Common Misconceptions about the California Lemon Law

Before making their decision to pursue the California Lemon Law through an attorney, many consumers will try to research the law themselves, to see if they even possibly qualify for the remedies afforded by the Song-Beverly Act. Upon reading the express language of the Song-Beverly and Tanner Consumer Protection Act (California’s Lemon Law), the phrases, “4 times within a year or 18,000 miles” will always initially jump out as the perceived requirements to qualify. Consequently, many people who have not had the same problem four times within a year or 18,000 miles may become dissuaded to pursue a claim under the Lemon Law even though they may certainly qualify. Don’t let this language fool you.

Is your car a lemon?

The California Lemon Law provides that a consumer may be entitled to a refund or replacement of their vehicle if the manufacturer, through its authorized dealers, are unable or unwilling to repair the vehicle within a reasonable number of attempts. The Lemon Law presumes that a reasonable number of attempts have occurred if the subject vehicle has been subject to repair 4 times for the same non-conformity within a year or 18,000 miles, whichever occurs first. But remember; this is only a presumption. A consumer may certainly qualify for lemon law remedies if they do not meet this presumption. In fact, many of our former and current clients have vehicles that qualify for the refund/replacement remedy that do not meet the presumption. Moreover, several consumers have vehicles that qualify for the repurchase/replacement remedy even when their problems occurred after a year or 18,000 miles.

Are only new cars protected by the California lemon law?

Another misconception that many consumers have regarding the California Lemon Law is that theory that only a vehicle purchased new qualifies. Many people who purchase used vehicles and have significant problems with those vehicles, do not pursue their legal remedies. However, what many people do not know is that the Lemon Law defines a new vehicle as a vehicle that was purchased within the terms of the manufacturer’s bumper to bumper warranty. For example: If you purchased a Chevrolet Silverado with 27,000 miles on it, it could still qualifies as a new vehicle for the purposes of the lemon law as the bumper to bumper warranty expires at 36,000 miles. As long as you purchased a vehicle and had multiple concerns, at least one of which occurred before the expiration of the bumper to bumper warranty, you could certainly qualify for the refund/replacement remedy.

What counts as a repair attempt?

A final misconception that many consumers have about the lemon law is what constitutes a repair attempt. Again, since the Lemon Law does not kick in until a vehicle was not been repaired within a reasonable number of attempts, many consumers are mislead to believe that they do not qualify because of the lack of repair attempts to their vehicle. For example, a consumer may bring his or her vehicle to an authorized dealer 4 times for a steering concern, but only 1 time, an actual repair was made due to the fact that the dealer could not duplicate the consumer’s concern the other 3 times he or she brought the vehicle in. Again, the California Lemon Law protects the consumer in this regard by defining a repair attempt as any time a consumer presents a vehicle for repair, no matter what was done to the vehicle or not. Consequently, if a consumer brings a vehicle in for repair 4 times for the same problem, it counts a 4 repair attempts no matter what was actually done to the vehicle.

Should I contact a lemon law lawyer?

Don’t let the express language of the California Lemon law dissuade you from pursuing your legal rights. If you think you have a lemon, consult and attorney to find out for certain. A phone call or email could make the difference in enforcing your refund/replacement rights..

If you’d like to find out if you are entitled to money back or a replacement vehicle, call 1-800-US LEMON® (800-875-3666) toll free to reach Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® for your FREE initial consultation! Or submit your information online for your FREE case evaluation.

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