Popular types of off-road vehicles include all-terrain (ATV), side-by-side (SxS), and utility (UTV). For many ORV enthusiasts, buying an ATV, SxS or UTV is a significant investment. Unfortunately, for some owners, the ATV that they purchased turns out to be a “lemon”. A lemon vehicle is one with a significant defect or malfunction that is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
ATVs and other ORV’s are inherently dangerous to begin with; if the ATV is defective, it can make operating it much more hazardous to the driver. Some common problems with ATV lemons include manufacturing defects and defects in design as well as warning system failures.
California has a consumer protection law called Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act or California Lemon Law. If your new vehicle has a serious warranty defect that the manufacturer or dealer can’t fix, even after several attempts, you may be eligible for a refund of the purchase price or a replacement for the defective vehicle.
California’s Lemon Laws do not specifically cover ATV’s, SxS’s and UTV’s. However, there are specific provisions in the law that can protect consumers to some extent against manufacturers of defective vehicles.
Manufacturers of ATVs are still responsible for meeting certain “quality control” criteria. When they fail to do so, they’re in violation of the law, thus enabling consumers to pursue a course of legal action.
In order to qualify for the Lemon Law, the defect must have an impact on the ATV’s use, value, or safety, and the defect has to be under warranty. If you believe that your ATV is a lemon, there are some important steps that must be taken before pursuing possible legal remedies.
The first step is to take the ATV back to an authorized dealership. If the dealership or manufacturer can’t repair the defect in your ATV after a “reasonable” number of attempts, they must either replace it or refund the purchase price.
What constitutes a “reasonable” number of repair attempts? The California law has established the following guidelines:
- The vehicle has had a minimum to two repair attempts for a defect that could result in serious injury or death.
- The manufacturer has not fixed the defect after four or more attempts.
- The ATV has been at an authorized dealership for the same problem for a least 30 days since you purchased it.
Keep all documentation concerning the warranty defect, including dates of issues with the ATV, types of repairs, dates, and number of attempts.
If the ATV manufacturer fails to comply with the existing warranty and does not provide you with the option of buying back the vehicle or replacing it, you could have grounds for filing a lawsuit.
Does the Lemon Law apply to your case
Even though California doesn’t have specific ATV lemon laws, consulting with a lemon law attorney can help determine if you can file a lawsuit under the federal lemon law called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
Contact the Law Offices of Robert F. Brennan, lemon law attorney in Los Angeles to schedule a free consultation. Our office handles most lemon law cases on a contingency basis.