The California "Lemon Law"
California Lemon Law (officially known as the Song-Beverly
Consumer Warranty act, found in California Civil Code sections
1790 et seq.) is a law designed to protect consumers who
purchase or lease warranted motor vehicles. If it is determined
that a motor vehicle is a "lemon," the motor vehicle's
warrantor must repurchase or replace the motor vehicle from the
to have a valid Lemon Law claim, the following elements must be
vehicle must be used some of the time for personal, family or
household purposes. If a vehicle is used exclusively for
business purposes, the Lemon Law will not apply, but other laws
may provide certain remedies.
vehicle must have problems covered by a warranty. There is a
simple rule: no warranty means no Lemon Law case.
3.) The warrantor must be unable to repair the vehicle's warranty problems after a reasonable number of repair attempts. What constitutes a reasonable number of repair attempts will vary depending on the problem. For example, if a vehicle's brakes fail, two repair attempts may be enough to establish a reasonable number. Generally, safety-related or drivability concerns will require fewer repair attempts than those which are not safety-related or affect drivability. However, only one unsuccessful repair attempt is never sufficient to establish a lemon law claim.
Also relevant to
determining whether there has been a reasonable number of repair
attempts is the number of days the vehicle is out-of-service due
to warranty repairs. The more days out-of-service, the better
the chance of establishing a reasonable number of repair
There is a common
misconception concerning the Lemon Law, that it only applies to
vehicles that are less than 18 months old and have less than
18,000 miles. This belief is not true! The Lemon Law will apply
to a vehicle regardless of how old it is or how many miles is
has, so long as the vehicle is having problems that are under
Even if the
warranty has expired, the Lemon Law may apply. If the vehicle is
still having problems that were complained about and never
properly repaired during the warranty period, a valid Lemon Law
claim may exist.
vehicle must contain a problem covered by the warranty that
substantially impairs the vehicle's use, value or safety to the
buyer/lessee. The Lemon Law, generally, will not apply to
vehicles with trivial or minor defects. Nevertheless, each case
must be judged independently taking into account the particular
needs and expectations of the particular vehicle's owner/lessee.
If the above
mentioned elements are met, the vehicle is a lemon. The
vehicle's owner/lessee will be entitled to a replacement vehicle
or a refund of the vehicle's purchase/lease price.
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