Buying a new vehicle with the hope of it being reliable most of the time is what most consumers have in mind. You may be one of the many new car buyers who is unpleasantly surprised by immediate and ongoing mechanical problems. This is not what you have spent months researching new car models for, you expected so much more. The fact of the matter is you may have been one of the many new car buyers who has, inadvertently, purchased a “lemon”. In the state of California, the Lemon Law may be able to help you fight for your rights as a consumer.
Does California Have a Lemon Law?
Each state has its own Lemon Law designed to protect consumers when investing a substantial amount of money into a new vehicle. When you have purchased a new vehicle and, through no fault on your part, it gives you nothing but mechanical problems your circumstance may be protected by the California Lemon Law. The Lemon Law in California is updated from time and time with statutes that are clearly spelled out with legal specifications. It is important to do the research in order to understand how the California state Lemon Law relates to your specific circumstances.
What is Lemon Law in California?
California Lemon Law Statute
California Civil Code Section 1793.22
(a)This section shall be known and may be cited as the Tanner Consumer Protection Act.
(b) It shall be presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been made to conform a new motor vehicle to the applicable express warranties if, within 18 months from delivery to the buyer or 18,000 miles on the odometer of the vehicle, whichever occurs first, one or more of the following occurs:
The same nonconformity results in a condition that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven and the nonconformity has been subject to repair two or more times by the manufacturer or its agents, and the buyer or lessee has at least once directly notified the manufacturer of the need for the repair of the nonconformity.
The same nonconformity has been subject to repair four or more times by the manufacturer or its agents and the buyer has at least once directly notified the manufacturer of the need for the repair of the nonconformity.
The vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of nonconformities by the manufacturer or its agents for a cumulative total of more than 30 calendar days since delivery of the vehicle to the buyer. The 30-day limit shall be extended only if repairs cannot be performed due to conditions beyond the control of the manufacturer or its agents. The buyer shall be required to directly notify the manufacturer pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) only if the manufacturer has clearly and conspicuously disclosed to the buyer, with the warranty or the owner’s manual, the provisions of this section and that of subdivision (d) of Section 1793.2, including the requirement that the buyer must notify the manufacturer directly pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2). The notification, if required, shall be sent to the address, if any, specified clearly and conspicuously by the manufacturer in the warranty or owner’s manual. This presumption shall be a rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of proof, and it may be asserted by the buyer in any civil action, including an action in small claims court, or other formal or informal proceeding.
(c) If a qualified third-party dispute resolution process exists, and the buyer receives timely notification in writing of the availability of that qualified third-party dispute resolution process with a description of its operation and effect, the presumption in subdivision (b) may not be asserted by the buyer until after the buyer has initially resorted to the qualified third-party dispute resolution process as required in subdivision (d). Notification of the availability of the qualified third-party dispute resolution process is not timely if the buyer suffers any prejudice resulting from any delay in giving the notification. If a qualified third-party dispute resolution process does not exist, or if the buyer is dissatisfied with that third-party decision, or if the manufacturer or its agent neglects to promptly fulfill the terms of the qualified third-party dispute resolution process decision after the decision is accepted by the buyer, the buyer may assert the presumption provided in subdivision (b) in an action to enforce the buyer’s rights under subdivision (d) of Section 1793.2. The findings and decision of a qualified third-party dispute resolution process shall be admissible in evidence in the action without further foundation. Any period of limitation of actions under any federal or California laws with respect to any person shall be extended for a period equal to the number of days between the date a complaint is filed with a third-party dispute resolution process and the date of its decision or the date before which the manufacturer or its agent is required by the decision to fulfill its terms if the decision is accepted by the buyer, whichever occurs later.
(d)A qualified third-party dispute resolution process shall be one that does all of the following:
Complies with the minimum requirements of the Federal Trade Commission for informal dispute settlement procedures as set forth in Part 703 of Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as those regulations read on January 1, 1987.
Renders decisions which are binding on the manufacturer if the buyer elects to accept the decision.
