Lemon Laws in California
This week we are discussing Lemon Laws and what you should do if you think your car may be a lemon.
This week’s question comes from Sara in San Diego.
I purchased a new car 3 months ago. I have had nothing but problems and it has been in the shop 4 times. I feel that I bought a lemon. Does California have a Lemon Law that protects me?
Sara, the short answer is, “yes!” California does have Lemon Laws in place to protect you. The California Lemon Law was designed to protect owners who have discovered a “serious, unfixable flaw” in their vehicle. The vehicle can be owned or leased. The law slightly differs for used cars.
I am so sorry you are dealing with this but I think you are in a good position to take advantage of the Lemon Law in California.
Lemon Law Requirements
In order to be protected under California Lemon Laws you need to meet the following criteria.
Must Substantially Impair the Use or Value of the Vehicle
Steering, breaking, etc are common issues that are often covered by the Lemon Law. However, the items in question must substantially impact the use of the car and/or the value. In short, you can’t change your mind about your new purchase and use the Lemon Law to get your money back.
Your car must be under warranty. Since you are bought a new car there should be some sort of warranty.
For new car buyers, make sure you find out the length of your warranty and immediately report any malfunctions of the vehicle to the dealer. You don’t want to wait too long before taking your car to the dealer for repair. If your car goes out of warranty, this could exempt you from the Lemond Law.
Four Attempted Repairs
You must give the dealer at least four chances to fix the car before you can start the Lemon Law process. Because you have taken your car in four times, you meet this criteria. Please note, you must take it to the authorized dealer from where you purchased your car. You cannot take it to just any repair shop.
30 Days of Inoperability
You must have 30 days (consecutive or non-consecutive) of inoperable use. Meaning, you will not be able to use your car for at least 30 days. During this time the dealer will be making attempts to mitigate the issue.
Once you meet these requirements you will be ready to start the Lemon Law process.
Sara, I hope that helps and even more, I hope you get a car that works properly soon! If you have a question for the Protect Yourself segment on San Diego 6, e-mail me at LawyerinBlueJeans@gmail.com. If your question is chosen I will answer it live on-air!