Lemon Law Facts Sheet
For those who purchased a vehicle including a used, pre-owned or certified vehicle which is still covered by the manufacturer’s original warranty but is experiencing recurring problems even after repeated service attempts by the dealer, then you may have legal protection through the statutes contained in the California Lemon Law for Used Cars.
Almost any used vehicle which came with the original manufacturer’s warranty when purchased or leased is covered under the California Lemon Law for Used Cars or the Federal Used Car Lemon Law. This includes SUVs, cars or trucks including pre-owned, certified or used vehicles.
The Lemon Law for Used Cars covers a variety of vehicle situations. These include demonstrator (demo) Vehicles, vehicles that were certified and given an extended warranty which goes beyond the period covered by the original warranty issued by the manufacturer, plus vehicles repurchased by the manufacturer under the lemon law for used cars and then resold with a new manufacturer’s warranty. Compensation to the owner’s or lessee’s of defective vehicles that fulfill the requirements of the Lemon Law for Used Cars include buy-back refunds for what was paid for the vehicle, vehicle replacement or cash compensation.
The California Lemon Law for used cars covers the following vehicles:
• Any vehicle which came with a written warranty when sold.
• Vehicles used primarily for the purpose of serving personal, family or household needs.
• Vehicles used for business which have a gross weight below 10,000 pounds as long as the business has only 5 or fewer vehicles.
• Consumers who purchase vehicles which were re-purchased by the manufacturer and includes a warranty issued by the manufacturer which covers any defects reported by the original owner.
Duration of Manufacturer’s Liability
The California Lemon Law for Used Cars holds the manufacturer responsible for defects during the entire length of the manufacturer’s warranty. However, if the vehicle was certified or it included a manufacturer’s extended warranty when purchased, then the manufacturer’s length of liability will extend for the duration of said warranty. As an example, if an un-repairable defect developed 2 years after the vehicle was purchased and is covered by a 3 year warranty, then the manufacturer is obligated to repurchase or replace the vehicle, or provide monetary compensation to the owner. Settlement amounts and rewards are based on whether the vehicle’s defects meet the requirements stipulated in the California Lemon Law for Used Cars and whether the manufacturer was provided enough attempts to repair the issues in question.
The time limit to file a California Lemon Law lawsuit for breach of warranty is 4 years.
The Manufacturer’s Responsibility to Repair Your Vehicle
Car manufacturers and its dealers are provided with a reasonable number of attempts to repair vehicles under warranty per the requirements detailed in the California Lemon Law for Used Cars. If the vehicle still hasn’t been repaired after the stipulated number of attempts, the manufacturer is required to buy back the vehicle or compensate the owner. However, a reasonable amount of attempts to repair the vehicle’s issues may be exceeded under the following conditions:
• If the same issue or defect still hasn’t been repaired after 4 or more repair attempts.
• Some of the attempts to complete the repair (1 or 2), were to correct a serious safety issue such as brake failure.
• If the same problem repeats after 2 or more repair attempts and serious injury or death are possible if the vehicle continues to be driven with the defect.
• If the manufacturer, its associated dealers or agents have spent 30 days or more repairing the vehicle for any number of defects, problems or issues.
Situations where the California Lemon Law for Used Cars will not apply:
Warranty requirements including maintenance standards and proper use of the vehicle were not adhered to.
The issues or defects of the vehicle being considered for a Lemon Law case were caused by abuse or neglect by the owner.
As a Consumer, what should You do if You suspect that Your Vehicle may qualify under the California Lemon Law for Used Cars?
• Contact your vehicle’s manufacturer and notify them of the defects and problems you have been experiencing with your vehicle.
• Learn of your rights and responsibilities by first contacting a California Lemon Law attorney. Since most California Lemon Law for Used Cars attorneys work on a contingency basis as they file and research your claim against the manufacturer, you will not have to pay any fees to have an attorney represent you.
• Have copies of all repair orders available as these documents provide evidence for your case and clearly indicate your vehicle’s problem(s) and repairs.
• If a state-certified arbitration program is maintained by your vehicle’s manufacturer, contact a California Lemon Law attorney before submitting the warranty dispute to the arbitration program. This is necessary in order to avoid a poor outcome from the arbitration which will more than likely affect the chances of you receiving appropriate compensation for your claim.
You may also be legally protected if you suspect that you have been deceived by a dealership who claimed to have made repairs to your vehicle prior to your purchasing it or its actual condition at the time it was purchased or leased. Some certified vehicles may also not have not been properly certified according to certification criteria set forth in the California Lemon Law for Used Cars. Therefore if your certified vehicle is defective or experiencing problems, contact an experienced Auto Fraud or California Lemon Law Attorney so they can review all of your documents and give you an accurate assessment of your rights under the Lemon Law for Used Cars.