The California lemon law allows a consumer to obtain either a refund or a new replacement vehicle if the manufacturer is unable to repair a defective vehicle and the defect(s) substantially affect the use, value or safety of the vehicle.
There is a common misconception concerning the Lemon Law, that it only applies to vehicles that are less than one year old and have less than 12,000 miles. This is not true! The California lemon law applies to vehicles regardless of how old they are or how many miles they have. As long as the vehicle is having warranty problems, the Lemon Law may apply.
If a vehicle is brought in for the same repair 4 or more times, or has been out of service for more than 30 days during the manufacturer's warranty period (typically 36 months or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first), your car may qualify under the California Lemon Law.
If the defects you are currently experiencing first arose during the manufacturer's original warranty period and the dealership was given an opportunity to repair these defects prior to expiration of the warranty, you may be entitled to relief under the California lemon law.
No. The extended warranty is essentially a service contract that covers repairs on vehicles after the manufacturer's warranty has expired. Although an extended warranty may appear to be similar to a manufacturer's warranty, it is not the same. The California Lemon Law requires that a defective vehicle be repaired under the manufacturer's original warranty in order for a consumer to be entitled to a refund or new replacement vehicle.
Full-time, active-duty members of the Armed Forces who are stationed or residing in California at the time of purchase or lease are protected by the Lemon Law even if their vehicles were purchased or registered outside of the state.
All of the major auto manufacturers have "customer care" centers to deal with consumers who are having problems with their defective automobiles. In most cases, the representative will tell consumers they will investigate the consumer's claims and further review the situation or enlist the help of an area representative or the dealership to help you. Leading you to believe they are diligently working to resolve the situation, the manufacturer is simply delaying you from pursuing your legal rights under the California Lemon Law. The manufacturer realizes that many people will simply get fed up and sell their car or trade it in at the dealership.
In the rare instance where a manufacturer offers a refund or replacement, they often fail to pay the consumer his or her full entitlement under the Lemon Law. Consumers are routinely charged thousands of dollars in excessive mileage fees, taxes and other fees, for which the manufacturer would otherwise be responsible under the Lemon Law. Consumers are encouraged to seek legal counsel prior to accepting any offer made by the manufacturer. Since the California Lemon Law requires the manufacturer to pay our attorney's fees, there is no reason for you to represent yourself in these cases.
Call Mike Saunders, The Lemon Lawyer, for a free consultation, or email us to learn about your rights under the California lemon law.