California "Lemon Law"
California Lemon Law (officially known as
the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty act,
found in California Civil Code sections 1790
et seq.) is a law designed to protect
consumers who purchase or lease warranted
motor vehicles. If it is determined that a
motor vehicle is a "lemon," the
motor vehicle's warrantor must repurchase or
replace the motor vehicle from the buyer.
order to have a valid Lemon Law claim, the
following elements must be met:
The vehicle must be used some of the time
for personal, family or household purposes.
If a vehicle is used exclusively for
business purposes, the Lemon Law will not
apply, but other laws may provide certain
The vehicle must have problems covered by a
warranty. There is a simple rule: no
warranty means no Lemon Law case.
The warrantor must be unable to repair the
vehicle's warranty problems after a
reasonable number or repair attempts. What
constitutes a reasonable number of repair
attempts will vary depending on the problem.
For example, if a vehicle's brakes fail, one
repair attempt may be enough to establish a
reasonable number. Generally, safety-related
or driveability concerns will require fewer
repair attempts than those which are not
safety-related or affect driveability.
relevant to determining whether there has
been a reasonable number of repair attempts
is the number of days the vehicle is
out-of-service due to warranty repairs. The
more days out-of-service, the better the
chance of establishing a reasonable number
of repair attempts.
is a common misconception concerning the
Lemon Law, that it only applies to vehicles
that are less than 18 months old and have
less than 18,000 miles. This belief is not
true! The Lemon Law will apply to a vehicle
regardless of how old it is or how many
miles is has, so long as the vehicle is
having problems that are under warranty.
if the warranty has expired, the Lemon Law
may apply. If the vehicle is still having
problems that were complained about and
never properly repaired during the warranty
period, a valid Lemon Law claim may exist.
The vehicle must contain a problem covered
by the warranty that substantially impairs
the vehicle's use, value or safety to the
buyer/lessee. The Lemon Law, generally, will
not apply to vehicles with trivial or minor
defects. Nevertheless, each case must be
judged independently taking into account the
particular needs and expectations of the
particular vehicle's owner/lessee.
the above mentioned elements are met, the
vehicle is a lemon. The vehicle's
owner/lessee will be entitled to a
replacement vehicle or a refund of the
vehicle's purchase/lease price.