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Important Must-Know Facts About California’s Lemon Law

1. California’s lemon law would apply to leased vehicles.

The capacity to consistently drive a reliable, latest-model car is one of the main reasons why people prefer to lease instead of buy. After all, what good way option to prevent problems than to replace your car every couple of years? Unfortunately, the risk of a vehicle being defective when it comes out from the manufacturing floor is just the same whether the vehicle is leased or sold through the dealer. The good news is that, under Ca Lemon Law, leasers have equal rights as new car owners.

2. Secondhand or used vehicles may qualify under ca lemon law.

Ca Lemon Law is only applicable to cars covered by the manufacturer’s original warranty. However, any remaining warranty coverage at the moment of a subsequent sale could be transferred to the new owner, allowing you to purchase a secondhand (but relatively new) vehicle while maintaining your Lemon Law rights. Moreover, the rule covers manufacturer warranties on certified pre-owned vehicles. This provision is not applicable to extended warranties or other service contracts acquired from the seller or a third party.

3. Ca lemon law applies to a variety of popular vehicles.

In California, people would not always purchase vehicles only for the purpose of driving on our state’s streets and highways. Off-road recreational automobiles make up a substantial portion of all sales. Moreover, watercraft account for a significant portion of sales in Los Angeles, Orange, and other coastal towns. Covered vehicles include the following: 

  • Motorcycles 
  • ATVs 
  • Side-by-sides 
  • Travel and camper vans 
  • Boats 
  • Jet-skis
  • Small planes.

The law classifies these cars as consumer goods and provides some, but not all, of the rights and benefits, offered to conventional passenger vehicles.

4. Vehicles that are primarily used for business purposes could also be eligible.

While Ca Lemon Law is intended to protect consumers, it does not apply only to persons. Moreover, businesses that acquire damaged vehicles are also protected. It makes no difference how the company is structured (corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, and others) or if the car is a “dual-use” vehicle used for business and personal activities.

The California Lemon Law imposes two restrictions on business vehicles. To be eligible for the equal protections as personal vehicles:

  • The business vehicle’s gross weight cannot exceed 10,000 pounds; and 
  • The business may only have a maximum of five cars registered in California.

Concerning the second condition, the five-vehicle restriction demonstrates the legislature’s intention to limit Lemon Law protections to micro-businesses in the state of California. Large businesses that run large fleets of commercial cars are often exempt from the Ca Lemon Law due to their alternative means of resolving auto manufacturers’ issues.

5. Active military could file a claim under ca lemon law for vehicles transferred from other states.

In general, Ca Lemon Law applies exclusively to sales and leases which occur inside the state’s boundaries. For instance, people of Riverside County who take I-10 over to Phoenix to purchase a vehicle are not covered by Ca Lemon Law. If there is a problem with the vehicle, they must refer to Arizona’s Lemon Law, irrespective of how inconvenient this may be. The same probably applies to out-of-state individuals who purchase a vehicle prior to relocating to the state of California. However, there is one exception. Military personnel stationed in California might take advantage of Ca Lemon Law even if they purchased their vehicle from the other state.

6. California’s lemon law contains a four-year limitations statute.

A written contract is required for a new-car warranty. As with any other lawsuit in California for violation of a written contract, a Lemon Law claim should be brought within four years after the contract’s breach. Notifying the seller is insufficient — only by initiating a lawsuit can the statute of limitations be met.

Take note that the time frame for making a claim could extend beyond the duration of the warranty. It is because the statute of limitations will not start to run on the date of purchase/lease. That date marks the start of the warranty contract. The statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the breach of the warranty contract. In other words, the deadline starts to run the moment a warranty-covered defect is found, and the dealership fails to fix it immediately. This may occur at any point throughout the warranty term or even just before it expires.

  1. The law makes establishing a claim easier in the first 18 months/18,000 miles.

The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act has certain provisions that are applicable specifically to passenger vehicles. The Tanner Consumer Protection Act is the name given to this section of the Lemon Law. This is where one of the most critical California-specific provisions of the statute is found – the presumption of 18 months/18,000 miles.

Consumers are not required to provide the dealer with an infinite number of opportunities to rectify a defect. This is the reason why California adopted the Lemon Law in the first place. According to the law, the manufacturer is given a “reasonable” number of attempts to correct the problem before the customer may seek compensation. The presumption of 18 months/18,000 miles is only a tool to determine the number of repair attempts that are considered reasonable.

All qualifying defects should materially affect the vehicle’s usage, value, or safety. After these criteria are met, the presumption states that manufacturers will have as few as two attempts to repair a defect that could end up causing serious injury or death. Consumers have up to four tries to resolve any other issues under the statute. These attempts must occur during the first 18 months or 18,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The Critical Role of Consulting Lemon Law Attorney

Due to the fact that the Lemon Law is far less explicit when it comes to used vehicle sales, the California Department of Justice suggests that used vehicle owners interested in pursuing a Lemon Law claim should consult a lemon law attorney who is knowledgeable, experienced, competent, and can give you with more comprehensive guidance about your rights and ultimately could win your claim against large automobile manufacturers.

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