You don’t have to buy your vehicle from a dealership to get a good deal or a reliable car. A private party may be an excellent option for a quality ride. Unfortunately, ‘as is’ is the implied term when you buy the vehicle from a private seller.
It means private car sales have no warranty, and you can be surprised to find a defect days or weeks later. Although it is normal for a car to develop a defect, there’s a gray area in consumer laws that protect private sales.
Similarly, consumer laws do not offer solid protection like lemon laws protect buyers who acquire vehicles from manufacturers or dealers. Although refund laws for private sales do not exist under the lemon law, there’s still a chance of earning a refund.
If you want a refund for a lemon car acquired from a private sale, consider consulting an experienced lemon law attorney about your options.
The Magnuson-Moss Consumer Warranty Act was enacted to hold manufacturers to account for selling vehicles that become defective while still under warranty. Consequently, a consumer enjoys protection if the defect occurs when the vehicle is under warranty.
The California Lemon Law ( Magnuson-Moss Consumer Warranty Act) protects consumers who buy new or used vehicles that develop defects that manufacturers cannot fix after a reasonable number of attempts.
More importantly, if the manufacturer or dealer cannot fix the defect after a ‘’reasonable number’’ of repair attempts, the manufacturer must either refund the purchase price or replace the defective vehicle.
Private sale agreements are sold ‘’as is’’, meaning the consumer acquires a vehicle without warranty. As a result, the buyer takes responsibility for subsequent defects. However, sellers must disclose the ‘’as-is’’ term in the buyer’s guide before completing the sale.
California lemon law covers vehicles sold with warranties at retail. Unfortunately, California lemon refund law does not consider private sales as retail— even when the warranty is still in effect.
Although the chances of a refund for a private sale are slim, there is a way around it using the federal lemon law. The argument is based on the premise that a consumer doesn’t have to buy the vehicle at retail to enjoy protection.
Here’s an overview of refund laws for private sales.
First, inform the manufacturer about the defective vehicle acquired through a private sale agreement.
The vehicle should also meet the following California lemon law qualifications:
A vehicle becomes a lemon if it develops a defect but is sold with a manufacturer’s warranty. In addition, the defect should substantially impact its use, value, and safety. More importantly, a lemon vehicle doesn’t have to be immobile; however, it should have a noticeable and substantial impact.
If your vehicle is under warranty and you’re experiencing any of the following defects, you may be eligible for a private sales refund:
Although many vehicle defects enjoy lemon law protection, there exist a few exceptions, including:
Inform the manufacturer about the vehicle’s defect once you’ve identified the problem. Taking the vehicle to the dealership for repairs is a good starting point. More importantly, give the manufacturer a ‘’reasonable number’’ of repair attempts to fix the defect.
The strength of any lemon law claim increases if you have evidence to back your argument. Therefore, compile supporting documents, including repair orders, repair invoices, warranty documents, and original sale or lease documents.
After gathering essential documents, it may be time to engage a lemon law attorney. The attorney will help you initiate the claim and guide you through the process.
The manufacturer may present an offer after evaluating your claim. Your attorney can negotiate a better settlement if you’re unsatisfied with the automaker’s proposal. Alternatively, an attorney can litigate the matter in court if you do not strike a deal with the manufacturer.
Owning a lemon car is a frustrating experience. The vehicle’s persistent defect makes it difficult to rely on it to run your business or personal errands. In addition, a lemon car causes unplanned expenses, including towing charges, accommodation fees, and car rental.
Consider working with an experienced lemon law attorney to increase your chances of success in the claim.
At LemonLaw123, our lead attorney, Valerie G. Campbell, has a high success rate, which gives us the confidence to represent you.
Contact us online or call us at 657.529.5239 for a free case review.