The designation “new motor vehicle” is not a trivial one. The applicability of California’s Lemon Laws depends on whether or not your vehicle will legally be considered “new” or “used” and perhaps more importantly, whether it has a warranty, or not. Even if your car is not a “new motor vehicle” by California Lemon Law standards, you may still have essentially the same protections if the vehicle came equipped with a warranty provided by the seller of the vehicle.
In essence, it provides consumers the opportunity to get a refund on an auto purchase or a new vehicle if a car cannot be fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts.
No. The problem must substantially impair the safety, value, or use of the motor vehicle.
No. It applies to “new motor vehicles”. The living quarters of a motor home, motorcycles and certain kinds of for-business vehicles may not be covered. However, Song-Beverly does have rules to protect purchasers of these other vehicles, even if the vehicles don’t specifically qualify under the Lemon Law.
Problems must occur during the first 18 months after the buyer has received the vehicle or within the first 18,000 miles of driving the vehicle whichever comes first.
That said, two important caveats apply: First, once you cross that 18,000 miles/18-month threshold, your rights don’t just vanish. If the vehicle does not conform to the car manufacturer warranty after a reasonable number of repair attempts, the vehicle may still be considered a lemon.
Depending on the circumstances, yes. Remember, your vehicle can still be considered a lemon even if the problem started after 18 months of ownership or 18,000 miles. The key is, did the problem first occur during the warranty period. You also have four full years from when you first realized that you had a lemon vehicle to file suit.
California Civil Code Section 1793.22 (e)(2) defines the term “new motor vehicle.” According to the statute, a “new motor vehicle” can be defined as follows:
The law further refines the term new motor vehicle to include the chassis and chassis cab of a motor home but specifically excludes the following:
Generally speaking, if your new car cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts, it may be considered a lemon.
More specifically, within the first 18,000 miles of 18 months of owning a vehicle (whichever comes first):
The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act as well as the Tanner Consumer Protection Act of California, protect citizens from unscrupulous car dealers and manufacturers and provide legal means for them to get their money back or a replacement vehicle if a car has persistent and hard to repair mechanical problems that cannot be fixed after a reasonable amount of effort.
How do lemons wind up in the hands of consumers in the first place?
Typically, two things happen. First, a dealer who is eager to clear damaged products from his lot unscrupulously sells a lemon to the consumer. Number two, the manufacturer fails to recognize that a product is damaged or refuses to refund the consumer’s money or offer a fair replacement after the defect has been pointed out.
Given how complicated these rules can get and how difficult manufacturers can be about refunding or replacing lemons, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney who handles these matters regularly. LemonLaw123.com is standing by to help. Our practice is limited to Lemon Law cases and we can provide a free consultation to you.
There are three key factors in determining eligibility under the California lemon law. While meeting these guidelines would label your car as a “lemon”, they are open to reasonable interpretation:
You could represent yourself, but this can be dangerous for a number of reasons. A manufacturer who does not want to cooperate with a buyback can put up a stiff defense that only experienced CA Lemon Law attorneys can navigate effectively.
By working with Attorney Valerie G. Campbell, you likely will be able to recover substantially more than you could on your own, and in a timely manner.
Some common defenses manufacturers make against Lemon Law claims are:
Yes. The opportunity to repair the vehicle was there, whether they were able to fix the problem, or not.
If you have any questions or concerns about your vehicle, or if you would like a free and no obligation consultation about your California Lemon Law matter, call LemonLaw123.com today at 833-536-5297. Valerie G. Campbell’s 99% success track record is remarkably high for the industry, and she can answer any question you have about the California Lemon Law.
Email us through our online contact form for a free half-hour consultation (no obligation).