California Lemon Law When Your Car is a Lemon

California Lemon Law: When Your Car is a Lemon

What is a “lemon” in California?

Under California’s lemon law, if you purchase or lease a new or used car that is affected by defects, you have the right to pursue a claim to obtain a replacement or in some cases, a refund. In that case, the car will be considered a “lemon”. Even though California has one of the strongest consumer laws in the nation, protecting the rights of a client pursuing such lemon claims, it is often necessary to have a highly skilled and experienced lemon law lawyer to assist you with such claims. Make sure to contact your California lemon law attorney right away if your car cannot be repaired.

The hassle can be huge, taking its toll on both time and resources for clients who visit the manufacturers over and over, only to feel more disappointed after each visit. California’s lemon law not only applies to cars or vehicles, but also to other consumer products such as boats and motorcycles.

What are the key aspects of California Lemon Law?

  • The manufacturer must repair the vehicle within a fair & reasonable number of repair tests. “Reasonable” is determined on a case-by-case basis
  • The manufacturer is obliged pay for the consumer’s “reasonable” attorney costs and fees
  • The manufacturers must provide enough access to repair facilities for consumers. However, if a vehicle has been in repairs for at least 30 days (can be collective), it may automatically qualify as a lemon.
  • A set limit for the number of repair attempts agreed upon to fix a defective product.
  • The manufacturer must offer the consumer a replacement for their vehicle. which can be a comparable model. Alternatively, they must give the buyer their money, as well as pay off their outstanding loan balance.

How does a vehicle qualify as a “lemon”?

A vehicle is considered a lemon when the dealership has been given numerous opportunities to repair the problem within the warranty period all of which are unsuccessful. There is no exact requirement for how many visits.

Lemon Law Remedies

Does the Lemon Law apply to used vehicles?

Yes. California’s Lemon Law applies to new and used vehicles so long as you had attempted repairs under the factory warranty.

What if my car is a lease?

California’s Lemon Law applies to both cars that are purchased or leased in California. A vehicle does not qualify for repurchase if it purchased through a private party.

Are There Any Requirements for Arbitration?

No. California consumers are not required to arbitrate their Lemon Law claims against an automaker. You may immediately pursue your rights in state court with a jury.

Does the Lemon Law apply to vehicles used in business?

Yes. Provided the business registers no more than 5 vehicles and the vehicle’s gross weight is less than 10,000 pounds, vehicles primarily used for business are covered by California’s Lemon Law

  • Monthly payments and down payment.
  • Collateral charges, which include sales tax, finance charges, and prorated registration and service contracts.
  • Incidental and consequential expenses that are related to the lemon, which include rental car or tow expenses; and
  • Payment of your loan balance.

If you leased your vehicle and it is a “lemon,” the refund will consist of the following:

  • Lease payments and down payment.
  • Collateral charges, which include sales tax, finance charges, and prorated registration and service contracts.
  • Incidental and consequential expenses that are related to the lemon, which include rental car or tow expenses; and
  • Payment of any remaining lease obligations.

If the vehicle does not qualify as a ‘lemon’ …

Cash Compensation

If your vehicle is a “lemon” and you get a replacement vehicle, whether it was purchased or leased, the replacement vehicle must:

If the problems with your vehicle do not rise to the level of it being considered a “lemon,” you may be entitled to receive cash compensation for its diminished value because of its problems. Very often, the problems with a vehicle may not rise to the level of a “substantial impairment.” In these situations, the manufacturer will often pay the consumer a “cash and keep” settlement. This is where you will keep your vehicle and receive a sum of money for the problems you experienced with it. Also, the remaining portion of the warranty will remain in effect.

Behrad Brumand is a digital media specialist in Legal Soft Solution, working alongside attorneys and law firms based in US to make the transition into the digital world and technology much more convenient.

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