Throughout the country, vehicle purchasers are protected by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a federal law designed to govern warranties on consumer products of which vehicles are one. In California the Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Act is a civil version, it protects those who lease or purchase a new car in California against it being a lemon. The California lemon law offers consumers various remedies if they get a vehicle with serious defects.
In California, if a consumer purchases or leases a vehicle and the manufacturer or the dealer which acts as the representative of the manufacturer cannot repair the vehicle to meet the terms of the warranty after having tried a number of times, the vehicle must be replaced or the purchase price returned. In the event the lessee or buyer opts for their money back they may be assessed a usage charge for the miles driven before the defect was first reported.
The California lemon law is somewhat different than the lemon laws in other states inasmuch as it applies for the full term of the warranty. If you were to find a defect after two years and the vehicle was covered by a three year warranty the manufacturer will be faced with the same two options; replace or reimburse.
Over and above the warranty qualification the owner or lessee must give the manufacturer four chances to repair the same problem. Certain defects which are serious; brake failure for example, one or two failed attempts at repair may be all that it takes to consider the vehicle a lemon. The vehicle must also have been inoperable for a total period of 30 days although this period does not have to be consecutive days.
It is in the best interest of the manufacturer or dealer to help with replacing a lemon, most are very responsible but you cannot rely on them to keep the records. As the consumer it is your responsibility to keep close tabs on everything; the amount of time you were absent from work, the nature of the problem, the number of days the vehicle was in the shop and unavailable, etc. Every time you take the vehicle in for the same problem, make sure the service record reflects this.
If you feel your vehicle is a lemon there are steps that you must take.
* Advise the manufacturer that you have reason to believe your vehicle is a lemon and you want them to buy it back.
* If the manufacturer balks you can hire an attorney or find out if the manufacturer has an arbitration program.
* If the manufacturer does have a arbitration program remember that you can either agree or not with the findings of the panel. If the panel decides in favor of the manufacturer and you are not satisfied then you can hire an attorney and sue the manufacturer in court.
If your car spends more time in the shop than it does on the road the California lemon law is in place to protect you.
LemonLawAmerica.com is a trusted source of information on the California lemon law. If you purchased a vehicle in California and in your opinion it is a lemon by legal definition then you are invited to visit the site to locate a lemon law attorney in your area.
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