Los Angeles Lemon Law FAQ

Does the California Lemon Law Apply to Private Party Sales in Los Angeles?

Does the California Lemon Law Apply to Private Party Sales in Los Angeles?

In a private party sale, a vehicle owner sells their car to a buyer. While some laws apply to this transaction, California lemon law is not one of them. 

California lemon law applies only to vehicles bought or leased from an automaker – through a dealership or directly from the manufacturer. The car must be under its original warranty or a certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty. Problems with the vehicle must begin during the warranty phase, and the automaker must make a reasonable number of attempts (at least two repair attempts) to fix the car. 

Although a private sale buyer may take the car to a dealership for repairs, California lemon laws will not apply.  However, the original new car warranty or CPO warranty will still apply if there are either time or miles left on one of those warranties. Also, an extended service warranty is not enough to trigger California lemon law. 

Private sales and purchases of vehicles in Los Angeles are typically “as-is” transactions. The seller is not responsible for any promises about the vehicle’s reliability, and the buyer cannot hold the seller accountable for any issues that arise.

Buyers who plan to privately purchase a car must take extra precautions. One way to ensure a vehicle is ready for purchase is to take it to a certified mechanic. A mechanic can often spot current issues with the car and potential problems that may later arise. 

As a private buyer, a person may ask the seller if they can return the car or receive a refund. However, they are not obligated to do so. No law requires the seller to say yes. The buyer relies on the seller’s goodwill when making this request. 

If you or someone you know bought a car from a private seller but face consistent car issues, you may not have a lemon, but you may have other legal options. But if you purchased or lease your car from a retail seller, you should contact the lemon law defect attorneys at Wirtz Law. Our experienced trial team will evaluate your case at no cost and if you have a lemon we will take your case on a contingency basis.

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