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7 Important Questions to Ask a Lemon Law Attorney in California

— March 24, 2022

If the parties involved can’t fix your vehicle after that reasonable number of attempts, they must replace your vehicle or refund you the purchase price.

Buying a new car is an exciting experience. You may have worked hard to afford one, or you’ve never owned a brand new vehicle before. However, your excitement can soon turn to disappointment when you start experiencing problems with that new vehicle. If you’re unsure of your rights or what you’re supposed to do about your dissatisfaction, ask a Lemon Law attorney some of the following questions. 

What Is Lemon Law?

Unless you ask a California Lemon Law expert, you may not know what lemon laws are or whether they’re relevant to your unique situation. While laws vary from one state to the next, they generally describe state laws that allow purchasers who buy vehicles and other consumer goods to be compensated for them if they have severe defects or mechanical problems. 

These laws cover any large or small defect, but not wear and tear, such as worn tires. If you purchase a vehicle with a manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty and encounter problems that have no suitable resolution, you may be able to receive another car or your money back. 

How Do I Know If Lemon Laws Apply?

You may not know right away if lemon laws apply to your vehicle or unique situation, but there are a few criteria that could see you eligible. The most important criteria to meet is your vehicle being new or used with a manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty. 

It can be a car, van, SUV, pickup truck, and even the chassis, chassis cab, or drivetrain of a motorhome. Lemon laws also cover dealer-owned vehicles or demonstration vehicles and those purchased or leased for business, personal, family, or household use. 

Will the Manufacturer or Dealer Fix My Vehicle?

If you’ve purchased a new or used vehicle with a manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty, the dealer or manufacturer must make a reasonable number of attempts to fix a serious warranty defect. Failure to do so may result in legal action being taken. 

If the parties involved can’t fix your vehicle after that reasonable number of attempts, they must replace your vehicle or refund you the purchase price. You may decide which option you’d prefer, or it might be a conclusion you and the dealer or manufacturer reach together. 

What Qualifies As a ‘Reasonable’ Number of Attempts?

Lemon laws state that manufacturers or dealers must make a reasonable number of attempts to repair your vehicle, but no specific number is outlined in California’s lemon laws. However, receiving a refund or replacement may be the likely outcome if the manufacturer or dealer hasn’t fixed the same issue within four or more attempts. 

If your vehicle’s faults may cause injuries or death if driven and the problem hasn’t been fixed within two attempts, this may also be enough for you to receive a refund or replacement. Alternatively, the laws may come into effect if your vehicle has been in a repair shop for more than 30 days, consecutively or not, for a repair that is covered under the manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty.   

What Are My Entitlements Under California Lemon Law?

Buying a new car with problems can cause no end of stress, so you may be wondering what your entitlements are for this challenging situation. If your vehicle qualifies for lemon laws, you may be refunded your investment in that vehicle, which might be the full purchase price, your down payment, or finance payments.

Man leaning against car on a desert road; image by Jamie Street, via
Man leaning against car on a desert road; image by Jamie Street, via

If you experienced incidental damages relating to the vehicle’s issues, you might also be entitled to any repair costs you’ve paid for, towing expenses and rental car costs. 

Do Lemon Laws Only Cover Vehicles?

Vehicles may not be the only things you buy that experience problems outside your control but inside their warranty period. These laws in California and other states can also cover recreational vehicles, motorcycles, boats, and other consumer goods. 

If My Vehicle Is Used, Do Lemon Laws Apply?

Buying a used vehicle can sometimes mean you have fewer rights than if you purchased it new. However, you may still be entitled to a refund or replacement on a problematic car, even if you bought it used. You may receive lemon law entitlements if the warranty issue appears within your vehicle’s original or extended warranty period. 

However, if you purchased your used vehicle without a warranty, these laws don’t apply to your situation. Fortunately, you can request legal assistance from a Lemon Law expert if you’re unsure what your entitlements might be or have further questions. 

No one ever wants to purchase a vehicle with issues, but when you live in states like California with lemon laws, you often have rights. If you relate to any of this information above, you may qualify for a new vehicle or a refund.

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