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The Lemon Law

You purchased or leased a new or lightly used vehicle because you wanted something you can count on. If your car has been nothing but a lemon, what can you do? You can turn to the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman for honest and aggressive representation.

We focus on protecting the rights of consumers in Woodland Hills and throughout the nation. We have the trial skills and resources to take on powerful opponents and achieve results for our clients. If you have been wronged by a dealer or manufacturer, we can make things right.

Officially known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, the California Lemon Law protects consumers if a motor vehicle fails to perform as provided under an express warranty. Simply put, if a vehicle is not performing and the situation cannot be remedied in a reasonable number of attempts, the vehicle is considered to be a lemon.

The Lemon Law covers a wide variety of motor vehicles, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles and boats. Warranty cases can be extremely complex, so it is important to have our experienced lawyer on your side.

Talk directly with an attorney from our firm. We will make sure you understand your rights at every step of your case as we aggressively pursue the outcome you deserve.

Had Enough Of Your Lemon?

Talk directly to an attorney from our firm who will advise you of your rights and pursue them to the fullest extent of the law. Contact us today for a free consultation with our nationwide lemon law attorney.

Lemon Law Attorney in California

The California lemon law, found in California Civil Code § 1793.2, applies to new and used vehicles that still have a manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty. When you think that you might have a lemon law claim for your motor vehicle, make sure that you speak to a lemon law attorney in California.

Again, the lemon law only applies to motor vehicles that have a manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty, so any vehicle purchased without a warranty will not be covered. A manufacturer or dealer must repair a serious warranty defect or either replace the vehicle or refund the consumer the purchase price.

How the California Lemon Law Works

The California lemon law only covers new motor vehicles that are either used or were bought for use with regards to personal, family, or household purposes, or have gross vehicle weights of less than 10,000 pounds and are bought or used for business purposes by a person or business to which a minimum of one but not more than five motor vehicles with registration in California. Additionally, a motor vehicle must be purchased or leased in California at retail (meaning it cannot be a private sale), or purchased or leased by a full-time active duty member of the Armed Forces who happened to be stationed or residing in California when they purchased or leased the vehicle or at the time they file their claim.

The lemon law will not cover a motorcycle; any portion of a motor home that a party is using, designing, or maintaining primarily for human habitation; or a motor vehicle that does not have registration under the Vehicle Code for operating or using exclusively off the highways. The lemon law covers a consumer, which is defined as any person who buys or leases a new motor vehicle from any person engaged in the business of selling, leasing, distributing, or manufacturing new motor vehicles at retail, a lessee for a term of more than four months; and any person who a vehicle is transferred to during the duration of a written warranty or is otherwise entitled under state law to enforce the obligations of the warranty.

The lemon law will cover vehicle nonconformities, which are defined as a vehicle defect or malfunction covered by a manufacturer’s written new vehicle warranty and substantially impairs the value, use, or safety of a vehicle to the consumer. The California lemon law does not cover any vehicle problems caused by the unauthorized or unreasonable use of a vehicle after sale. 

Service contracts are not express warranties within the meaning of the lemon law, and the lemon law will not authorize a repurchase or replacement remedy for breaches of service contracts. When a manufacturer or its representative in California cannot service or repair a vehicle to conform with the applicable express warranties after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer either has to replace or repurchase the vehicle. 

A manufacturer must be provided more than one attempt to repair a vehicle, and each occasion that an opportunity for repairs is provided will count as an attempt, even if no 

repairs actually occur. A consumer does not need to possess or own the vehicle to avail themselves of the repurchase or replacement remedies.

The California lemon law also establishes a rebuttable presumption that when a reasonable number of repair attempts are made if, within 18 months from delivery to the first retail buyer or lessee or the vehicle hits 18,000 miles on the odometer (whichever comes first), one or more of the following will occur:

  • The same nonconformity results in a condition likely to cause death or serious bodily injury should you drive the vehicle and the nonconformity has been subject to repair two or more times by a manufacturer or its agents, and the consumer has at least once directly notified the manufacturer of the need for repair;
  • The same nonconformity is the subject of repair four or more times by a manufacturer or its agents and a consumer has at least once notified a manufacturer of the need for repair; or
  • A vehicle has been out of service for more than 30 calendar days (cumulative, meaning that the 30 days must not be consecutive) since delivery by reason of repair of one or more nonconformities by a manufacturer or its agent (like an authorized dealer).

A 30-day limit will get an extension only when repairs cannot be performed because of conditions beyond the control of a manufacturer or its agents. A consumer must directly notify a manufacturer only if a manufacturer has clearly and conspicuously disclosed to the consumer, in a warranty or owner’s manual, the provisions of the lemon law and the direct notice requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Lemon Law in California

Do I have to go to court for the lemon law to help me?

Not necessarily. In many cases, the manufacturer may offer a state-certified arbitration program that may assist you in resolving your dispute. If so, you will have to request arbitration to claim the benefits of a Lemon Law Presumption. You can accept or reject an arbitrator’s decision. 

Must I go through arbitration before I can begin a lemon law claim?

No. It is not uncommon for arbitration results to be unfair, and many consumers will seek legal counsel after losing at arbitration.

What is a lemon law buyback?

This process involves an automobile manufacturer buying your car back from you and you getting a reimbursement for your down payment, all the monthly payments you have made, any current registration fee, and the manufacturer paying off any outstanding auto loan. The manufacturer will take the vehicle from you and brand the title as a lemon law buyback. The only money deducted from your refund will be the mileage offset that will be calculated by the mileage on the vehicle when a problem first started, divided by 120,000, and finally multiplied by the purchase price of the vehicle. An equation is set forth under statutory law and the amount will be considered to be a credit to a manufacturer for the “good miles” that were on a vehicle before anything went wrong. The only other items that could be a deduction from a refund will be items added onto the purchase of the vehicle. Every manufacturer looks at such items differently so there is no hard and fast rule about what a manufacturer will include in a buyback versus what will be a deduction.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Lemon Law Attorney in California

Do you think that the vehicle you bought might be a lemon in California? The Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C. can help you determine the best way to proceed with your lemon law claim.

Our firm understands how frustrating these types of cases can be for people and we will work hard to make sure that you are able to either get the repairs you need or get a full refund for the money you have spent. You can call (818) 646-5690 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation so we can take a longer look at your case and help you understand what options may be available to you.

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