What is the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act?
California’s lemon laws fit under the umbrella of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. Originally implemented in the 1970s, the Act regulates consumer warranties for retail products and provides protection to consumers. Before the Song-Beverly Act, consumers had little to no legal protections against defective products, including lemon vehicles. Thanks to the Song-Beverly Act, buyers in California are entitled to express warranties, repairs, replacements, and refunds for defective goods they purchase.
The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act covers California’s lemon laws. The lemon law protects car buyers and lessees with defective motor vehicles that cannot be adequately repaired.
How Do California’s Lemon Laws Work?
If you have recently purchased or leased a motor vehicle and then discovered that it has defects, you may have accidentally come into possession of a lemon. However, certain qualifying features must be met in order for your car to be considered a lemon in California.
It is necessary that your motor vehicle have notable defects that impair the use of the vehicle, the safety of its occupants, the safety of others on the road, or otherwise impact the value of the car. Additionally, it is necessary for the motor vehicle to be under a proper car warranty. If your car is not under warranty, there is a high likelihood that it may not qualify as a lemon.
Before your car can be officially labeled a lemon, the car dealership or manufacturers must be provided with a ‘reasonable number’ of repair attempts. If the issues are not rectified after these repair attempts, your car may be considered a lemon.
If your car is a lemon and cannot be repaired, you have the option of receiving either a full refund or a replacement vehicle.
What Are the Potential Resolutions to a Lemon Law Case?
With a strong legal case, it is possible to argue that your defective motor vehicle qualifies as a lemon in the Golden State. Should your vehicle qualify as a lemon, lemon law dictates that the dealership or manufacturer provide you with one of two different resolutions to your problem.
You will be given the choice of:
- Receive a full refund, which includes the purchase price and the price for any repair attempts.
- A replacement vehicle, which could be the same model or a different model from the same manufacturer.
The choice is up to you.
What is the Law on Vehicle Warranties?
A critically important factor in all lemon cases in California is the status of your car warranty. Remember, this all traces back to the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.
The warranty that comes with new vehicles purchased directly from the manufacturer or from an authorized dealership is commonly referred to as an express warranty. Your express warranty is usually good for a certain number of years or miles, whichever comes first. If your defective car is still under express warranty, it may qualify as a lemon.
Used vehicles may have an implied warranty of merchantability. This is not a written contract or a verbal one. It is also not an express promise that the vehicle will work perfectly. It is, however, a promise that the vehicle should be safe and reliable transportation for a specific number of months, years, or miles. This is a very basic warranty. It goes into effect as soon as you purchase the vehicle. Under lemon law, your implied warranty is generally only applicable for the first 30 days after the vehicle’s purchase.
Car dealer warranties function similarly to manufacturer’s warranties. They are written promises that your vehicle is free of dangerous defects and will be reliable transportation for a certain number of miles or a specified amount of time.
In relation to California’s lemon laws, extended warranties are more like service contracts and not warranties. They are not a promise that your vehicle is in good condition. Instead, they promise to repair your vehicle if it ever should break down. However, there is the chance that your vehicle may be linked to certain benefits from the car dealership. Work with an experienced California lemon law attorney for assistance.
Could Your Car Be Protected by Lemon Law if You Don’t Have a Warranty?
If you do not have an accepted warranty, it is highly unlikely that your automobile will be protected by California’s lemon law. However, if you want a second opinion from a first-rate attorney, please contact our law firm for legal advice.
What is a ‘Reasonable Number’ of Repair Attempts?
Your defective vehicle (or vehicle with a defective part or system) must undergo a reasonable number of repair attempts before it can be considered a lemon. What is considered reasonable, though? The answer to the question varies from one lemon case to the next.
Generally, manufacturers and car dealerships are provided with at least four repair attempts to fix a problem. If the vehicle defect presents a serious danger to the vehicle occupants or others on the road, then only two repair attempts may be deemed necessary.
Does the Lemon Law Apply to New Cars?
New cars purchased for personal or business use are typically covered by California lemon law. This is because these vehicles are under an express written warranty. If you have bought or leased a new vehicle and are experiencing issues, it is likely that your vehicle qualifies as a lemon.
Do California’s Lemon Laws Apply to Leased Cars?
Automotive manufacturers once argued that the lemon laws of California do not apply to vehicle leases. However, there are lemon law protections for consumers who lease vehicles in California. It is important, however, that your leased car be protected under the express warranty. If it is no longer under express written warranty, you may not qualify for lemon law protections.
Does California Lemon Law Apply to Used Cars?
A pre-owned vehicle with notable defects can still qualify as a lemon in California. However, the used vehicle must have been sold with a warranty from the vehicle manufacturers, the distributors, or an authorized dealership. This warranty does not have to be an original warranty. A dealership warranty will usually suffice. Keep in mind, though, that dealership warranties are often very short.
Do Lemon Laws Apply to Private Sales?
If you purchased a used vehicle from a private owner rather than a dealership, it could be very difficult to receive lemon law protections in California. One exception to the rule, though, is if the pre-owned vehicle is still under the manufacturer’s warranty.
What is Auto Dealer Fraud?
Car dealer scams involve tricking prospective buyers into purchasing or leasing damaged or broken vehicles. If you believe you have been the victim of auto dealer fraud, you must contact lemon law lawyers without delay.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced California Lemon Law Attorney
Ibrahim Law Firm services all of California with highly skilled legal representation for complex lemon law claims. If you believe that you have a defective vehicle that should qualify as a lemon, please contact us. You may call our law office at 626-600-0890.