Shopping for and then purchasing or leasing a car takes a significant amount of money and time on your part. The last thing on your mind when driving your new vehicle off the lot is that you’ve bought a lemon.
The good news is that California’s lemon laws protect consumers who have leased or bought a car, whether new or used, that is still under warranty and has low mileage, but that is experiencing constant problems that “substantially impair the use, value, or safety of a vehicle.”
If the car dealership and/or the manufacturer can’t fix the problem with your vehicle and the problem is covered by a warranty, you are entitled to a replacement vehicle or a refund of the purchase price as long as the requirements of California’s lemon law are met.
What the law says
In order to answer the question of “do I have a lemon law case”, you need to know what counts as a lemon under California’s lemon law.
You have to meet a number of requirements for your vehicle to qualify as a lemon, including:
- The vehicle must be protected by a written manufacturer’s warranty or dealer’s warranty that covers the problem(s)
- The vehicle must have been purchased or leased in California from a retailer
- The problem must be substantial enough to impair the use, value, or safety of the vehicle
- There must be a “reasonable” amount to repair attempts on the part of the dealership or manufacturer before you can seek compensation in the form of a replacement vehicle or refund of the purchase price.
While the term reasonable may seem fairly ambiguous, California’s Lemon Law does provide some general guidelines to which manufacturers and dealerships need to adhere:
Two or more repair attempts were made within the first 18 months or the first 18,000 miles, are presumed reasonable if the condition is dangerous enough that it creates a risk of serious injury or death, or if the consumer has directly notified the manufacturer of the problem
Four or more repair attempts were made within the first 18 months or first 18,000 miles are presumed reasonable if the condition doesn’t create a risk of serious injury or death, and if the consumer has notified the manufacturers
One repair attempt is presumed reasonable if the vehicle has spent 30 or more days in the manufacturers or dealer’s repair shop during the first 18 months or 18,000 miles, even if the consumer hasn’t directly notified the manufacturer
If you think you have a lemon law case, you need proof which is why it’s important to keep all documentation and records related to the manufacturer’s or dealer’s attempted repairs.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers or dealers are unwilling to cooperate when it comes to offering you a replacement vehicle or a refund of the purchase price. If that’s the case, you need to call the Law Office of Robert Brennan, APC, experienced lemon law attorney serving clients throughout Southern California.