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What is the California Lemon Law?

The Song-Beverly Warranty Act, more commonly known as the California Lemon Law, applies to automobile manufacturers who sell their cars to consumers in the State of California.

When a new car is sold or leased in the State of California, it is covered by an express warranty. If the manufacturer or an authorized dealer is unable to adequately repair a faulty vehicle and make it conform to the applicable express warranties, the manufacturer or dealer is then responsible for either replacing the lemon with a comparable vehicle or repurchasing the vehicle from the consumer. For a more detailed explanation of the California Civil Code, please click here.

Are there qualifications which must be met in order to be covered under this law?

Yes, the following are the general requirements for a California Lemon Law claim:

  1. The vehicle must still be covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty. The California Lemon Law applies to new as well as used vehicles that are covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty. Vehicles that are under extended service contracts are not eligible for California Lemon Law claims.
  2. Contrary to popular belief, there is no set number of repair attempts required. Automobile manufacturers are obligated to repair defects and are allowed a “reasonable” opportunity to do so. What qualifies as a “reasonable” number of attempts depends on the nature of the defect.The exact number of repair attempts allowed is determined by a number of factors, particularly the seriousness of the defect. For example, one of two repair attempts may be considered reasonable for serious safety defects such as brake failure or faulty airbags. For more minor defects, the manufacturer or authorized dealer may be allowed more attempts to resolve the issue.
  3. Another myth that is commonly perpetuated by automobile manufacturers and their agents is the 18 months or 18,000 miles rule. Depending on the nature of the defect, a vehicle may qualify for reparations under the California Lemon Law even if the repairs are made well after 18 months or the 18,000 miles.
  4. The situation with the warranted vehicle must not be a trivial one such as a perpetually broken cup holder. It must be substantial enough to impair use of the vehicle or pose a significant safety risk to the occupants of the vehicle and/or lower the value of the vehicle.

If you have purchased or leased a vehicle that is still under its manufacturer’s original warranty and are experiencing recurring defects, then you may be driving a lemon and could be eligible for damages under the California Lemon Law.

Substantial Nonconformity

Before you consider filing a lemon law claim, it is important to possess at least a basic understanding of the California Lemon Law. One important term to know is “nonconformity”. According to Section 1793.22 of the California Civil Code, a “nonconformity” refers to a defect, malfunction or failure to conform to the written warranty in a manner that “substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the new motor vehicle to the buyer or lessee.”

Please note: the California Lemon Law DOES NOT apply to vehicle problems that are caused by unauthorized or unreasonable use of the vehicle after it has been sold.

I believe that I qualify. What do I do next?

Simply fill out our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will use the information provided to determine if you have a legitimate claim under the California Lemon Law.

If you would prefer to contact us via telephone, a representative will be more than happy to field your call. Please contact us at our toll-free number: 866-668-9158