Does the Lemon Law Apply to Used Vehicles?

Categories: Lemon Law

Man with a broken car

There’s almost nothing as frustrating as coming to the realization that, instead of recently purchasing or leasing a nice vehicle, you’ve got a lemon. You joke to a neighbor that the vehicle has spent more time in the dealer’s service bay than it has on your driveway. You try to laugh it off, but inside you’re really angry. You didn’t expect perfection, but you did expect the vehicle to operate without too much difficulty. There’s a sense that you’d like to give it back and start over.

In California and a number of other states, you may actually have that option. In fact, many California consumers are becoming aware that the Golden State has one of the strongest “lemon laws” in the country. One common question: Does the lemon law apply to both new and used vehicles?

California’s Lemon Law Does Apply to both New and Used Vehicles

California’s Lemon Law provides legal protection for anyone that purchases or leases a new or used vehicle (cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc.) that is still covered by the manufacturer’s original factory warranty. Such an express written warranty includes any of the following:

  • The balance of the manufacturer’s warranty
  • Any separate limited warranty given by the dealer, or
  • An extended warranty purchased from the dealer at the time you took possession of the new or used vehicle.

The lemon law generally provides that if the manufacturer, or its California representative, such as an authorized dealer, is unable to repair the vehicle after a reasonable number of repair attempts, it must replace the vehicle or return the purchase price to the buyer or lessee. Particularly where the defect could result in death or serious injury, the law does not require you to keep taking the vehicle back to the dealer for repair multiple times.

Other Important Provisions of the Lemon Law

Included within the Lemon Law are a number of other important provisions:

  • Included within the purchase price that must be refunded to the consumer is the price paid for manufacturer-installed items
  • Non-manufacturer items installed by the dealer are generally not refundable
  • The buyer or lessee may choose whether to accept a replacement or a refund
  • Either way, the manufacturer must also pay for associated sales or use taxes, license, registration, and other official fees
  • The buyer or leaser may be charged for the use of the vehicle, regardless of whether the vehicle is replaced or the purchase price is refunded
  • Ordinarily, that “use” is computed by multiplying the actual price of the new vehicle by a fraction where the numerator is the number of miles traveled by the vehicle before it was first brought in for correction of the problem and where the denominator is 120,000
    • For example, if the car had traveled 12,000 miles before it was first brought in for correction of the problem, the lessee or buyer could be charged 10 percent (12,000/120,000 = 10 percent) of the purchase price for usage

Lemon Law Claims Usually Require Experienced Legal Counsel

If you feel that you’ve been short-changed and have been given a lemon instead of the vehicle you expected to buy, you may well have recourse against the dealer and/or the manufacturer. Many consumers come to realize that it requires skilled legal counsel to maneuver through the maze of rules and provisions of California’s lemon law. At  Neale & Fhima, we stand ready to assist you. Working out of  Dana Point, San Diego, and Los Angeles, our firm is dedicated to providing excellent legal representation to those with Lemon Law claims across Southern California

What if you don’t live near any of our offices?

Most times we settle cases without our client’s ever having to step into our office. If you do not live near our office, we will handle your free consultation and case evaluation over the phone. We have obtained countless Lemon Law settlements for consumers throughout the state against nearly every auto manufacturer. We have even helped clients get punitive damages against auto manufacturers for their intentional malfeasance. Within our practice, our clients are not reduced to a simple file number, which sadly happens all too often, instead your case is given the attention and time required to obtain a swift settlement. Request a free consultation by calling us at 1-888-407-2955 or complete our online form, and let us help you get all your money back.