When you buy a vehicle – new or used – and something is not working properly, you realize that you might have just made a bad investment.
While many people think that any car issues are their responsibility once they buy the vehicle, the truth is that, depending on various aspects, they could be covered by the Lemon Law.
As you may know, the Lemon Law protects car buyers from faulty and even life-threatening products, usually making manufacturers or dealerships replace the vehicle or simply buy it back.
Here is exactly what you should know when buying a new car – namely, when should you rely on this particular law?
What Does the Lemon Law Cover?
Every California lemon law lawyer will let you know that any vehicle, no matter what it’s the condition, is covered by this particular law as long as it is still subject to the new vehicle warranty provided by the manufacturer.
In short, a vehicle warranty means you are protected in case you purchase a lemon.
- Naturally, different states come with slightly different rules/regulations. For example, vehicles sold in California are subject to the state’s version of this law.
- Moreover, most states have laws protecting cars for 18 months after being purchased. However, if they have less than 18 thousand miles on board, this aspect is considered first, and not the former.
- As mentioned above, the Lemon Law mainly attempts to make dealerships and car manufacturers replace the vehicle they have sold as a lemon, or even buy it back from the owner. However, this aspect comes into play only after something called a reasonable number of attempts of repairs.
When Can (and Should) You Rely on the Lemon Law?
As mentioned, you can rely on this law only after the manufacturer or dealership of your vehicle has tried to repair it for a reasonable number of times.
For example, you can and should rely on the Lemon Law when:
- The dealership – or the manufacturer – of your new car tried to repair it at least two times. The vehicle’s problem must be, however, serious – for example, it could lead to injuries or worse if it is not fixed.
- For issues that are not dangerous to the driver, the manufacturer/dealership must have tried for at least four times to solve the issue/problem.
- Finally, if your car has been under repairs for more than a total of thirty days, then the Lemon Law comes into play, and you should take advantage of it. Keep in mind that multiple visits that add up to the mentioned period are still eligible!
The Bottom Line
It is not difficult to determine if you’ve bought a lemon. Mainly, if you spend more time waiting for your new car to come out of service rather than actually driving it, then you may want to contact a lawyer and see how you can get your money back – or, even better, a replacement.
However, you must remember the main aspect of this law. Namely, if the car that you buy is still under the new vehicle warranty of the manufacturer, then you can say that you are fully covered no matter what car issue/problem you come across!
Generally, buying a new vehicle means there is no need to worry about mechanical problems, breakdowns, or safety issues. But sometimes you are faced with the headache of visiting the car dealer several times for service. This is where the Lemon Law comes in handy.
The California lemon law protects the lessees and car buyers from major warranty problems that are impossible for the maker or dealer to repair. The lemon law entitles you to a refund or replacement of your car in some cases.
When Can You Use the California Lemon Law?
Both new and used vehicles that fall under the warranty are covered under the California lemon law. However, the dealer or the maker must have made a reasonable number of attempts (at least two) before you use the lemon law. If you satisfy the criteria under the lemon law, the carmaker will have to buy back the vehicle or provide a replacement. However, the car manufacturer can rebut the claim stating that certain criteria such as “the car issues are minor” are not met.
Other Eligibility Requirements
The lemon law covers all new cars along with the leased and used cars that are still under the carmaker’s new car warranty. It covers only the vehicles that are sold or leased in the state of California. Therefore, if you have bought your car outside the state you are not eligible under the law. The law only covers the cars that are still within 18 months of the purchase or lease or less than 18,000 driven miles, whichever comes first. The car manufacturer is required to buy back the car that doesn’t function correctly, but it has to be under a written warranty and reasonable attempts have been made to repair it.
The car dealer or manufacturer must have tried to repair a problem at least twice, which if left unrepaired could have caused serious injuries or death or, the dealer or car maker has made four or more attempts of repairing the same warranty problem. If the car is in the garage for repair for longer than 30 days in total and has left the car-owner in a quandary of not being able to drive it for at least that period, that’s applicable. However, it doesn’t have to for 30 days on the trot. In case the multiple visits add up to one month, this law might take effect.
What Happens in the Case of Non-Compliance?
The California lemon law will not take into consideration the cars that do not meet these criteria. Therefore, if you have bought a car that has run more than 18,000 miles or is more than 18 months old and is not under the new car warranty, it will not be covered under California’s lemon law.
The good news for California drivers is that according to government agencies, the arbitration process allows you to determine whether your vehicle qualifies for a buyback according to the law of the state. The DCA (Department of Consumer Affairs) services are offered for free and are collected from the taxes you pay.
