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California's Lemon Law Requirements and "Presumption"

California's Lemon Law provides a presumption guideline wherein it is presumed that a vehicle is a “lemon” if the following criteria are met within 18 months of delivery to the buyer or lessee or 18,000 miles on the vehicle’s odometer, whichever comes first:

• The manufacturer or its agents have made two or more attempts to repair a warranty problem that results in a condition that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven;

• The manufacturer or its agents have made four or more attempts to repair the same warranty problem; or

• The vehicle has been out of service for more than 30 days (not necessarily all at the same time) while being repaired for any number of warranty problems; or

• The problems are covered by the warranty, substantially reduce the vehicle’s use, value, or safety to the consumer and are not caused by abuse of the vehicle;

• If required by the warranty materials or by the owner’s manual, the consumer has to directly notify the manufacturer about the problem(s), preferably in writing. The notice must be sent to the address shown in the warranty or owner’s manual (for bullets 1 and 2).

If these criteria are met, the Lemon Law presumes that the buyer or lessee is entitled to a replacement vehicle or a refund of the purchase price. However, this presumption is rebuttable. The manufacturer may show that the criteria has not been met (for example, because the problems are minor) and therefore, the buyer or lessee is not entitled to a replacement vehicle or refund.

This is NOT intended as legal advice.

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