If you buy a car, truck or SUV, new or used, that is still covered by a manufacturer’s warranty in California, you may be covered by the California Lemon Law. The lemon law states that a vehicle in this state is a lemon if, after a certain number of repair attempts for a problem that affects use, value or safety of the vehicle, the problem still exists. You may be entitled to a refund or a new vehicle.
Who and What Is Covered?
Every purchaser of a new or used vehicle is entitled to coverage under the California Lemon Law.Purchasers of a leased, used vehicle, as long as it has the original manufacturer’s warranty in place, may be entitled to coverage as well.
What Is a Lemon?
For the vehicle to qualify as a lemon, it must be shown after a reasonable number of service attempts that the dealer cannot fix the vehicle and the defect impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle. General standards that are set forth by California law are as follows:
- Two or more repair attempts for the same defect that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury in the first 18 months or 18k miles of the purchase of the car.
- Four or more repair attempts for the same problem that is within the first 18 months or 18k miles of the purchase of the car.
- 30 or more days in the shop within the first 18 months or 18k miles of the purchase or lease of the vehicle.
Note that the above are presumptions. The car manufacturer could allege that the vehicle is a lemon only if it meets the narrow criteria above. But the law does not actually state this. If you have a non-presumption case that does not fit into the above scenarios, it is wise to talk to a lemon law attorney in Beaumont, California.
What Are the Remedies?
If the vehicle is deemed a lemon, you have the following remedies at your disposal:
- Vehicle replacement with a new vehicle that is the same make and has the same options
- Repurchase of the vehicle and refund of the purchase price to include sales taxes, license fees, registration fees and all governmental charges, minus a reasonable allowance for mileage.
Also, the consumer could be entitled to the diminished value of the car because of the repair problems. This is known as cash-and-keep, where the vehicle owner does keep the vehicle but is given cash compensation.
Duties of the Consumer
Sometimes a consumer has a lemon but is not able to get a remedy for it because the consumer neglected to have the vehicle properly serviced. There are several things you should do to keep your right to bring a claim:
- Keep your documents! Do not throw away any documents from the dealer when you buy or lease it. These include the sales contract, service contract, warranty booklet, finance documents, and any other documents you get from the dealer. Also keep all service records, receipts and expenses for the vehicle.
- Take the vehicle to an authorized dealer for repairs. If you have repair problems and the warranty is in effect, you must take the vehicle to an authorized dealer. If you go to an independent mechanic, this will not help your case.
- Have all complaints documented. Look at their service orders and make sure your complaints are accurately described there.
- If your vehicle is deemed a lemon, the manufacturer will be responsible for your attorney’s fees.
About Beaumont, California
Beaumont is in Riverside City, California, and is near San Gorgonio Mountain and north of San Jacinto Peak. It is bordered on the east by Banning and on the south by San Jacinto. To the west is Calimesa and to the north is Cherry Valley. Currently, Beaumont has a population of 36,800. The median income of Beaumont is $67,700. The nearby Highland Springs Resort was established in 1884 and hosts the state’s largest certified organic lavender farm.