If you have a new or used car with persistent repair problems and it is still under the manufacturer’s original warranty, you can usually file a Lemon Law claim in California. If the claim is valid, the manufacturer is required to either repurchase the vehicle or provide you with a replacement.
But what if the car is new or used and/or has problems and the vehicle is out of warranty? & Most people would assume they are out of luck. But there are some cases where you still may be able to benefit from California’s Lemon Law.
Lemon Law Examples
Manufacturers must repair your new or used vehicle if it is still under warranty. But if your car is no longer under warranty, AND the defect was found before the warranty ended, you may still have a California Lemon Law claim.
Also, unless the vehicle was sold “as is,” the vehicle came with what is called an implied warranty of merchantability. This guarantees that the vehicle was purchased in safe condition and ‘substantially free’ of defects. If the dealer sold you a vehicle that is unsafe and/or has serious mechanical problems, it may have breached this warranty. This could be pursued as a possible Lemon Law claim.
If either of these situations apply to you, contact Neale & Fhima today for a free Lemon Law consultation.
Types of Used Vehicles Covered by California Lemon Law
In California, the following types of used vehicles qualify under the Lemon Law:
- Used vehicles that were bought for personal or family use
- Used company vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds
- Used vehicles with a written warranty
- Used Lemon Law vehicles that were rebought by the manufacturer and resold with a warranty covered the specific defects.
Tips for Dealing With a Lemon Vehicle
If you have a used vehicle with a warranty and it has persistent problems, it is possible the warranty could run out before the car is repaired. In that case, you will want to take some steps to ensure you have legal options available when the warranty expires:
- Be certain that written reports detail the problems properly. Verify on every dealer repair order that the defect is clearly defined, and review the form carefully before you sign it. Have the service writer revise the paperwork if the problem is not detailed enough.
- Duplicate the problem with the mechanic. If the mechanic cannot duplicate the problem on your car, have the mechanic or manager accompany you on a test drive. If you can get the problem duplicated, check that it is accurately reported in the work order.
- Remember everyone you work with. Write down the names of all mechanics and managers who help you.
- Get copies of paperwork. Obtain copies of receipts, invoices, work orders, contracts, etc. Never rely upon the dealership for this critical information. You may need the documents for a post-warranty Lemon Law claim.
- Inquire about Technical Service Bulletins. Ask the service writer if there are any for your vehicle problem. If so, check that a note is made in the paperwork.
The bottom line is you may have options under California’s Lemon Law if you have problems with your vehicle after the warranty has expired, or if a used vehicle not sold as is had problems from the start. Talk to an experienced southern California attorney for more information.
Neale & Fhima Lemon Law Attorneys Can Help
If you have a vehicle with major repair problems but whose warranty has expired, you may still be able to file a Lemon Law claim in some circumstances. Neale & Fhima is pleased to serve southern California clients who have a Lemon Law claim. If you require legal advice about a possible lemon vehicle, please call 949-661-1007 for a no-charge consultation.