California Lemon Law Guide

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Posted By | January 19, 2024 | Firm News

California consumers rightfully expect to get what they pay for, especially when making a large purchase like a new vehicle for safe, reliable transportation. When your new vehicle spends more time in a repair shop than on the road or presents a safety hazard to you, your family, and others on the road, you have a right to legal recourse. A California Lemon Law claim cannot erase the frustration you’ve felt while dealing with a lemon, but a successful claim can make things right through a vehicle buyback refund and compensation for your related expenses, cash compensation, or a replacement vehicle.

Sometimes it isn’t life that hands you a lemon—it’s the powerful vehicle manufacturers. Fortunately, a Lemon Law claim in California provides consumer protection through the state’s consumer protection laws.

Does My Vehicle Qualify For the Lemon Law?

Vehicles including cars, trucks, and even motorcycles may be covered under California’s Lemon Law if they meet the following requirements:

  • The vehicle was purchased or leased within California
  • The vehicle was presented to the dealership for repair under the original factory warranty
  • The vehicle has had at least four failed repair attempts on the defect, or two failed repair attempts on a defect that presents a safety hazard, or the vehicle has spent 30 or more days in the repair shop (not necessarily consecutively)

When a fault or defect lowers the value of your vehicle, impairs your use of the vehicle, or poses a hazard to you and others on the road, it may be a lemon. California’s Lemon Law compels manufacturers to refund, replace, or buy back vehicles that fall under the state’s Lemon Law.

Does a Used Car Qualify for The California Lemon Law?

In addition to the requirements listed above, used vehicles may also fall under the Lemon Law in California if the vehicle was sold with a written warranty issued at the time of sale. Used vehicles sold as “Certified Pre-Owned” vehicles generally satisfy this requirement.

What About a Leased Car and California Lemon Law?

Those who lease a vehicle also have the right to expect a safe, reliable vehicle under the terms of their contract. Leaseholders may also make Lemon Law claims for a refund of the amount they’ve already paid toward the lease plus payoff of any remaining lease balance and lease-end buyout. Alternatively, those who lease a lemon vehicle may elect to receive cash compensation instead of the statutory repurchase refund.

Do I Have to Pay Expensive Legal Fees for a Lemon Law Claim in California?

The California Lemon Law protects consumers and holds vehicle manufacturers accountable. This includes compelling the manufacturer to pay for your lemon law lawyer and any court fees as well as compensation for related expenses such as towing fees, and the cost of rental cars or rideshare trips.

How Long Do I Have to File a Lemon Law Claim?

As long as your vehicle was under factory warranty when the defect appeared and you have documented evidence of repeated failed repair attempts, it isn’t too late to make a Lemon Law Claim in California as long as it’s within the four-year statute of limitations.

What Do I Have to Do to Make a Lemon Law Claim in California?

If your vehicle’s defect was covered under the original warranty and your vehicle had repeated repair attempts, don’t wait. Gather the important documents proving your claim, such as proof of your purchase or lease agreement, repair orders and receipts, and your car’s factory warranty. Then call an experienced Lemon Law Lawyer in California for a free evaluation of your case.

Don’t let the manufacturer steer you toward arbitration which only benefits them. Instead, let a Lemon Law attorney manage your claim so you get the outcome you deserve.