California Lemon Law
Halt | July 22, 2021 | 0 Comments

What Makes California Lemon Law Unique?

California’s lemon laws work in favor of the consumer. But what makes it unique is the law has a four-year statute of limitations. This means for up to four years; a vehicle can be labeled a lemon. For the first 18 months or 18,000 miles, it becomes easier to prove the case of a lemon vehicle. The consumers get the choice of settlement they want for the case. The Lemon Law is better known as the Song-Consumer Warranty Act.

Lemon Laws serve one purpose: protecting the consumer from being ripped off on a malfunctioning or unsafe vehicle. Let’s face it; vehicles are not cheap, even used ones. If the vehicle cannot be repaired after so many tries, the consumer can demand the remedies of replacement for another vehicle or a complete refund. California has provisions that make its lemon law unique compared to other states. Everyone who purchases a vehicle should know about these provisions. They need to know who can file a claim, what must be proven, and what remedies they seek for a settlement.

What The Consumer Needs To Know

Filing a Lemon Law Claim

Nine things are considered facts every consumer should know if they feel like they have a lemon.

  1. California’s Lemon Law covers leased vehicles.
  2. Used cars can qualify.
  3. Popular vehicles have been flagged under the California Lemon Law.
  4. Vehicles used for businesses can qualify too.
  5. Active military serving in California can claim vehicles purchased out of state.
  6. There is a four-year statute of limitations.
  7. The Statute of Limitations makes it easier to claim the first 18,000 miles or 18 months of warranty.
  8. The law allows the consumer choices on how to remedy the situation.
  9. There is no charge to get a Lemon Law Attorney in California.

Leased Vehicles

If the consumer is leasing a vehicle, they are still paying money to drive the vehicle. Therefore, if the vehicle is a lemon, the person can go after the manufacturer for putting out a lemon. The biggest reason people lease is they change vehicles every few years. No matter how the vehicle is paid for, bought, or leased, the California Lemon Law has the consumer covered.

Used Cars

If the used car has time left on the warranty, the warranty will roll over to the new buyer at the time of the sale. It is the only time Lemon Law will cover a used vehicle. Many people put older cars for sale and put “As Is” to protect them from their rights. Third-party contracts and extended warranties also do not apply in the Lemon Law.

Popular Vehicles

Other purchases are covered under the Lemon Law. Some of the most popular vehicles have been fought over in court or out-of-court settlements. Some vehicles are as follows.

  • Motorcycles
  • ATVs
  • Travel and Camper Trailers
  • Side-by-Sides
  • Jet Skis
  • Boats
  • Small planes

Primary Business Purposes

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Individuals are not the only ones included in the Lemon Law. Businesses that purchase vehicles for their organization are covered under the Lemon Law if there are numerous defects. LLC, Partnerships, Corporations, and sole proprietorships are all included in the law. However, there are two restrictions businesses need to know to qualify.

  • Must have gross weight under 10,000lbs.
  • No more than five vehicles are allowed to be registered in the state of California.

Larger companies that have more than five vehicles handle their issues with the manufacturers.

Active Military

If a soldier is stationed in California but purchases their vehicle from out of state, the state has them covered. It is not easy for a member of the active military to leave their station to handle such affairs. It is a great benefit that the state allows for our active military. An example will be if the soldier buys a car in Texas. If the car has massive defects, they can get an attorney in California to resolve the issue. They are the only ones exempt.

Four-Year Statute Of Limitations

When you buy a new car, the warranty becomes the written contract that binds the agreements. The dealership has to repair the defects under the warranty agreement promptly. If there is a breach of contract on the manufacturer’s part, the Statute of Limitations allows the buyer to go back four years to the date of the contract where the agreements were broken. In other words, four years later, the manufacturer is still responsible for fixing the vehicle, pay off the car, or give the owner another reliable vehicle.

18 Months / 18,000 Miles

The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act has many rules that cover passenger vehicles under the Lemon Law. The Tanner Consumer Protection Act is one of those rules. The Lemon Law is covered for vehicles up to 18,000 miles after purchase or 18 months after purchase. It is important not to get confused with the four-year Statute of Limitations. The Statue only makes it easier to file claims with vehicles with those numbers in miles and months.


When a lemon law attorney takes the case, at the time of the consumer winning, they will choose how they get reimbursed from the manufacturer. The options are as follows.

  • The entire loan or lease will be paid off with reimbursements from down payments. When this happens, the manufacturer gets possession of the vehicle.
  • The manufacturer will replace the vehicle at no cost for something else. This remedy is not forced, but it is an option for the buyer.
  • In some cases, the client can keep the vehicle. This is known as “cash and keep.” This is not something that often happens, but it can be negotiated where the client will get the cash and the vehicle.

No Upfront Cost From Lemon Lawyers

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The consultation is free all the way to litigation. After the case is won, the lawyers take their percentage. There are no out-of-pocket costs, and chances are always good. A good attorney knows when they have a case, and they are eager to take on the challenges for the client at no upfront cost.

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