If you have purchased or leased a car in California and end up in the repair shop for repeated problems, the California lemon laws may help you get your money back. A lot of us look for the best deals when it comes to buying consumer products to fit our daily needs.
However, a lot of these products are defective and fail in a very short amount of time. Over 150,000 vehicles sold annually in California are lemons. If you think that your vehicle is a lemon, do not give up! You have rights!
In California and also in the majority of other U.S. states, consumer protection laws offer remedies for those people who have bought or leased consumer products that fail to work. In California, these are the California Lemon Laws.
The Lemon Law Basics
You might know that you have legal rights when buying a vehicle with a warranty. But you may be asking yourself, How does the lemon law work in California?
The California Lemon Law provides protection for consumer goods that are purchased or leased for personal, family, or household use. The California lemon law applies to the majority of consumer goods, with the exception of clothes and consumable goods, such as fruits, vegetables, cosmetics, and over-the-counter drugs.
In California, if a manufacturer can not repair a consumer good after a reasonable amount of repair attempts, then it has to either replace or refund the consumer's money for the defective item.
The lemon vehicle law in California applies explicitly to vehicles with existing warranties.
CA lemon law regulations generally cover several types of vehicles, including:
The lemon law additionally covers the chassis, chassis cab, and drivetrain of a motor home. The lemon law covers leased vehicles, used vehicles, and financed vehicles. The lemon vehicle law in California covers both new and used vehicles under warranty.
What Do the California Lemon Laws Do?
The California lemon laws require that the maker of consumer products:
California's vehicle lemon laws protect consumers that have purchased or leased warranted new and pre-owned cars.
If a maker or seller of a warranted vehicle is unable to fix the vehicle in a reasonable number of repair attempts, then it needs to repurchase or replace the vehicle, pay for the consumer's incidental and consequential damages and also pay for the consumer's reasonable lawyers fees and costs.
What amounts to a practical amount of attempts differs and depends on the severity of the defect. Generally, safety-related issues will require less repair attempts than those defects that are not safety-related.
What Counts as a "Lemon" Under the Lemon Car Law in California?
What counts as a lemon under the lemon law in California depends on the situation.
You have to meet several criteria for your vehicle to be qualified as a lemon, including:
Additionally, the defects can not result from normal wear and tear or the owner's failure to maintain the vehicle properly. Speak with a skilled attorney if you are unsure if your car defect counts under the lemon law in California.
Our Legal Rights as Consumers
We as consumers are often uncertain of our legal rights when it involves the purchasing of defective products.
Some of us might be so unsure that we just toss the product away and get a replacement at our own cost and blame ourselves for not choosing well in the first place. The California Lemon Laws are here to protect us from defective goods and provide us with financial compensation.
The California lemon laws provide the following types of remedies to lemon car owners:
In addition, if a car manufacturer willfully violated California's lemon law, then a car owner may be able to recover civil penalties against the automobile manufacturer.
The civil penalties can be as high as two times the amount of the actual damages. An attorney can help you better understand whether the vehicle manufacturer of your vehicle willfully broke the law in your case.
What Is the Time Limit for Filing Under the Lemon Law in California?
There is a time limit for every type of case under the law by which you need to file your case. California lemon law has a couple different time limits you will have to keep in mind.
First, the issues with your car need to have occurred during the warranty period. However, if the issue or problem occurs after the warranty period, you most likely do not have a claim under the lemon law.
Second, the California lemon law regulations have a statute of limitations for filing a claim. Under the lemon law statute of limitations, you generally have to file your court complaint within four years of discovering the problem.
Even though you have four years to file a complaint, you should not wait until the last minute. You may want to talk to an experienced lemon law lawyer as soon as you suspect that your car is defective.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have a Lemon Vehicle?
If you suspect that your car might be a lemon, you can take some steps to help you with a potential lemon law case:
Collect all documents associated with the dealer's attempted repairs of your vehicle. Review these records to ensure that all the problems you raised are noted.
Then, speak with a qualified lemon law attorney. Trying to determine what is the lemon law in California and how it might affect your case can be complicated.
Thankfully, California's lemon law makes the vehicle manufacturer responsible for paying for a consumer's attorney fees in a lemon law case.
Contact a Seasoned California Lemon Law Attorney
If you or any member of your family, have purchased or leased a defective automobile or other consumer goods and the seller or maker is not prepared to comply when it comes to offering a refund or replacement, then you need to be contacting a California Lemon Laws attorney, who will assess your situation and present you with a comprehensive assessment of your claim.
Do not get discouraged if your consumer goods fail to conform to your expectations. Rather, make sure to protect your legal rights and get the proper solutions that you are entitled to under California's lemon laws.
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