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Understanding California Lemon Law

California lemon law was passed by our State Legislators and Governor in order to provide relief to consumers who purchase or lease problematic vehicles. The law provides for compensation to California consumers of defective automobile and trucks and other vehicle and products including motorcycles, RVs, boats, computers and other consumer appliances and products.

A car or consumer product is said to be a lemon if the same problem occurs three or more times in a row, over a small period of time within the warranty period.

Under the California lemon law, violation of that warranty occurs when a defect in the vehicle substantially impaired its use, value, or safety. You need to allow the manufacturer or dealership a reasonable number of attempts to fix the problems with your vehicle. You may still be a candidate for a lemon claim if the problems still persist. It allows a vehicle repurchase or a new vehicle replacement if you have had repeated repairs for the same problem during warranty, and your vehicle has just recently left the factory warranty.

The law requires any one who promises to repair a vehicle, to keep that agreement, or to repurchase or replace your vehicle if they don't. The law applies to any vehicle with a warranty, including used cars that come with a warranty from a dealership or seller.

The manufacturer is the party that is ultimately responsible for repurchase or replacement of lemon vehicle. The California lemon law also applies to a used vehicle if it was sold with a warranty including a portion of the original manufacturer's unexpired warranty.

There are many ways of receiving compensation and it is not necessary for the consumer to directly sue the manufacturer. There is a provision called the arbitration procedure. In this procedure, a company called the "better business bureau" auto line department assigns an arbitrator to listen to both sides of the story and decide upon the outcome of the case.

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