The number of motorcycles on U.S. roads has doubled in the last 20 years, suggesting that more and more people are enjoying the freedom and gas-efficiency of two-wheeled travel. Feeling the wind in your hair with a 360-degree view of passing landscape provides great recreation for many.
But if it turns out that your motorcycle has mechanical or electrical problems, this can put a real damper on the fun you were anticipating. No one wants to spend long hours in the repair shop hoping that their cycle can be fixed. This is especially true if you’re making repeated trips to the service department for a defect that never seems to be adequately repaired.
There’s an all-too-common misconception about California’s lemon law – that it applies only to cars. Some residents of the Golden State think that if they purchased a motorcycle with defects, then they’re simply out of luck. That isn’t true. The California lemon law applies to motorcycles, too. Rest assured, a motorcycle lemon law lawyer can fight for a legal remedy.
California’s lemon law, officially known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, applies to the purchase or lease of “consumer goods.” 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.”.
Just as the California Lemon Law doesn’t cover all cars, it similarly doesn’t cover all motorcycles. To be covered, a motorcycle owner must meet the following requirements:
If you are uncertain whether your motorcycle is covered by the lemon law, talk to a skilled and experienced lemon law attorney at Neale & Fhima. We can assess your situation and offer you guidance about the law.
Several different types of defects are covered by the motorcycle lemon law. To qualify, the mechanical or electrical flaw(s) in your motorcycle must significantly restrict the bike’s …
Your motorcycle must have “nonconformities,” which are defined as any defect or malfunction that is covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty. There are many defects that could affect the vehicle’s safety, but there is no requirement under the law that the defect actually endangers you.
Parts of a motorcycle that might be defective:
These are just a few potential defects. Many others could also qualify for lemon law protection. Before filing a claim, you must make a “reasonable number of attempts” to get your motorcycle repaired at a dealership. While the law is somewhat vague about how many attempts in total this might mean, the idea is that you make a good-faith effort to let a qualified mechanic try to fix the problem. Be sure to keep all your work orders, receipts, and spare parts from each repair appointment so you can prove that you tried to have the motorcycle fixed. The California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) provides many great tips and insights in its publication Lemon Law FAQs.
There are some cases when the California lemon law does not apply. These include:
As you can see, there are some cases when the lemon law may not apply. The best way to find out if you’re protected is to speak to a qualified motorcycle lemon law lawyer.
There were 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 double the number registered in 2002 (4.3 million), suggesting that motorcycling has become increasingly popular. California and Florida have the largest number of registered motorcycles by significant margins. There were 952,977 motorcycles registered in California in 2021. The average age of motorcycles in the U.S. was 13.1 years in 2021. Motorcycling by yourself or in a group is a great way to spend a weekend or a vacation.
The statute of limitations for filing a lemon law claim in California is four years from the date you knew or should have known that the motorcycle was a lemon. This does not mean that if you have had your motorcycle for more than 4 years, you cannot bring a lemon law claim. Our attorneys at Neale & Fhima have successfully “lemoned” motorcycles and vehicles that are more than 10 years old. If you have purchased or leased a lemon, you’ll want to start the buyback process as soon as possible. After the statute of limitations has passed, a judge may dismiss your case. Don’t hesitate to contact our team if you have questions about the statute of limitations. Collect copies of your repair bills, work orders, and receipts and call a skilled lemon law lawyer today.
An individual motorcycle owner or lessee is at a disadvantage when it comes to owning a lemon. Not only is the bike that you paid good money for defective, but the motorcycle manufacturer has an army of lawyers who are available to fight your claim. California’s lemon law tries to level the playing field in that regard. Under § 1794(d) of the law, if a motorcycle owner (or lessee) wins his or her California lemon law court claim, he or she is entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees, costs, and allowed expenses from the manufacturer. So, the manufacturer pays your legal fees in successful cases. This is in addition to the manufacturer repurchasing or replacing the defective motorcycle.
Additionally, the lemon law allows a motorcycle owner to recover a civil penalty of up to two times the actual damages if he or she can prove that the manufacturer willfully violated the California lemon law’s rules. This provision is important because it provides an incentive for the manufacturer to make a legitimate settlement offer to the owner of the bike. When a lemon law attorney at Neale & Fhima represents you, momentum is on your side.
A successful lemon law claim offers you different options when it comes time to select a form of compensation. Here are the two primary remedies:
The manufacturer will take possession of the vehicle and issue you a refund of the purchase price (reduced by the value of your use of the vehicle prior to the first repair attempt). If you financed the vehicle, the manufacturer will refund the payments and down payment, and it will pay off the loan. You will also receive a refund of registration fees, taxes, etc. There is an established repurchase formula.
The manufacturer will take possession of the vehicle and provide you with a new one. It must be an identical or substantially similar vehicle. The manufacturer will pay the registration and taxes on the new vehicle, but you will not receive a refund of fees or finance charges paid on the original vehicle. This option requires the consent of both parties.
In some circumstances, Neale & Fhima may be able to negotiate an additional option called a “cash and keep.” This would allow you to retain possession of the vehicle and receive a cash payment to compensate for the defect.
There are a lot of attorneys in California to choose from, 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 to find out more.
Consumers represented by attorneys often get a faster response and larger amount offered from manufacturers than do motorcycle owners going it alone in the courts. That’s because an attorney gives you negotiating power. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) acknowledges that hiring a skilled lemon law attorney can make a big difference when it comes to the financial amount a person might receive from a manufacturer. Hiring a skilled lawyer also reduces the time required of you because your attorney will handle all the paperwork and court filings on your behalf.
Does it seem like your motorcycle has spent as much time in the repair shop as it’s spent on the road? Have you joked that you were going to paint your bike yellow because it’s a lemon? If so, you may have recourse against the dealer or the manufacturer.
The motorcycle lemon law attorneys at Neale & Fhima are outstanding advocates, and they’ll aggressively seek the justice you deserve. With offices in Dana Point, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles, our firm provides excellent legal representation, and we’ll handle the lemon law claims process on your behalf. We have secured countless financial settlements for consumers throughout the state. We’ve also helped clients recover civil penalties against manufacturers who committed intentional malfeasance.
At Neale & Fhima, you’re not reduced to a file number. You are a valued and respected client who deserves the best legal representation possible. Call us for a free initial consultation at 888-407-2955. We’ll work hard to achieve the best outcome possible.