Prescribes a reasonable time, not to exceed 30 days after the decision is accepted by the buyer, within which the manufacturer or its agent must fulfill the terms of its decisions.
Provides arbitrators who are assigned to decide disputes with copies of, and instruction in, the provisions of the Federal Trade Commission’s regulations in Part 703 of Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations as those regulations read on January 1, 1987, Division 2 (commencing with Section 2101) of the Commercial Code, and this chapter
Requires the manufacturer, when the process orders, under the terms of this chapter, either that the nonconforming motor vehicle be replaced if the buyer consents to this remedy or that restitution be made to the buyer, to replace the motor vehicle or make restitution in accordance with paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) of Section 1793.2.
Provides, at the request of the arbitrator or a majority of the arbitration panel, for an inspection and written report on the condition of a nonconforming motor vehicle, at no cost to the buyer, by an automobile expert who is independent of the manufacturer.
Takes into account, in rendering decisions, all legal and equitable factors, including, but not limited to, the written warranty, the rights and remedies conferred in regulations of the Federal Trade Commission contained in Part 703 of Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations as those regulations read on January 1, 1987, Division 2 (commencing with Section 2101) of the Commercial Code, this chapter, and any other equitable considerations appropriate in the circumstances. Nothing in this chapter requires that, to be certified as a qualified third-party dispute resolution process pursuant to this section, decisions of the process must consider or provide remedies in the form of awards of punitive damages or multiple damages, under subdivision (c) of Section 1794, or of attorneys’ fees under subdivision (d) of Section 1794, or of consequential damages other than as provided in subdivisions (a) and(b)of Section 1794, including, but not limited to, reasonable repair, towing, and rental car costs actually incurred by the buyer.
Requires that no arbitrator deciding a dispute may be a party to the dispute and that no other person, including an employee, agent, or dealer for the manufacturer, may be allowed to participate substantively in the merits of any dispute with the arbitrator unless the buyer is allowed toparticipate also. Nothing in this subdivision prohibits any member of anarbitration board from deciding a dispute.
Obtains and maintains certification by the Department of Consumer Affairs pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 472) of Division 1 of the Business and Professions Code.
(e)For the purposes of subdivision (d) of Section 1793.2 and this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
“Nonconformity” means a nonconformity which substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the new motor vehicle to the buyer or lessee.
“New motor vehicle” means a new motor vehicle that is bought or used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. “New motor vehicle” also means a new motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight under 10,000 pounds that is bought or used 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 five motor vehicles are registered in this state. “New motor vehicle” includes the chassis, chassis cab, and that portion of a motor home devoted to its propulsion, but does not include any portion designed, used, or maintained primarily for human habitation, a dealer-owned vehicle and a “demonstrator” or other motor vehicle sold with a manufacturer’s new car warranty but does not include a motorcycle or a motor vehicle which is not registered under the Vehicle Code because it is to be operated or used exclusively off the highways. A demonstrator is a vehicle assigned by a dealer for the purpose of demonstrating qualities and characteristics common to vehicles of the same or similar model and type.
“Motor home” means a vehicular unit built on, or permanently attached to, a self-propelled motor vehicle chassis, chassis cab, or van, which becomes an integral part of the completed vehicle, designed for human habitation for recreational or emergency occupancy.
(f) Except as provided in paragraph (2), no person shall sell, either at wholesale or retail, lease, or transfer a motor vehicle transferred by a buyer or lessee to a manufacturer pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) of Section 1793.2 or a similar statute of any other state, unless the nature of the nonconformity experienced by the original buyer or lessee is clearly and conspicuously disclosed to the prospective buyer, lessee, or transferee, the nonconformity is corrected, and the manufacturer warrants to the new buyer, lessee, or transferee in writing for a period of one year that the motor vehicle is free of that nonconformity.
Except for the requirement that the nature of the nonconformity be disclosed to the transferee, paragraph (1) does not apply to the transfer of a motor vehicle to an educational institution if the purpose of the transfer is to make the motor vehicle available for use in automotive repair courses.
