Lemon Laws give consumers, both owners and lessees, the right to seek compensation for products that repeatedly fail to meet promised standards of quality or to perform as advertised. While any product can technically be considered a lemon, the laws are most commonly used for automotive claims arising out of faulty or defective vehicles.
California enjoys some of the nation’s most stringent consumer protections, and our state’s Lemon Law is no exception. If you have purchased or leased a vehicle you would term a lemon, you may have legal recourse that can help you secure fair compensation for your purchase and your troubles. The best way to find out if you are qualified for a Lemon Law lawsuit is through a free case evaluation with one of the attorneys at Kirtland & Packard.
If you live in the Redondo Beach area, please call Kirtland & Packard at 310-536-1000 to schedule a complimentary case evaluation with one of our Lemon Law attorneys. We welcome clients from the South Bay area including Torrance and Manhattan Beach.
- California Lemon Laws
- California Lemon Law Vehicle Requirements
- Available Solutions for Defective Vehicles
- Why Hire a Lemon Law Attorney?
- Contact Kirtland & Packard for a Complimentary Case Evaluation
A majority of the statutes pertaining to lemon law in California are covered under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. Under this act, every sale of consumer goods in the state of California is accompanied by an:
- Implied warranty of merchantability. This means that the retailer/dealer guarantees that the product is properly contained and packaged, and that all labels are accurate, complete, and make only provable claims or promises
- Implied warranty of fitness. This means that a product designed, marketed, and purchased for a specific need, driving for example, will perform as advertised
Implied warranty means that a consumer can safely assume a product will work as promised even in cases where no written warranty is offered. It can only be nullified if a product is explicitly sold “as is” or “with all faults,” with the purchaser having full knowledge that it may be broken or defective.
Unlike an implied warranty, an express warranty is a written or verbal guarantee of a product’s merchantability and fitness. Express warranty generally provides a base level of coverage against manufacturer defects like faulty parts and mechanical problems.
In California, if a retailer offers an express warranty, it must also maintain sufficient service and repair facilities to deal with in-warranty repairs. In cases where the retailer does not have its own repair facility, it must authorize a third-party repair facility to perform all in-warranty work.
In cases where a retailer or one of its authorized repair facilities cannot fix the problem after a reasonable number of repair attempts, California Lemon Law holds that the consumer is owed restitution through a full refund of the lemon’s worth or an equivalent replacement product.
The Tanner Consumer Protection Act addresses how many repairs are considered reasonable before a vehicle can be deemed a lemon. Applied primarily to new cars, the Act covers vehicles for 18 months from the time of delivery or until there are 18,000 miles on the odometer, whichever comes first.
In order to qualify for a refund or replacement, the buyer or lessee must directly notify the manufacturer of the defect. From there, the manufacturer or its authorized repair facility has:
- Two opportunities to attempt a repair in cases where a vehicle defect may pose the threat of death or serious injury
- Four opportunities to attempt a repair in cases where no threat of death or injury is present
Vehicles that have been in a repair shop for 30 days or more are also covered under this act. It is important to note that those 30 days can be cumulative, they do not have to occur consecutively.
If you suspect your vehicle is a lemon and the retailer or manufacturer is not holding up their end of the deal, call our office at 310-536-1000 for a free review of your case. We can help you understand your rights and your options, and guide you towards the most effective course of action.
For a vehicle to be covered under California Lemon Laws, it must have a defect that significantly impairs its “use, value, or safety.” The dangerous or defective vehicle needs also to have been purchased or leased in our state, excepting cases where it is owned by an active service member living in California.
In addition, for a vehicle to be covered under Lemon Law, it must:
- Be a passenger vehicle (car, truck, SUV, etc.) with a gross weight under 10,000 pounds
- Have been driven for a period less than 18 months or for fewer than 18,000 miles
- Belong to an individual or entity that has no more than five vehicles registered in the state of California
- Be covered under a manufacturer’s warranty at the time of the first repair attempt
Primarily intended for new cars, California’s Lemon Laws extend to multiple owners in cases where a used vehicle is purchased under warranty or with an extended warranty. Our attorneys can help you determine if your vehicle is covered during your free, one-on-one consultation at our Redondo Beach office.
It is important to remember that there may be room to work within these requirements. If you believe you were sold a lemon, even if your car does not strictly qualify, you may have recourse. Call us for a free consultation to learn more.
If you have purchased a vehicle that falls under California’s Lemon Law, you have one of two options for recourse:
- Ask for a refund. Under this first option, you are entitled to a full refund of the price you paid for the vehicle, including finance charges and fees, taxes, and licensing and registration fees. In addition, if you required a tow, paid, out of pocket for repairs, or incurred additional expenses such as rental car fees due to the defect, you are entitled to compensation for those expenses as well.
It is important to remember that the refund will be less a “Use Reduction” fee, which will deduct from your total compensation any mileage driven prior to the first service call.
- Ask for a replacement. With this option, the purchaser and manufacturer must agree on a replacement vehicle that is free of defect and similarly equipped to the original. The manufacturer must pay all taxes and fees for the new vehicle as well.
It is important to remember that if the manufacturer insists on issuing a refund, replacing the vehicle will not be an option.
California’s Lemon Law offers you protections and recourse when you purchase or lease a faulty vehicle. However, there is no guarantee that the manufacturer will play fair. This is why it is always a good idea to have an attorney on your side as soon as possible when dealing with a faulty vehicle.
Dealerships and vehicle manufacturers have a long history of trying to reduce compensation to victims of defective automobiles. In recent years, some companies have hidden information from both consumers and the government to try and reduce their liability for defective vehicles. If they are willing to stoop to this, there is no telling what they may try to do to prevent you from getting a refund or a new vehicle.
You deserve an attorney on your side who not only understands the law, but is willing to fight tirelessly for your rights. The Lemon Law lawyers at Kirtland & Packard are here to do just that. We welcome an opportunity to meet with you for a free one-on-one consultation where we can listen to your story, discuss all of your options, and help you make the best decision for your case.
If you live in or around Redondo Beach and are in need of a Lemon Law attorney, please call Kirtland & Packard at 310-536-1000 to schedule your complimentary case review today. We serve South Bay communities and surrounding areas of Southern California.