It should be a safe assumption to make: When you buy a new car, it should work. However, we all know of someone who bought a brand new car, only to have it spend more time in the shop than on the road. Sometimes, that someone is you. Knowing that you just spent thousands of dollars for a lemon of a car that can't be counted on can make you feel angry, ripped off, and powerless.
California's Lemon Law was made to protect you from the unique kind of hell that is never knowing whether your ride will get you from A to B, and California's Lemon Law Lawyers are here to give you the legal representation you need to take advantage of it.
When we talk about California's Lemon Law, we are talking about warranties. Car manufacturers and dealers make warranties about their cars all the time. Some of them are express, while others are implied in what they do, how they act, and in the normal course of business. They are all promises that you should be able to count on when you're making such a big decision as whether to buy a car.
To ensure that warranties are not thrown around lightly, there are both state and federal laws that allow buyers to take legal action against sellers who don't follow through on a warranty. The big federal law is the Magnuson-Moss Act, which details how sellers can make warranties, and how they have to uphold them.
California, however, has its own state law that provides even more protection to consumers: The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, also known as the California Lemon Law.
California's Lemon Law
California has what is probably the strongest Lemon Law in the country: The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. While this law covers all consumer transactions and purchases, its focus has been on cars and other vehicles. The Lemon Law lays out guidelines for how to determine if a car is a “lemon” that therefore violates a warranty, and how the seller has to correct the problem. In a nutshell, California's Lemon Law requires a vehicle manufacturer to fix a vehicle so that it conforms to that manufacturer's warranties. If this can't be done, the vehicle manufacturer has to either replace the lemon with a new vehicle, or repurchase the lemon.
All Vehicles with a Warranty are Covered, Not Just New Cars
A common myth about the California Lemon Law is that it only applies to cars that you bought brand new. This is not the case.
The California Lemon Law covers all vehicles that are new or used and were sold or leased in the state of California, so long as that vehicle comes with a manufacturer's new vehicle warranty. This includes all types of cars, pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and vans, as well as motorhomes and even vehicles that are being used for business purposes, regardless of whether they were bought or leased.
Additionally, the California Lemon Law applies throughout the lifetime of the manufacturer's new vehicle warranty, providing crucial coverage of your vehicle for enough time for latent defects to show themselves.
How to Tell if Your Car is a Lemon
One of the most important things that the California Lemon Law does is provide guidelines on what makes a defective vehicle a lemon.
If you bought a vehicle that has a manufacturer's new vehicle warranty, but that car doesn't conform to the warranty, then it can be deemed to be a lemon if it still doesn't conform to the warranty after a reasonable number of repair attempts. Of course, what constitutes a “reasonable” number of repair attempts is up for interpretation, and often depends on the facts of your particular case.
However, a vehicle can be presumed to be a lemon if the following circumstances exist within 18 months after buying the vehicle, or before you've driven 18,000 miles in it:
- Two or more repairs have been attempted, but the particular warranty issue persists and could cause a serious injury;
- Four or more repairs have been attempted, but the particular warranty issue persists;
- The vehicle has been out of service for a total of more than 30 days to fix any warranty issue;
- The warranty issue requires that you directly notify the manufacturer of the problem; or
- The warranty issue substantially reduces the use, value, or safety of the vehicle.
If Your Car is a Lemon…
Once it has been determined that your car is actually a lemon, in the eyes of the California Lemon Law, then the manufacturer or dealer has to either replace it with a new vehicle or refund your purchase price.
Unfortunately, this is where people often encounter difficulties. Car dealerships are in the business of selling as many cars as they can. Buying back a defective car is not something that they want to do, and you can count on them fighting you every step of the way. Even invoking your rights might not make them come to the table and treat your claim with the respect that it deserves – dealerships often play hardball, expecting and hoping that you to get so frustrated that you throw your hands up and move on with your life.
California Lemon Law Attorneys
That is where the attorneys at The Lemon Lawyer can help. If your dealership sold you a lemon and refuse to replace it or buy it back from you, as the law requires, then you can take legal action. Hiring an attorney can show your dealership that you mean business, pushing them to play fairly or face the consequences. One of the best parts about the California Lemon Law is that it puts the cost of attorney's fees on the dealership or the manufacturer if your car is actually a lemon. If you have a case, then you don't have to pay anything in legal fees.
If you've been sold a lemon and want to do something about it, the law protects you, and the attorneys at The Lemon Lawyer can help you. Contact us online or at 1-844-CAR-PROBS.