If you’ve recently purchased a new or used vehicle that’s turning out to be more sour than sweet, you may be protected under the California Lemon Law. Read on to discover your rights and how to seek recourse if your vehicle qualifies as a lemon.
What is the California Lemon Law?
The California Lemon Law is a set of regulations designed to protect consumers who purchase or lease new or used vehicles that have persistent, unfixable defects affecting its safety, value or use. Under this law, both new and used vehicles are covered, provided they are still under warranty or covered by a certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty at the time of purchase.
If the vehicle experiences persistent issues during the statutory warranty period and the manufacturer or its authorized dealer fails to repair the problems after a “reasonable number of attempts,” the vehicle may be considered a “lemon.” In such cases, the law requires the manufacturer to either replace the vehicle or provide a full refund, including associated costs. The Lemon Law aims to safeguard consumer rights and ensure recourse for those who end up with defective vehicles in California.
California has a statute of limitations of four years for Lemon Law claims. You must file a claim within four years of discovering the defect.
Qualifications for Protection under the California Lemon Law
- Defects within the Warranty Period: The vehicle’s issues must have occurred during the warranty period to be eligible for protection. This period is typically the first 18 months after the vehicle’s delivery to the buyer or the first 18,000 miles on the odometer, whichever comes first.
- Number of Repair Attempts: The vehicle must have undergone a reasonable number of repair attempts to fix the problem. Usually, it’s four or more attempts for the same issue, or two or more attempts if the defect poses a risk of death or serious injury.
- Cumulative Days Out of Service: If the vehicle has been out of service for repairs for a total of 30 or more days (not necessarily consecutive) during the warranty period, it may qualify under the Lemon Law.
What Should You Do If You Have a Lemon?
If you believe your vehicle meets the qualifications for a lemon, follow these essential steps:
- Document Everything: Keep detailed records of all repairs, including dates, descriptions of problems and repair invoices.
- Notify the Manufacturer: Contact the vehicle’s manufacturer, explain the issues you’ve been experiencing, and provide copies of your repair records.
- Attempt One Final Repair: The manufacturer has one last opportunity to fix the problem. If the issue persists after this final repair attempt, proceed to the next step.
- >File a Lemon Law Claim: Lemon Larry can connect you with an experienced Lemon Law attorney to guide you through the claim process. They can help you prepare the necessary documentation and negotiate with the manufacturer on your behalf.
Potential Remedies Under the California Lemon Law
If your Lemon Law claim is successful, you may be entitled to one of the following remedies:
- Replacement: The manufacturer must replace your lemon vehicle with a comparable one, free of charge.
- Refund: You may receive a refund of the vehicle’s purchase price, including taxes, registration fees and other associated costs.
- Partial Refund: In some cases, you may be offered a partial refund based on the vehicle’s diminished value due to the defects.
Federal Lemon Laws
Federal Lemon Laws, particularly the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, serve as an essential tool in protecting consumer rights related to warranties and defective products. Although it may not offer a direct Lemon Law remedy, it establishes crucial warranty standards and empowers consumers to take legal action against manufacturers who fail to uphold their warranty commitments. For vehicle-related issues, consumers should also be aware of state Lemon Laws, which often provide more specific protections and remedies tailored to individual state requirements.
State Lemon Laws
State Lemon Laws are specific consumer protection statutes enacted by individual states to address the sale of defective vehicles, often called “lemons.” Each state has its own lemon law, and while the specifics can vary, the main objective is to provide remedies for consumers who unknowingly purchase or lease vehicles with persistent issues.
Since each state enacts its own lemon law, there can be significant variations in coverage, eligibility requirements and remedies. Some states may extend lemon law protection to used vehicles, while others may only cover new vehicles. Additionally, the definition of a “reasonable number of repair attempts” and the duration of the statutory warranty period can differ from state to state.
The Importance of Legal Assistance
Seeking professional legal advice is crucial when dealing with Lemon Law claims. An experienced Lemon Law attorney can ensure your rights are protected, significantly improve your chances of success and help you obtain the best possible outcome.
Take advantage of these legal protections and let Lemon Larry connect you with an experienced Lemon Law attorney who can get started on your case. Complete the 7-question assessment today, and let Lemon Larry help you get rid of your faulty vehicle. Don’t let a lemon ruin your driving experience!