In 2018 alone, there were 17.2 million vehicles sold in the United States.
Buying a new car can be a fun and exciting experience. But it can also be quite a pain, especially when it comes to financing.
Cars aren’t exactly cheap, to say the least. So when you put your hard-earned money toward a new vehicle, you should be confident in your purchase.
Unfortunately, some dealerships and sellers are less than honest about their wares.
They’re more than happy to sell you a defunct car without disclosing its problems.
But when life hands you lemons, it’s time to make lemonade!
Keep reading as we examine automotive lemon laws and look into how they protect you and your family.
Automotive Lemon Laws 101
To understand lemon laws, we first need to look at what the law defines as a lemon.
It’s crucial to note that, prior damage and necessary repairs don’t make a car a lemon. In most cases, a trip to the mechanic can fix most vehicular issues.
Instead, a lemon is a car that’s beyond repair without extensive mechanical work.
The issue must also impact the vehicle’s ability to work as intended under warranty.
So, for instance, a dented bumper wouldn’t make a car a lemon. However, if the car’s gas pedal won’t budge, that’s considered a safety issue, and thus, makes the car a lemon.
What Do These Laws Cover?
As you might expect, these laws cover all new vehicles sold in the United States.
Likewise, used cars are covered in most instances, as well. The only exception to this rule is Colorado and Delaware, whose coverage only extends to new vehicles.
Things get a bit dicier when it comes to private sales, as the law isn’t entirely clear one way or another. Be sure to look into your state’s specific laws regarding lemon sales.
You may be able to get your money back or at least pass the cost of repairs onto the dealer or seller.
What to Do If You Buy a Lemon
First and foremost, always do your research on any vehicle you’re considering purchasing. Never buy it sight unseen.
Give it a test drive and inspect both the interior and exterior for damage. If it’s a used vehicle, take it to a trusted mechanic and have them look it over for you.
What happens if it’s too late? You’re still protected, fortunately.
You can ask a lemon law lawyer to find out if you have a case. If you do, they can represent you in court and hopefully help you win your money back.
Most lawyers even offer a free consultation, so you won’t have to spend a fortune determining whether or not you have a case.
Sippin’ on Lemonade
No one ever goes into a sale expecting to buy a lemon. If you do end up with a dud, don’t worry. Automotive lemon laws can help you repair your vehicle, replace the dud, or cancel the sale entirely.
Are you interested in learning more about automotive law? Then be sure to check back in with our blog for more great legal advice like this!
Are you on the hunt for a new or used car? Perhaps you’ve recently purchased one and it’s already defective? Then you should submit a Lemon Law claim, and in doing so you need a lawyer. Lemon laws typically pertain to new cars unless you received an express written warranty upon purchasing your used vehicle, then federal lemon law should cover it in most cases.
First, let’s discuss exactly what the lemon law pertains to and how it’s interpreted. There is a lemon law in place for each state in the union and they all vary to some degree. However, the gist of just about every one of them is that you purchased a defective motor vehicle and within a certain timeframe and depending on which state law you are under deemed it to be defective, or it has been deemed defective.
Things to Know About Lemon Laws
Here are some tips for making sure you are able to file a lemon law claim when the time arises. The first thing you should do or be doing is taking your car to the repair shop. This will put it on the record that you are having trouble with the car and also allow for the car’s manufacturer to handle it appropriately. If they do not then you may have a chance at a successful claim.
Make Sure to Take Notes
Make sure you have every little problem that was happening with your car noted and documented. Make sure your mechanic didn’t miss anything either when they write the estimate or repair orders.
It Pays to Keep your Paperwork
If you don’t keep your documentation this may come back to haunt you. There are many things that could happen, such as the dealership or mechanic loses the paperwork, or grease gets all over it rendering it unreadable. Shoot, they may even go out of business. You never know. So take the reins here and keep all of your paperwork however insignificant it may seem; make copies too.
Call a Lemon Law Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer is an important step toward receiving a successful decision with your lemon law claim. You don’t want things to turn sour on you, especially after you’ve probably been to hell and back trying to simply use the car you paid good money for. Missing work, trips back and forth, having to bother friends for rides, sharing cars, etc. We’ve all been there at some point, and it sucks. So don’t let this happen to you when you were served up a lemon on your car purchase and call a lawyer. Let them take care of your claim in a professional and timely manner.
So there you have it folks, some simple steps you can take to assure you won’t be left out in the cold when filing a lemon law claim. Whether you were “taken for a ride” or not, losing the claim will feel just as bad either way; so don’t let it happen and take care of business.