I’ve been contacted by several recent consumers who believed (or had been told) that they did not have lemon law rights because they were second or third owners of their cars.
This is not always the case. If your warranty only covers the original owner, then yes, you lose your lemon law rights against the manufacturer if you are the second owner. (However, you may have lemon law rights against the dealer for a used car if you bought it with a warranty or a service contract sold to you by the dealer.)
However, many warranties today are not limited to the original owner, but cover subsequent owners so long as they do not exceed the mileage or age limits. For instance, if you purchase a BMW or a Mercedes, their 4 yr./50,000 mile standard warranties apply even if there are 10 owners within the 4 yr./50,000 mile limits. If you are the third owner and the car has 30,000 miles, you are still covered by the warranty and you still have rights under California’s lemon law.
Certified Pre-Owned, or Certified, warranties also give you rights under the California lemon law just as if these were new car warranties.
So, DO NOT listen to anyone who tells you that you have no lemon law rights just because you are not the vehicle’s first owner. You need to ask a few more questions. I hope this short article is of assistance to you. Thank you for taking the time to read it.