The CA lemon law specifically covers the following new vehicles during the length of their warranty under the manufacturer: cars, pick-up trucks, vans, SUVs, the chassis cab and drive train of a motor home, dealer-owned vehicles, business-leased vehicles and personal/household vehicles that weigh under 10,000 lbs.
As a review, the California lemon law provides eligibility for a vehicle replacement or refund to the consumer, if a vehicle can be qualified as a “lemon” based on the following criteria:
- The consumer has sought repairs from the manufacturer or dealer, in two or more attempts to for a problem that could likely result in serious injury or death;
- The consumer has sought to get repairs from the manufacturer or dealer, four or more times to solve the same problem; or
- The vehicle has been out of service/use for a total of 30 days; or
- The defects of the vehicle reduce its usability, value or safety;
- The consumer has notified the manufacturer of the malfunctions or areas of defect (preferable to have contacted the manufacturer in writing), and ought to be sent to the address in the owner’s manual.
The vehicle must have been purchased or leased in the state of California, or done so by a full-time active duty member of the U.S. military while being stationed in California when the vehicle was purchased, or during the time that the lemon law claim was filed.
Fortunately, in the state of California, there are protective provisions for used car owners under the lemon law. Though most of the state lemon laws only apply to new cars, California covers used vehicles that are sold with express and implied written warranties. If the client has a manufacturer’s warranty, then the same laws for new car lemons apply. Such an express written warranty is either a separate limited warranty provided by the dealer, an extended warranty a buyer can purchase at the same time as the vehicle, or the balance of a manufacturer’s warranty. Most used cars purchased from dealers with a warranty, will likely receive coverage under California lemon law.
Further to provision for cars under a warranty, there are other protective statutes for used-car buyers, which require dealers to sell used cars without deception. If you believe you have bought a vehicle based on false representation, it is possible that you may have a claim against the dealership who sold you your used car.
For used car owners or lessees, you may be able to qualify for certain recovery compensations. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your claim, you may be eligible for: a refund for your payment, loan or lease cancellation on the balance of the car, vehicle registration fee payments, or a civil penalty up to two times the out-of-pocket payments made for the damage.
A consumer may be compensated either by a replacement vehicle, a buyback, a refund or a compensation settlement. For a replacement vehicle to be the method of compensation, the giving and receiving parties must agree. Both the manufacturer and the consumer shall agree with using a replacement vehicle as a remedy for the lemon law case filed. If a replacement is decided upon, the vehicle must be provided with all the warranties which are usually applied to a new vehicle. The manufacturer is also required to pay the collateral charges on the replacement, including the sales tax, registration, as well as other fees required.
A lemon law buyback occurs when a manufacturer has consented to buy the lemon vehicle back from the consumer. The manufacturer will pay the consumer their original down payment, their monthly payments, their registration fee, and will cover any outstanding loans. This applies to both new and used lemon vehicles, if both are under warranty. The manufacturer has the right to deduct from the price a certain percentage based on mileage used by the consumer since the time of purchase.
Once the vehicle is bought by the manufacturer, they are then required to brand the vehicle as a buyback. By law, the title of the vehicle must state that the car is a lemon buyback, and it must have a “lemon” sticker attached. According to California lemon law, when a buyback is resold it requires a one-year factory warranty to provide coverage over defects, and cannot legally be sold “as is.” Fortunately, even if a buyback lemon is sold illegally to someone in an “as is” status, the consumer is still protected under California lemon law.
For further questions regarding details on California lemon law, refer to our FAQs, or contact us directly at (888)-536-6698 for a free phone consultation where we can give personal attention to your queries.