[EFFECTIVE 1/1/2001. Amended September 26, 2000 (Bill Number: SB 1718) (Chapter 679).] [Previously Amended September 21, 1999 (Bill Number: AB 1290) (Chapter 448).] [Previously Amended July 12, 1999 (Bill Number: SB 966) (Chapter 83).]
When does a vehicle qualify as a Lemon in California?
The state of California has specific criteria when to comes to being able to legally define a car as a “lemon”. The Lemon Law Statute for California is the guidebook for all Lemon Law cases and needs to be the litmus test you use when determining if you have a viable case.
You can get started by taking a closer look at the California state Lemon Law to see if your case falls under the definition of “lemon” as defined.
Reading the Lemon Law Statute can be a daunting task. If you still feel confused about where you stand after reading over the specific California State Lemon Law then we encourage you to contact us today for clarification. Our attorneys are well versed in the California Lemon Law and are happy to provide you with an initial consultation concerning your case. For more information, you can call us directly at (888)353-0456 or, if you prefer, fill out your contact information and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.
Is a used car covered under California Lemon Law?
If you have purchased a used car that is giving you problems you are less likely to be able to qualify for protection under the Lemon Law. Although the truth is that used cars present with more mechanical problems than new cars, the Lemon Law is intended for protecting consumers who buy new vehicles. You may be able to present a Lemon Law case for a used vehicle if you are disputing something related to a written warranty that was agreed upon at the time you made the purchase. The California state Lemon Law is in flux, changing over time so be sure to keep abreast of the current version of the statutes in order to properly make use of the law as it is written.
When do I need a California based Lemon Law Attorney?
After you do your research and/or speak with one of our experienced Lemon Law attorneys and you feel like you have a strong Lemon Law case then it’s the right time to hire an attorney. Experience counts and our team at Lemon Law Group Partners offers you the best option when it comes to the depth and breadth of legal understanding that you need for California Lemon Law cases. Protection by the California state Lemon Law is best accomplished when you are well represented by one of our expert attorneys.
How do Lemon Law Attorneys in California protect my rights?
The legal process requires expertise and our Lemon Law attorneys understand the law and how to help you fight the large auto manufacturing companies who will be involved in the case. We ensure that you know exactly how to exercise your rights and we explain all that is related to the legal process every step of the way.
There is no reason to try and fight the big guys alone when you have a viable Lemon Law case. There is no way to become an expert in the law or legal processes on your own. Let our lawyers take care of the heavy lifting for you. Working with the California Lemon Law is our realm of expertise and we are here to guide you through the process in a way that leads you to your best chance for success. Feel free to consult with us from the beginning and if we determine that, for some reason, you don’t have a viable Lemon Law case we can still offer some expert suggestions that will guide you toward resolving the problem.
How long do Lemon Law cases in California typically take to get resolved?
When it comes to working a Lemon Law case there is no timeline that is set in stone. You can rest assured that we do our best to move the legal process along as quickly as possible. It is not unusual for a Lemon Law case to extend through a few months of time. Throughout the process we make sure to communicate with you to give you a sense of how fast things are moving forward.
How much will a California Lemon Attorney cost to hire?
When you are engaged with a Lemon Law case the State statutes often require all legal fees to be paid by the automobile manufacturing company. This is assuming that you have a viable case that is covered under the California state Lemon Law statutes. If, in the end, our lawyers are unable to win the case then you remain under no obligation to pay.
What are some of the areas that our Lemon Law Lawyers in California cover?
Lemon Law Group Partners are available for you to hire all across the great state of California. Here is a list of some of the areas we cover. Don’t see your city on the list? Give us a call to discover where the closest office is near you.
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
- San Jose
- San Francisco
- Long Beach
- Santa Ana
- Chula Vista
- San Bernardino
- Moreno Valley
- Huntington Beach
- Santa Clarita
- Garden Grove
- Rancho Cucamonga
- Santa Rosa
- Elk Grove
We look forward to hearing from you soon and helping you determine if that new car you are dealing with is a “lemon”. Our legal team is here to help, give us a call today.