendar days of receiving the written notice of nonconforming condition notify the consumer of a reasonably accessible repair facility. After delivery of the new vehicle to the authorized repair facility by the consumer, the manufacturer shall attempt to correct the nonconforming condition and conform the vehicle to the express warranty within a period not to exceed 14 calendar days. If a manufacturer has established an informal dispute settlement procedure which is in compliance with federal rules and regulations, a consumer must first exhaust any remedy afforded to the consumer under the informal dispute procedure of the manufacturer before a cause of action may be instituted under the provisions of this chapter.
(b) It shall be an affirmative defense to any claim against the manufacturer under this chapter that: (i) an alleged nonconforming condition does not significantly impair the use, market value, or safety of the motor vehicle; or (ii) a nonconforming condition is a result of abuse, neglect, or any modification or alteration of a motor vehicle by a consumer that is not authorized by the manufacturer.
(c) If it is determined that the manufacturer has breached its obligations imposed under this chapter, then the consumer shall be entitled to recover, in addition to the remedy provided under Section 8-20A-2 above, an additional award for reasonable attorneys fees.