Woman inspects her car tire on the side of the road

Four Myths About California Lemon Law

There is a lot being said about the California lemon law. At this point, you probably know the basics. It’s a law that protects the buyers of vehicles within the state by enforcing these mandates on manufacturers:

  • They must have accessible repair facilities within the state
  • They must repair defective parts within 30 days
  • They must cover reasonable attorney fees and legal costs for consumers

What does this mean exactly? Put simply, if you buy a defective car in California, the manufacturer has an obligation to make the situation right. The law itself is actually called the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and it was originally established in 1970. 

In 2013, California amended the law to specify that all dealers must offer a minimum warranty of at least 30 days or 1,000 miles. However, most dealerships offer better warranties, especially for vehicles that are certified. 

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into the common myths you may have heard about the California lemon law. Is everything you’ve heard true? Let’s find out.

Myth 1: The Lemon Law Only Covers New Cars

The California lemon law applies to both new and used vehicles. As long as the car is under an active warranty from the manufacturer or dealer, the standards we mentioned above apply.

With that being said, the regulations are less specific for used vehicles. So if you are filing a claim, the process can be a little more complicated. 

Myth 2: You Aren’t Covered By the Lemon Law If You Lease a Vehicle

If your leased vehicle is under warranty, you are entitled to coverage. It’s as simple as that! If a defect affects the safety, value, or use of the vehicle, you should contact an attorney.

Myth 3: You’re Not Eligible for Lemon Law Coverage if the Warranty Has Expired

Yes, your lemon law coverage typically ends with the warranty. However, if you can prove that the defect occurred prior to the warranty’s expiration, you may have a case. Call your attorney if you believe this to be the situation.

Myth 4: Your Motorcycle Is Not Covered by the Lemon Law

According to California Civil Code section 1793.2(d)(1), the lemon law covers all “consumer goods” that are purchased for personal or family use. So if your motorcycle was sold with a written warranty, you should be eligible for coverage. 

In fact, the lemon law covers a range of vehicle types. If you own a van, SUV, pickup truck, car, or motor home that is under warranty, the lemon law applies. 

Myth 5: You Can Only File a Claim if You Still Own the Car

If you have sold the defective car, you may still be eligible for compensation. As long as you have documentation to prove that you owned the vehicle at the time the defect was presented, you should have a case. Just make sure to file within the statute of limitations and to keep any and all documentation.

So Is It Time to Call an Attorney?

If you believe that you have purchased a lemon, it’s time to consult with an attorney. We also recommend that you follow these guidelines:

1. Document Everything

Each time you take your car to the shop, request a copy of the mechanic’s notes and a record of the repairs. You must be able to provide proof of the defect and account for any attempts at repair.

2. Contact the Manufacturer

If you think you have a lemon, you should call the manufacturer and ask for a buyback or replacement under California’s Lemon Law. The manufacturer must then perform a good-faith evaluation and let you know promptly what its decision is. You may want to contact an attorney before contacting the manufacturer to get a better understanding of what to say.  

3. Avoid Arbitration

To speed up the process, the manufacturer may request arbitration. Avoid this route if possible. Although a private procedure may benefit the manufacturer’s interests, it won’t necessarily serve your own.

Throughout the process, you will want an experienced attorney at your side. 

For more information call the experienced trial attorneys at (833) 4MY-LEMON for a free case evaluation.
Disclaimer.  The information provided in this post is for informational and educational purposes only regarding aspects of the California Lemon Law.  It is intended for California Consumers only.  This post is considered an advertisement by attorney Richard M. Wirtz and Wirtz Law APC. You should not rely on any of the information provided in this advertisement and no legal advice is given by the advertisement. No attorney client relationship is established by viewing this advertisement. A written signed engagement agreement between you and Wirtz Law APC is required to create an attorney client relationship. You should immediately consult an attorney which is experienced in California Lemon Law. Attorney Richard M. Wirtz is responsible for the content of this post. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.