Everything You Need to Know About California’s Lemon Law

As consumers, we expect that the products we purchase have undergone sufficient safety testing to ensure that they do not contain defective or dangerous parts. Unfortunately, errors and defects occur, some of which can lead to persistent issues or even cause severe injuries. In fact, those who suffer an injury because of a defective product may file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or company responsible for marketing and selling the malfunctioning product. When the defective product in question is a car or truck, the consequences can be significant. For example, driving a vehicle with a defective component may result in engine failure, fire, or collision. In less severe cases, a vehicle defect can send your car to the dealer multiple times and yield no solutions. You may find that your car spends more time at the dealership than on the road, which complicates your life and causes you massive headaches and stress. Fortunately, California’s Lemon Law protects consumers from defective vehicles. This legislation applies to most new and gently used vehicles purchased or leased in California that are still under the manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty. Those who qualify for Lemon Law protection will receive a replacement vehicle or a refund in exchange for their defective vehicle. Let’s take a closer look at how California’s Lemon Law works and the steps you can take to obtain the replacement vehicle or refund you deserve.

What is California’s Lemon Law?

Since 1970, California has recognized that consumers are entitled to certain rights and protections. The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, also known as California’s lemon law, provides remedies for consumers who purchase defective products from manufacturers. Essentially, this law compels manufacturers to repurchase or replace any vehicle that suffers from a recurring issue that “substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle.” Additionally, this problem must be covered by the manufacturer’s new-vehicle warranty, and the driver must demonstrate that they have made a “reasonable” number of repair attempts (that were, ultimately, unsuccessful in resolving the issue). If your vehicle meets the requirements of being classified as a lemon, the manufacturer must replace it or repurchase the defective vehicle promptly. Once the manufacturer buys back the defective car or truck, the vehicle must be identified as a “lemon law buyback” and display a lemon sticker on its exterior. If you purchased a vehicle that was not disclosed as a lemon at the time, you may have rights under Lemon Law. It’s best to discuss the details of your situation with a trusted and knowledgeable lemon law attorney to determine the most strategic path forward.

Types of Vehicles Covered By California’s Lemon Law

The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act highlights the criteria that determine whether your vehicle can be considered a lemon and, if so, what remedies may be available to you. First, you need to determine whether the Lemon Law applies to your specific vehicle. This consumer protection law covers new and used vehicles that come with the manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty, such as: Cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs; the chassis, chassis cab, and drive train of a motor home; dealer-owned vehicles and demonstrators; many vehicles purchased or leased primarily for business use; and vehicles purchased or leased for personal, family, or household purposes. Even if you are unsure whether lemon law protects your vehicle, consider enlisting the guidance of a seasoned and caring lemon law attorney to help you make informed decisions.

How to Tell if Your Vehicle Has a Qualifying Defect Under Lemon Law

Many cars and trucks experience issues from time to time. However, most of these problems can be resolved and repaired after a trip to the dealership. When a persistent problem leads to recurring trips to the dealer, you likely have a lemon on your hands. While the text of the Lemon Law states that your vehicle qualifies as a lemon if a “reasonable” number of repair attempts have been unsuccessful, it does not quantify the term “reasonable number.” California’s Lemon Law Presumption provides some guidelines for addressing whether a “reasonable” number of repair attempts have been made, which read as follows: “The manufacturer or dealer hasn’t fixed the same problem after four or more attempts; your vehicle’s problems could cause death or serious bodily injury if it is driven, and the manufacturer or dealer has made at least two unsuccessful repair attempts; or, the vehicle has been in the shop for more than 30 days (not necessarily in a row) for repair of any problems covered by its warranty.” If you are struggling to find lasting repairs to a persistent issue, your vehicle is probably a lemon. It’s time to enlist the support of a lemon law attorney to help you obtain the remedy you’re owed.

Steps to Take When You Have a Lemon on Your Hands

Struggling with persistent vehicle issues can be frustrating and overwhelming. You rely on your car for transportation, and a defective vehicle can create significant logistical problems. Although California does not require consumers to seek lemon law remedies through the court system (or even to involve an attorney), enlisting the guidance of a knowledgeable lemon law lawyer is the best way to maximize your chances of obtaining a fair and favorable outcome. Dealing with a defective vehicle is stressful enough—why not work with a legal advocate who can support you during every phase of the lemon law remedy request process? What’s more, your experienced attorney knows how to communicate with stubborn manufacturers that may try to downplay your case or deny you the refund or replacement vehicle you’re owed. You won’t even need to worry about attorney fees since the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act states that buyers who successfully demonstrate that they were victims of a lemon purchase are entitled to have the manufacturer pay for all the corresponding attorney fees. It’s time to take control of your future and rid yourself of that lemon once and for all.

If you are struggling with a defective car or truck that’s brand new or still under warranty, call Lemon Law Partners, LLP, today at (510) 944-0336 to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced and friendly Berkeley attorney.

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