Understanding California’s Lemon Law.
What it covers and how it works.
The California Lemon Law (also known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act) is a consumer protection law that provides remedies for buyers of defective vehicles. It applies to both new and CPO Vehicles and vehicles with a warranty that are sold or leased in California, and covers a wide range of defects that impair the use, value, or safety of the vehicle.
Here’s a brief overview of what the California Lemon Law covers and how it works:
- What is a lemon?
Under the California Lemon Law, a vehicle is considered a “lemon” if it has a substantial defect that the manufacturer or authorized dealer cannot repair after a reasonable number of attempts. A substantial defect is one that impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle. The number of repair attempts needed to qualify a vehicle as a lemon varies depending on the type of defect.
- What are your rights under the California Lemon Law?
If you have purchased or leased a vehicle from a dealer or manufacturer that qualifies as a lemon under the California Lemon Law, you have the right to “Lemon Law Buyback” — a refund or replacement vehicle. The refund or replacement is based on the amount you paid for the vehicle, minus a deduction for use. The deduction for use is calculated based on the mileage of the vehicle at the time of the first repair attempt for the defect.
- Are “new” cars or CPO Vehicles handled differently under the California Lemon Law?
For new cars, the Lemon Law applies to cars that have a manufacturer’s warranty, and the manufacturer has been given a “reasonable” number of opportunities to repair the vehicle. For CPO Vehicles, the Lemon Law only applies if the vehicle is still under the original manufacturer’s warranty or if the dealer provided a warranty at the time of the purchase.
- How to file a Lemon Law Claim.
To file a Lemon Law claim in California, you must first notify the manufacturer or authorized dealer of the defect and allow them a reasonable number of repair attempts. If the defect is not repaired after a reasonable number of attempts, you may then file a claim under the Lemon Law. You will need to provide invoices, receipts, and documentation of repair attempts for the same issue or defect in your claim. You can file a claim by submitting a form to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, or consult with a Lemon Law attorney who can provide guidance and assistance throughout the process.
- What happens after you file a Lemon Law claim?
After you file a Lemon Law claim, the manufacturer or authorized dealer has the opportunity to inspect the vehicle and attempt to repair the defect again. If the defect is still not repaired after this final repair attempt, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle.
- Should I hire a lemon law lawyer?
Lemon Law claims can be very complex depending on the type of car as well as the type of defect. If you are considering filing a Lemon Law claim, we strongly encourage you to speak with a Lemon Law expert. As one of California’s premier Lemon Law litigators, the professionals at Strategic Legal Practices (slpattorney.com) can look into your specific case and work with you to ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.