How Does Lemon Law Work in California?

Driving your brand new vehicle or a freshly bought used car is a joy, whether it’s your first vehicle or the 10th. Everything about handling your new motor vehicle is so smooth and satisfying.

All is going well, but only as long as your vehicle is in working order. When mechanical issues arise with a newly purchased vehicle, it can be catastrophic to the buyer. Moreover, if the problem refuses to leave even after several repair attempts by the vehicle manufacturer, your car may be a lemon vehicle. If that is your current position, you can and should file a lemon law case.

If that’s the case with you and you purchased your vehicle in California, read this blog till the end to discover all the important things about California’s lemon law.

Understanding the California Lemon Law

California’s lemon law, also known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, was designed to protect customers who buy or even lease a used or new vehicle with a manufacturer’s express written warranty.

The law states that if your vehicle meets the lemon criteria, the manufacturer owes you relief in the form of a replacement vehicle or a refund. The California lemon law is valid throughout the entire manufacturer’s warranty period.

Lemon Criteria for New or Used Vehicle in California

The lemon law covers both new and used vehicles. As per the lemon law basics, you can file a lemon law claim if your vehicle meets the following criteria:

  • You leased or purchased a used or new car from any dealer in California.
  • During the car warranty period, you took the vehicle to an authorized repair facility of the vehicle’s manufacturers (typically a dealership)
  • Under the manufacturer’s warranty, the authorized dealer has made a reasonable number of attempts (at least 2) attempts but failed to fix the issue(s).
  • The problem is substantial enough to impact a car’s safety, value, or use.

Taking Action With California Lemon Law Attorney

Now the question arises, if you are certain that your car is eligible for a lemon law case, what should you do to take action against the vehicle manufacturer? Contact an attorney right away, in addition to following these recommendations:

Keep all the repair documents safe and sound as proof of repair attempts. Don’t rely on automobile manufacturers for that.

Go to an experienced lemon law attorney to file a lemon law case against the automobile manufacturer. Many dealers stubbornly defend their lemon vehicle so getting the services of a California lemon law attorney early in the process is crucial for your lemon law buybacks or for getting your replacement vehicle.

Lemon Law Buyback vs. Replacement Vehicles

If your lemon vehicle qualifies for recovery, you now have the liberty to choose one of three options offered by the California lemon law for your defective vehicle:

(1) The first option is to go for lemon law buyback. Lemon law buyback option asks the vehicle manufacturer to pay back the purchase cost of the defective vehicle. So, in essence, this option is simply a refund.

(2) The other option is to receive a replacement vehicle for your defective vehicle. However, the defective vehicle must be replaced by a substantially identical automobile. It is for you to decide which option gives you a better value.

(3) A cash and keep option. This is where a lump sum of money is provided to you, and you retain the vehicle.

Why Should I Hire a Lemon Lawyer?

Well, you may be thinking I can handle a lemon law case on my own, and hiring a lemon law lawyer will only result in high expenses. Under the California Lemon Law, the manufacturer is responsible for not only paying your recovery but also the law firms. That means that it is a zero out-of-pocket endeavor, virtually risk-free.

California lemon law attorney or lawyer will push the manufacturer to agree to a settlement quickly. Also, an experienced lemon law attorney can present your case in a much better way and can considerably increase the chances of your winning. So, going for a California lemon law attorney to present your lemon law case is a must for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Lemon law settlements usually happen within 30 days. The overall process and getting your refund (or a vehicle of equal value) in return for your defective vehicle can take 3 to 6 months.
Just like for the new cars, you can get a lemon law buyback or a reasonably identical vehicle as a replacement.
Generally, California lemon laws impose a deadline of 4 years to file a complaint about a lemon vehicle.