Lemon Law: What You Need to Know
California cares about consumers which is why its lemon law covering new vehicles with substantial defects is one of the strongest in the country. However, it is not always easy to understand what requirements you must fulfill in order to have the manufacturer buy back the vehicle as well as pay you for any costs you faced while waiting for your vehicle to be fixed. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions.
Lemon Law FAQs
What is the lemon law in California?
The lemon law in California is a group of consumer protection statutes that provide compensation for new car buyers who have owned or leased defective vehicles in the Golden State.
How to file a lemon law claim in California?
You have two options if you have a defective vehicle: go through the arbitration process set up by the state or work with a California lemon law attorney. Keep in mind that the arbitrator may not help you get the maximum compensation you may be owed.
How does the lemon law work in California?
The consumer protection statutes that cover how the lemon law works in California establish two sets of standards: what vehicles are eligible, and what the owner or lessee and the car maker/dealership must do in order for the requirements to be met. Briefly, a car usually must still be under warranty when a defect is discovered and the manufacturer must have had a chance to repair the issue between one and four times. The specifics can vary, so be sure to speak with an experienced lemon law attorney.
How does a car qualify for lemon law protections?
Your car qualifies for the lemon law buyback program if you discovered a problem during the vehicle’s warranty period and the dealership or manufacturer was unable to repair it after at least one attempt.
What does the lemon law cover?
The California lemon law covers both new and used vehicles that were sold with express written warranties where a vehicle has a substantial defect. You may receive not just the value of the vehicle in terms of payments you made on a lease or purchase, but also associated fees like rental car bills and hotel costs.
What is the lemon law for used cars?
People who purchased used cars in California are protected in one of either two ways. First, if they buy a vehicle with a transferable manufacturer’s warranty, any defect that arises until the end of the coverage may be eligible for lemon law compensation. In addition, buyers of used cars that are sold with a 30-day warranty or similar short-term policy may be eligible for compensation if the vehicle is defective.
What is a lemon law buyback?
If a manufacturer has been unable to repair your vehicle to fix the defect or it is unsafe to drive, they are required to make a cash offer for the value of the vehicle that covers your loan, taxes and fees minus the mileage you were able to use. “Buyback” refers to the total amount of compensation that you receive.
How long does the lemon law last?
You have up to three to four years to file a lemon law claim, but the defects in the car must be discovered during the warranty coverage of the vehicle, often three years or 36,000 miles. Sometimes these are “tolled”, where a plaintiff can file a claim after the warranty if the manufacturer knowingly hid issues from the public.
When does the lemon law apply?
The state laws that govern new cars are commonly known as the California lemon law. They apply to any vehicle, new or used, where a defect is detected and the manufacturer is unable to fix it after having been given several attempts to do so. It covers most personal cars, trucks and SUVs, as well as recreational vehicles and motorcycles.
How long does the lemon law process take?
Receiving a replacement or compensation for your defective vehicle depends on the facts of your case when it comes to the length of the lemon law process. It may take as little as one month, or stretch out to several months depending on how hard the car maker wants to fight you.
What happens when you win a lemon law case?
If you win a lemon law case, you have the option of either having the manufacturer offer a replacement vehicle as well as payment for the costs incurred while your vehicle was inoperable, or for them to buy back the vehicle and pay you in cash. The amount that you receive depends on a number of factors.