In California, an estimated 5% of all cars, trucks, motorbikes, and boats are sold as lemons. Of the 60 million cars sold in the US, more than 150k of the cars sold in California are lemons. With some of the complexities of proving that a vehicle is a lemon, the true number of lemons is likely much higher.
If you have bought or leased a “lemon,” you need to know what that means and what you can do to remedy the situation. California Lemon Law does offer some protection if you’ve bought or leased a car that has serious defects that are unrepairable after multiple attempts. Here’s what you should know.
What Is The California Lemon Law?
The California Lemon Law provides you with the option of a refund or replacement vehicle if you can prove that it’s a lemon. You could be eligible for a refund or replacement if you buy or lease a car that has ongoing issues that persist even after attempts to get it repaired.
If you believe your vehicle qualifies under the California Lemon Law, you will likely need to act immediately to resolve the issue, with legal representation if possible. In most cases, you have a limited coverage timeframe, but the sooner you pursue your claim, the better your chances of a favorable outcome.
Through the entire process of pursuing your Lemon Law claim, you should maintain careful records.
- Save receipts for tow trucks and rental cars.
- Keep all records of repairs by the manufacturer, dealer, or authorized repair shop.
- Maintain detailed notes and records on any incidents you may have experienced, including breakdowns, police reports, accidents, or other mechanical issues.
- Keep track of when, where, and how your vehicle was out of service, with notes to describe what happened.
What Is A Lemon Under California’s Lemon Law?
You might have a “lemon” if you buy a vehicle from a manufacturer, which has been “repaired” 4+ times without remedy. In most cases, a lemon implies that the vehicle has been out of service for at least 30 days.
Under the terms of the Lemon Law, you must bring your car in for repairs within 18 months, 18k miles, or the extended warranty period if applicable. Even if you just suspect that your vehicle is a lemon, you should seek repairs, particularly if the defect affects the car’s value and presents a clear risk of serious injury or death.
In fact, the greater the risk and the more serious the problem, the fewer required repairs you’d need to pursue. The main reasons the manufacturer or dealer can use to undermine your “lemon” claim are as follows.
- It’s not a safety issue, nor does it impair the value of the vehicle in any significant way.
- The defect or vehicle problem is not covered by warranty (or the car is not under warranty)
- They have not been given the opportunity to make repair attempts (usually 3).
What Vehicles Are Covered Under The California Lemon Law?
The California Lemon Law covers vehicles, including trucks, vans, and other automobiles that you may have been purchased from authorized dealerships or manufacturers. The vehicles must be under warranty and show persistent failures in performance and/or operations.
The “lemon” status holds up if the manufacturer or dealer has made several attempts at repair, with no remedy available. In other words, they’ve made repairs, but the problem persists.
What Other Remedies Are Available?
If the California Lemon Law does not apply, you can explore other remedies like the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act or the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act to prove a breach of warranty. The most typical remedy might be compensation.
Next Step: Schedule Your Free Consult About Lemon Law
It’s not easy to prove that your new vehicle is a “lemon” even in the best of times. You need California’s trusted lemon law attorneys to get the best recommendations and advice on how to proceed in your case.
Whether you need help to force the manufacturer or dealer to make repairs, or you’re looking for a refund or replacement, you need legal input. Even what appears to be a minor defect could turn into something major if left unrepaired.
Call California’s trusted lemon law attorneys to get the help you need for your lemon car today.