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Eligibility Criteria for California Lemon Law

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.

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