California's Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, more commonly known as California's Lemon Law, was enacted to protect consumers who have purchased defective consumer goods in California. The law provides that when a manufacturer cannot repair consumer goods after a reasonable number of attempts, it must either replace the defective product or refund the consumer's money.
What consumer goods are protected under California's Lemon Laws?
California's Lemon Laws provide for compensation to California consumers of defective automobiles and trucks and other vehicles and products including motorcycles, RV's, boats, televisions, computers and other consumer appliances and products.
Is my vehicle covered under California's Lemon Law?
Yes if your vehicle is covered by the original manufacturer's warranty, and the vehicle was purchased or leased for personal, family, or small business purposes.
Is my leased vehicle covered under California's Lemon Law?
Yes. California's Lemon Law specifically includes leased vehicles within its coverage.
What type of passenger vehicles are covered under California's Lemon Law?
Almost any type of passenger vehicle is covered by the California Lemon Law, including cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles and many other types of motor vehicles.
Is my business vehicle covered under California's Lemon Law?
Yes if the vehicle has a gross vehicle weight under 10,000 pounds that is purchased primarily for business purposes by a person, including a partnership, limited liability company, corporation, association, or any other legal entity to which not more than 5 motor vehicles are registered in California.
If I purchased an extended service contract for my vehicle, am I protected under California's Lemon Law?
California's Lemon Law applies to new and used vehicles that are covered by the manufacturer's warranty. Extended service contracts do not qualify as a warranty under California's Lemon Law.
Is my used car protected under California's Lemon Law?
Yes if the used vehicle was purchased with an unused portion of the manufacturer's original, new car warranty remaining at the time of purchase. However, coverage is not identical to the coverage for new motor vehicles. For complete advice concerning your legal rights with your used vehicle, you should contact us immediately.
How many repair attempts are required in order for my vehicle to be considered a lemon?
There is no set number of repair attempts that need to be made to your vehicle before it is considered a lemon under the law. Manufacturers are obligated to repair defects and are allowed a reasonable opportunity to do so. What is considered reasonable depends on the nature and severity of the defect.
What is the Lemon Law presumption?
California's lemon law presumption is a legal device that allows the consumer to establish that he or she has met the burden of proof that the vehicle is a lemon, and shifts the legal burden to the manufacturer to prove otherwise. Note that it is not necessary to satisfy the presumption in order to file a lemon law claim.
The lemon law presumption is established if the following occurs: You have purchased or leased a new motor vehicle for personal or small business used;
and during the first 18 months of 18,000 miles you brought the vehicle to a dealer for repair of the same or similar problem four or more times, or two or more times if the manufacturing defect results in a condition that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, or if the vehicle was out of service for a total of more than 30 days; and the problem still persists.
Do I have to satisfy the legal presumption in order to have a lemon law claim?
No. The lemon law legal presumption is neither a requirement nor a prerequisite to having a lemon law claim. There are many lemon law situations that will not meet the legal presumption, but which may still entitle you to lemon law protection. As long as your vehicle's defective condition has substantially affected the safety, value and/or use of your vehicle, the defect occurred within the new car warranty period, and the vehicle cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of repair attempts, your vehicle is entitled to lemon law protection.
Do I only have eighteen (18) months to bring a case under California's Lemon Law?
No. California's Lemon Law does not specify a time frame within which you have to bring a case. However, the longer you wait, the more difficult it can become to successfully advocate your case.
Will a trivial defect qualify my car as a lemon under the law?
No. The defect with the warranted vehicle cannot be a trivial defect in order for the vehicle to be considered a lemon under California's Lemon Law. The defect must be substantial enough to impair the use, safety or value of the vehicle.
If my vehicle is a lemon, what am I entitled to?
If your vehicle qualifies as a lemon, you are entitled to recover your down payment, registration fees, taxes, transportation costs, plus your total monthly lease or loan payments plus attorneys' fees and costs less a usage fee. Your recovery will be offset by a usage fee, which is a charge for the use of the vehicle prior to the time the vehicle was first brought in for the problem.
How long does the process take?
Once we send our formal legal demand, the manufacturer is required to respond within 30 days. Once you receive a satisfactory offer, it will take approximately an additional 15 to 60 days to return the vehicle and receive payment from the manufacturer.
Does California's Lemon Law provide protection for other types of defective consumer products?
Although other consumer products are not covered by the strict definitions of California's Lemon Law, there are other state and federal laws available which do offer protection for other defective consumer products, including, but not limited to ATVs, RVs, computers, cameras, appliances, and a variety of other consumer goods.
If your consumer product was purchased with a warranty and you are having problems getting defects repaired within a reasonable amount of time and/or reasonable number of repair attempts, you may have rights under Federal Warranty Law. This law is similar to California's Lemon Law in that it provides for cash awards to the consumer in addition to attorneys fees and costs.
If you have a defective consumer product, contact us today for a free case analysis.
How much will this process cost me?
We have a "no recovery, no fees" policy. In the event that you do not recover a satisfactory settlement, you will pay absolutely nothing. At Shainfeld & Anvar, PC, we do not charge you any out of pocket expenses. Rather, in accordance with the statutes that we use to represent you, the manufacturer is responsible to pay for all of your attorneys fees and costs.
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