LEMON LAW: WHAT EVERY CAR OWNER/LESSEE SHOULD KNOW
In California, a purchaser or lessee of a motor vehicle has significant rights under both state and federal law if the vehicle does not perform as provided under an express warranty. Under California Lemon Law (“Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act”), the car owner or lessee may be entitled to significant remedies, including a comparable replacement or a refund of the purchase price.
If the manufacturer cannot fix the problem, it must replace your car with a new one that is “substantially identical” or refund your money — your choice. Nonetheless, manufacturers are allowed a “reasonable” number of repair attempts before a car is branded a lemon. This is generally defined as four attempts, but in the case of potentially life-threatening problems, such as faulty brakes, they get only two tries. Also, if the vehicle has been in the shop for more than 30 days (not necessarily in a row) and is still not fixed you’re entitled to seek a replacement or refund.
Here are some answers to common questions.
What is a Lemon?
- Your car must still be under warranty.
- The car must have had either:
- Two repair attempts through an authorized dealer for a defect that may cause death or serious injury;
- Four repair attempts through an authorized dealer for the same defect, if the defect is less serious;
- Thirty (non consecutive) calendar days out of service
- The first repair was made within 18 months or 18,000 miles of the purchase/lease agreement, whichever occurs first.
- The problem or defect must also substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the vehicle.
- Your car must be either purchased or leased in California for personal, family, or business use.
What if my vehicle is out of warranty?
- If your vehicle was under the original manufacturer’s warranty when the repairs were performed, you may still be entitled to relief.
- Repairs covered by an Extended Service Plan do not count as warranty repairs under the California Lemon Law.
What are my remedies if I have a Lemon?
- If the above conditions are met, under the California lemon law the manufacture or dealer is required to do the following:
- Either promptly replace or repurchase the motor vehicle. Replacement must be a new or substantially identical to the vehicle replaced.
- Provide a refund of the vehicle including the purchase price, collateral charges such as sales tax, license fees, registration fees, and finance charges.
Can I pursue a Lemon Law claim if I’m leasing my car?
- Yes, leased cars are expressly covered by Lemon Law.
What should I do if I suspect that my car is a Lemon?
Start Keeping Records
- Keep records of all repairs made to the car, any time you’ve lost from work, time the vehicle has been in the shop, and the exact nature of any problems.
- Make sure that the repair summary provided by the dealership clearly reflects the nature of the problem.
Get in touch with a competent lawyer
Do I have to pay for your firm to represent me in Lemon Law cases?
- Joseph Farzam Law Firm will not charge you anything. Our fees and costs are paid directly by the automobile manufacturers.