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California Lemon Law


California Lemon Law

The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act (in the California Civil Code, beginning at section 1790) requires that, if a manufacturer or its representative is unable to repair a purchased or leased motor vehicle to conform to its written (express) warranty after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer must promptly replace or repurchase it. To qualify for California Lemon Law protection, the vehicle must have been purchased or leased in California for personal, family or business use.

The Warranty Act protects you for the duration of the warranty period. If you purchase a car with a five-year manufacturer's warranty, then you are protected for at least five years. This protection period can even be extended, because the time limit in which to bring a legal action for breach of warranty is four years from when the defect is first discovered. For example, if you discovered that your vehicle is defective four years into a five-year warranty, you have an additional four years (or eight years from the date of purchase) to take legal action under California Law.

If your vehicle is determined to be a lemon (under California Lemon Law guidelines), you have the right to choose a refund instead of a replacement vehicle. You cannot be required by the manufacturer to accept a replacement vehicle instead of a refund. In addition, you may be able to get a refund for repair, towing and use of a rental vehicle.

Used Cars and the Law

The Warranty Act also applies to used vehicles that are still under a manufacturer's new car warranty. When a used car covered by a new car warranty is sold, any remaining time left in the warranty protects the car's new owner. The law covers "certified" used cars (autos with quality guarantees sold by dealers or through manufacturers' programs), resold lemons (defective vehicles that are bought back by manufacturers or dealers and then resold) and autos covered by extended service contracts.

By California law, the first time a lemon buyback is resold at the retail level, it must have one-year factory warranty to cover defects and cannot legally be sold "as is." The lemon law requires that the car's title state that it is a "lemon law buyback" and the car must have a "lemon" sticker on the door jamb. When lemon buybacks are illegally sold "as is," the buyer still has rights under California Law.

Information on Lemon Law and how Lemon Laws can help you.

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