WHAT IS CALIFORNIA LEMON LAW?
This law prohibits car dealers from unreasonably withholding or delaying the delivery or return of a used vehicle. What does this mean for you? If you buy a used car, and the dealership delays in delivering it to you after your purchase, then the dealership has violated California lemon law. This is your last legal option when trying to get your money back on a defective car. A California lemon law protects consumers who buy cars from car dealerships. There is one law that covers all vehicles sold in California, making it mandatory for all auto manufacturers to comply with its guidelines.
WHO ALL ARE COVERED UNDER CALIFORNIA LEMON LAW?
The California Lemon Law covers all consumers who have purchased or leased a car in California. The law applies to new and used vehicles and to all auto dealers, including independent dealerships, franchised dealerships, and car manufacturers. If you bought your vehicle from a used car dealership, the dealership may be held liable as well under California lemon law.
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AS A CONSUMER UNDER THIS LAW?
This law gives you several rights when buying any type of vehicle including cars, trucks, boats, and RVs. These are:
1. The right to return a vehicle within the first 30 days after purchase (after the first 15 days you must pay a restocking fee equal to 10% of your purchase price).
2. The right to a reasonable amount of repairs done by the dealer at no cost to you.
3. The right to have the car inspected, repaired, and properly registered.
4. The right to a refund of your purchase price if the vehicle is not in compliance with California Lemon Law guidelines as outlined below:
a. If 30 days or more after you buy your vehicle, it has more than a 50-percent chance of breaking down within the next twelve months, then you must return it to the dealer and get your money back.
b. If 30 days or more after you buy your vehicle, it has a 30-percent chance of breaking down within the next twelve months and two attempts at repair have been made to fix the problem, then you must return it to the dealer and get your money back.
c. If 30 days or more after you buy your vehicle and one attempt at repair has been made to fix a problem that has resulted in an unsatisfactory repair, then you must return it to the dealer and get your money back.
d. The above must also occur during your state’s warranty period for that particular vehicle (usually 12 months).
HOW DOES CALIFORNIA LEMON LAW HELP CONSUMERS SEEK REMEDY?
This law makes it easier for consumers to seek remedy when they face a problem with their car. You no longer have to go through the time-consuming and complicated process of filing a lawsuit. What do you need to do if your vehicle is not in compliance with California Lemon Law?
You must send a written notice to the dealer and the manufacturer (the notice must include the information listed below- it is also referred to as a demand letter). The manufacturer has 15 days from the date they receive your letter to decide if they want to look into your complaint. If they reject your claim, then you have 30 days from the date of their refusal to file a lawsuit. To help strengthen your case, keep all records of complaints and all documents about attempts made for repair. Automotive repair lawyers can help you with this process. If the manufacturer accepts your claim, they have 30 days from the date of acceptance of your claim to complete any repairs. They must notify you as soon as possible and give you a reasonable amount of time to repair the car. Automotive repair lawyers can also help with this process as well. You are also allowed to consult with a private attorney with regard to your complaint. If you choose to do so, the dealer and manufacturer must be notified of your intention. If you choose not to pursue legal action against the dealer or manufacturer, then you must submit a written release to both the dealer and the manufacturer (the notice must include the information listed below- it is also referred to as a release letter).
The California Lemon Law is intended to protect consumers from major manufacturers that may try to bury defective cars making them unreachable for consumers under warranty. The results of this law are positive in that it goes after those companies that try to hide defective vehicles from customers in order for them not to have to pay for the repair work. Car owners know the value of their vehicles which is why dealerships are not eager about returning defective cars back into circulation.
In conclusion, if you have purchased a vehicle from a car dealership and it has less than 30 days of the trial period remaining, then start by sending a demand letter to both the dealer and the manufacturer. This will help speed up the process. Keep track of all correspondence between you, your dealer, and the manufacturer. Write down all attempts made at repair so that you can show them they were not reasonable. You will need to make your case in writing as well in order to strengthen your case and collect evidence. If you do not feel comfortable filing a claim on your own, then file a claim through an attorney who is experienced in California Lemon Law.
Law Offices of Sotera L. Anderson will help you in filing a claim under California Lemon Law. Sotera Anderson is the founder of Law Offices of Sotera L. Anderson which handles cases involving law, including car insurance, accident and injury, lemon law, and other legal matters. Law Offices of Sotera L. Anderson offers various other help apart from California lemon law.
Biswajit Rakshit is a professional blogger and writer. He loves to write on various topics.