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Does California Lemon Law Apply to Motorcycles?

Does California Lemon Law Apply to Motorcycles?

Riding a motorcycle is the perfect way to blow off steam after a long day of work or enjoy a weekend of exploring in the mountains or by the ocean. There’s nothing that feels so freeing. But what happens if you discover that your motorcycle has an annoying defect after you purchased it? Are you simply out of luck?

Fortunately, you may have a legal remedy. The California lemon law does apply to motorcycles, so you could get your bike replaced or repurchased by the manufacturer if your legal claim is successful. But there are a few steps you will have to take first. Read on to find out more.

What Is the Lemon Law for Motorcycles?

The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, otherwise known as California’s lemon law, applies to the purchase or lease of “consumer goods,” including motorcycles. In § 1791(a) of the law, the statute defines consumer goods as “any new product or part thereof that is used, bought, or leased for use primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, except for clothing and consumables.” As long as your motorcycle isn’t owned by a business or driven primarily for business purposes, the lemon law applies. You can read more at What Qualifies for the California Lemon Law?

A wide variety of motorcycle defects can trigger the lemon law. Some of these include:

  • Braking problems
  • Ignition, exhaust, and fuel system flaws
  • Electrical defects
  • Mechanical defects
  • Steering problems
  • Wheel and tire defects.

The defect in question must substantially impair the USE, VALUE, or SAFETY of the motorcycle to qualify. For example, faulty brakes would certainly impair the safety of a motorcycle, and a defective paint job with corrosion would definitely impact its resale value. However, a minor scratch or small tear in the upholstery would likely not rise to the level of a successful lemon law claim. If you’re unsure of whether your motorcycle’s defect qualifies for lemon law protection, speak to a skilled attorney at Neale & Fhima. We’d be glad to answer your questions, assess your situation, and explain your legal options. Call us at 888-407-2955.

Before filing a legal claim, though, you must make a reasonable number of attempts to get the motorcycle repaired by a certified dealer. This may mean two, three, or four visits to the repair shop, depending on the severity of the defect. You’re required to show that you made a good-faith effort to get the motorcycle fixed, but that the defect persisted. To prove that you made these repair attempts, save all your receipts, work orders, and used parts from each visit to the shop. You can read more at How Many Repairs Before It’s a Lemon?

Here are additional things to keep in mind. To be covered, a motorcycle owner must meet the following requirements:

  • The owner must show that he or she legally purchased or leased the motorcycle in California.
  • The motorcycle must be covered by a legitimate warranty that provides coverage for the type of damage or defect an owner has experienced.

If your lemon law claim is successful, you can choose from the following remedies:

  • Repurchase/Buyback
  • Replacement

In some limited circumstances, we can negotiate a cash settlement, called “cash and keep,” in which you are compensated monetarily by the manufacturer for the defect and simply keep the motorcycle you have.

Neale & Fhima has a 99% success rate in lemon law cases.

Motorcycles in the U.S.

There were roughly 8.6 million on-road motorcycles licensed in the U.S. as of 2021, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). That’s twice the number registered in 2002 (4.3 million), suggesting that motorcycling has become very popular. California and Florida have the largest number of registered motorcycles in the nation. There were 952,977 motorcycles registered in California in 2021, and the average age of motorcycles in the U.S. was 13.1 years in 2021. Some of the most popular brands of motorcycle include:

  • Harley Davidson
  • Indian
  • Honda
  • Suzuki
  • Triumph
  • Arch
  • Boss Hoss
  • Pierce-Arrow
  • Victory
  • Excelsior
  • Ducati
  • Yamaha
  • Kawasaki.

There are several different body styles of motorcycles, including:

  • Chopper
  • Cruiser
  • Touring
  • Sport
  • Naked
  • Cross
  • Enduro
  • Street.

Whatever brand or style of your motorcycle, you could be entitled to California lemon law protection if you purchased a bike with a chronic defect and have made several attempts to get it repaired, but without success.

Who Pays for My Lawyer?

Here’s the good news – in a successful lemon law case, the motorcycle manufacturer is responsible for paying your legal fees. At Neale & Fhima, our attorneys work on contingency, which means that our fees are paid as part of a settlement or jury award.

It’s important to remember that the statute of limitations for a lemon law claim in California is four years from the date you knew or should have known about the defect. However, we’ve been able to qualify motorcycles and vehicles older than 4 years in some circumstances, so call us regardless of the age of your motorcycle and we can discuss your options.

Call Neale & Fhima Today

There are many attorneys to choose from in California, but we think our legal team is among the best and the brightest. At Neale & Fhima, we’ve represented thousands of clients in lemon law cases and have an outstanding 99% success rate. It’s hard to beat that! You can read what our satisfied clients have to say about our top-notch legal services. Consumers represented by attorneys often get a faster response and larger amount offered from manufacturers in lemon law cases than do motorcycle owners going it alone in the courts. Also, your legal fees will be paid by the manufacturer if you have a successful case. So, what do you have to lose? Call a skilled motorcycle lemon law lawyer at 888-407-2955 to find out more about how we can help you get the justice you deserve. The initial consultation is free.

Attorney Aaron Fhima

Aaron Fhima is a trial attorney who has secured numerous settlements and verdicts against large corporations and some of the largest auto manufacturers in the world. Representing consumers and injury victims throughout the state of California, Aaron’s practice areas include personal injury, and lemon law litigation. Aaron has a long record of success taking on large defense firms; and he doesn’t hesitate to take cases to trial when necessary to enforce his clients’ rights. [ Attorney Bio ]

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