California Lemon Laws: How Exactly Do They Work?

Buying a car in California, whether brand new or slightly used is always an exciting experience. Even if you already have a few in your garage, the thought of painting the town red in a new ride is nothing but thrilling. So, it can be incredibly disappointing if your new or used car keeps on breaking down. If you’ve recently bought or leased a vehicle in California and this describes your situation, chances are you’ve got a lemon. Below is a breakdown of California Lemon Laws, and how they may help you get a replacement or a refund.

What are California Lemon Laws?

Formerly known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, the California Lemon Law is a statute enacted to protect consumer goods that are purchased or leased for personal use. The California Vehicle Lemon Laws, to be precise, protect both new and used vehicles that are still under the manufacturer’s warranty.

The purpose of these laws is to protect consumers against auto-fraud by ensuring car manufacturers not only make quality auto products but also uphold their end of the warranty. These laws also help minimize the likelihood of car manufacturers using a warranty to mislead or coerce unsuspecting consumers into purchasing a defective vehicle. These laws cover both new and used cars, and mandate that auto-manufacturers or dealerships in California:

  • Offer adequate repair facilities throughout California for easy consumer access
  • Make sure that the repair of the defective car doesn’t take more than 30 days
  • Only attempt to fix the defective vehicle a certain number of times
  • Buyback, replace, or refund the car-buyer after a reasonable number of repair attempts.
  • Cover both consequential and incidental damages brought about by the defective car.

Determining If Your Car is a Lemon

However, note, these laws only cover cars bought or leased in California. Also, you have a higher chance of getting compensated within the first 18 months or the first 18,000 miles driven after the purchase of the car. A car is only a lemon if:

  • It has a defect that hampers its functionality or the safety of the user
  • The dealership or manufacturer was unable to repair the problem after reasonable attempts
  • It has been in the manufacturer’s repair shop for 30 or more days within the first 18 months or 18000 miles. Note, this doesn’t have to be consecutive, just cumulative.
  • The owner did not cause the problem 

Pursuing a Lemon Law Claim in California

If you’ve recently bought a vehicle and a few weeks or months down the line, you start running into issues; you can take it back to the dealership for repairs at no costs. If the issues continue even after reasonable repair attempts, the manufacturer is legally required to either repurchase it, replace it, or refund you. If they refute your lemon car claims and fail to repair or replace it, you have the right to file an official claim.

But where do you even start? Well, lemon claims are usually a little bit complex and are especially challenging to handle on your own. Hiring a lawyer experienced and reputable in handling lemon law claims is often the most recommendable step. If you’re having trouble getting your car repaired or replaced by a manufacturer or a dealership, feel free to get in touch with one of our experienced Lemon Law attorneys for a free consultation.

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