Basics of Lemon Law Claims
The California “Lemon Law” has been enacted to provide consumers and businesses with remedies when new or used motor vehicles under warranty (such as cars, motorcycles, RV’s and boats) are left unrepaired after a reasonable number of attempts. California’s lemon law statute provides consumers with some of the broadest protections available.
California’s “lemon law” is located in the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, Cal. Civ. Code section 1790, et. seq. Consumers should note that California’s lemon laws apply to purchased or leased automobiles, trucks, RVs, motorcycles, boats and other watercraft. Although these laws are complex and involve procedural requirements that a qualified lemon law attorney can help you navigate, the basics of a what is necessary to qualify for lemon law relief are:
First, in order for a consumer to obtain the benefits of these laws, the person that was sold a new or used lemon must have received the vehicle with a warranty from the manufacturer. It is important to remember that even if you purchase a used vehicle, you may still have a lemon law claim if there was the manufacturer’s warranty.
Defect That Substantially Affects Use, Value or Safety
For a lemon law claim, your vehicle must continue to have a defect that impairs its use, value or safety. The defect must substantially impair at least one of these three:
An impairment of use might seem obvious: it is something that makes the vehicle less useful. For example, if the vehicle you purchased has an irreparable transmission problem that causes the vehicle to work improperly, then its use would be impaired.
A vehicle’s value is impaired if the defect causes it to be worth less than the same vehicle that does not have that defect. For example, a vehicle with an defective sunroof that causes rain to drip into the vehicle is worth substantially less than that same vehicle with a fully operable sunroof.
A safety impairment is usually so obvious that it does not require explanation. If your vehicle has a defect that makes it dangerous so that it poses a threat to your safety or that of others, then your vehicle has a defect affecting safety. For example, a vehicle stalls has a safety defect.
Defect Not Repaired After Reasonable Number of Attempts
A defect that affects use, value or safety must still remain unresolved even after the manufacturer or its authorized agent made a reasonable number of repair attempts. The number of attempts is a contingent on the seriousness of the problem. For example, a safety defect that cannot be repaired after two attempts is enough to establish a “reasonable number”, but two attempts to fix a defect for a non-safety issue, such as when the stereo shuts off on its own, will probably not be enough.
If the manufacturer or its authorized dealer was unable to properly fix the vehicle, then the consumer is entitled to a full refund or a defect-free replacement vehicle. With either selection, the consumer is entitled to a refund of all expenses he or she incurred such as sales tax, license and registration fees, finance charges, repair/towing or rental charges, and any other official fees that were incurred. The consumer is also entitled expenses that were incurred because of the defect, such as towing, storage and rental charges. In some cases, a civil penalty of up to two times your damages may be awarded in addition to your damages.
Call Kaloustian Law Group now for a free case evaluation and find out if you have a viable lemon law case. The lemon laws require the manufacturer to pay your attorneys’ fees and costs if you win, so let us fight for your rights without worry. If there is no recovery, you will owe us no fees/costs. Call toll-free now at 877-594-7656 for a free case evaluation.