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Frequently Asked Questions About Lemon Law

Cali Lemon Lawyers is a Los Angeles firm that focuses exclusively on claims related to defective vehicles. “Lemon law” is a collection of state and federal statutes that allow consumers to return vehicles that are defective. Lemon laws typically apply only to new cars but can apply to used vehicles in some cases (see below). This page takes a look at some of the most frequently asked questions we receive at Cali Lemon Lawyers and provides answers.

Read on to get your questions answered or give us a call at (310) 627-2665 to dives your case.

What is Lemon Law?

Lemon laws were designed to protect those who purchase faulty products or products that don’t meet the quality and performance standard that was advertised. The term “lemon” normally refers to automobiles like cars, trucks, SUVs, and motorcycles but lemon laws can cover other consumer goods as well.

If you’ve purchased a vehicle in the state of California area and feel like you may have bought a defective product then you may be entitled to justice outlined in California Civil Code section 1793.2. Lemon laws for each state are different but you can check the laws, as detailed by the Better Business Bureau, for each state here.

Why would I need a lemon lawyer?

Whenever you hire an attorney with experience in lemon law, they will have the knowledge and resources to ensure that you get the justice you deserve. If you have a legitimate case, then hiring a lemon lawyer could cost you nothing because your legal fees may be covered in your manufacturer’s warranty. Lots of lemon lawyers work on a “fee-shifting” basis, which means you don’t pay them. Instead, after they’ve won your case, they send the bill to the manufacturer, who has to foot the bill for all legal fees incurred. Hiring a lemon attorney could cost you nothing and support your case.

What are some common cases in lemon law?

Here a few common cases warranting a lemon lawsuit:

  • Defective airbags
  • Molding in the air condition unit
  • Antilock brake failure
  • Transmission failures
  • Body damage
  • Damaged or broken brake pedal causing failure
  • Ineffective or failing seatbelts
  • Malfunctioning electronics and wiring
  • Engine computer not functioning properly
  • Cruise-control malfunctions
  • Engine fire and failure
  • Leaking in the fuel injection system
  • Defects in the fuel line that could create fire and smoke damage
  • Chipping and defective paint
  • Power steering malfunctions
  • Premature wear and tear on the brakes and rotor
  • Steering pull as a result of a malfunction
  • Engine stalling
  • Sudden unintended acceleration

Certain states only cover certain types of vehicles, like those purchased for personal use and not for a business. Some states consider how much the vehicle weighs and won’t cover certain types. A small number of states have lemon laws that cover used vehicles, and some have laws that are ineffective. Some states’ lemon laws apply to other products as well.

What is protected by lemon law?

The exact criteria vary from state to state but new vehicle lemon laws require that a manufacturer repurchase a vehicle that has a cogent defect that the manufacturer is unable to repair within a reasonable timeframe. Lemon laws take into consideration the nature of the problem with your vehicle, the number of days that the vehicle is unavailable due to repairing the reoccurring issue, and the number of times vehicle repair was attempted. The manufacturer could be obligated to buy back the defective vehicle if the repairs cannot be completed within the total number of days outlined in your state’s laws.

Is my used car protected under lemon law?

Each state has its own statutes detailing the intricacies of its lemon law policies. However, most states consider any vehicle a lemon if the car has a substantial defect, that is covered in the warranty, and occurs within a certain timeframe after the purchase of the vehicle. The vehicle must continue to have the defect after a reasonable number of repairs. If you think you’ve been sold a lemon, please take your vehicle for repairs at the dealership where it was purchased because using another mechanic may void the warranty.

I purchased my used vehicle “as is” so does lemon law protect me?

Lemon laws will not protect the buyer of a product purchased without a warranty, like a vehicle purchased “as-is.” However, if you feel you were misled into waiving your warranty then you may still be protected.

What rights do I have if my dealer or manufacturer knowingly sold me a defective automobile?

You have the right to sue your dealer if they weren’t forthcoming about past damages to your vehicle or if they intentionally misled you into purchasing a defective product. If you suspect your dealership or manufacturer of foul play, then speak to a lemon law attorney at once about your case. If your car is considered a lemon, then you are entitled to a vehicle buyback or vehicle replacement.

How long is a vehicle covered under lemon law?

A new or used vehicle should be covered as long as it remains until its original factory warranty. The number varies, but new cars often have warranties that last at least a few years or until your drive a certain number of miles, whichever comes first.

Does lemon law cover used vehicles in California?

It does but only if the used vehicle is still under its original factory warranty or if it was sold to you with a warranty from the dealership.

What if my dealership won't refund or replace my vehicle?

The dealership is not responsible for refunding or replacing your defective vehicle—the manufacturer is. They are responsible for the warranty and would be the one to refund or replace your vehicle.

What if the manufacturer won't refund or replace my vehicle?

This is against the law (unless your vehicle’s warranty has expired). If the manufacturer refuses, you may be able to take legal action. Feel free to call us for details regarding your specific case.

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    Michelle Yang

    Founder & Managing Attorney

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    Novaj Javidzad

    Chief Operating Officer

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    Jonathan Cagliata

    Supervising Attorney

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    Yanet Pinzon

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    Josie Cuanan

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    Martin Rosales

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