When you buy a new car, you should not worry about mechanical problems that cause frequent breakdowns or a safety concern. California Lemon Law protects those who have purchased or leased a new vehicle that has serious defects that are covered under warranty and cannot be repaired. Under the law, you are entitled to a refund of the money you paid for the vehicle or a replacement.

An overview of the Lemon Law in California:

The Lemon Law in California requires a vehicle manufacturer to replace or refund the purchase price of a vehicle that has a serious defect that cannot be repaired in a reasonable number of times. Under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, “reasonable” is two times if the defect could cause serious injury or death, four attempts for the same problem, or the vehicle has been unavailable to the owner for 30 days due to problems covered by the vehicle warranty.

What vehicles are covered under the law?

In California, the Lemon Law covers new vehicles including one purchased or primarily used for personal or family purposes, one with a GVW of 10,000 pounds maximum, and used for business purposes, or the chassis, cab and drive train of a motorhome.

State-certified arbitration:

Most manufacturers have a state-certified arbitration process available to those that have purchased a lemon. A neutral third-party arbitrator will hear the case and decide if the owner should be awarded a refund or replacement vehicle. The process is reasonably straightforward and costs the vehicle owner nothing.

In the event you are not satisfied with the results of arbitration, you may want to consider engaging a knowledgeable Lemon Law attorney. These attorneys are intimate with the law, and they know your consumer rights. In many cases, the outcome will be advantageous to you, and a settlement can be arrived at quicker than should you attempt to settle the matter yourself.

If you purchase a car in California, the California Lemon Law covers it. In the event of a problem that cannot be rectified, you have the right to expect the manufacturer to either return your money or provide a replacement vehicle. If you are pursuing a claim, you may wish to consult with Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center®.