If you have purchased or leased a car in California and end up in the repair shop for repeated problems, the California lemon laws may help you get your money back. Many of us seek the best bargains when it comes to purchasing consumer goods to meet our everyday needs. Unfortunately, some of these products are defective and fail in a very short period of time. Over 150,000 vehicles sold every year in California are lemons. If you feel that your vehicle is a lemon, do not give up! You have rights! In California and in most other U.S. states, consumer protection laws provide remedies for those of us who have purchased or leased consumer products that fail to perform. In California, these are the California Lemon Laws.
The Lemon Law Basics
California Lemon Laws Provide Protection to Consumers for Defective Products
The California Lemon Laws provides protection for consumer goods that are purchased or leased for personal, family or household use. The California lemon laws apply to most consumer goods, except for clothes and consumable goods, such as fruits, vegetables, cosmetics, and over-the-counter drugs. In California, if a manufacturer cannot repair a consumer good after a reasonable number of repair attempts, then it must either replace or refund the consumer’s money for the defective product.
What Do the California Lemon Laws Do?
The California lemon laws mandate that the manufacturer of consumer goods:
- provide adequate repair facilities in California so that the consumer can access the necessary facilities without difficulty
- ensure that repairs to the defective goods do not take more than 30 days
- only be allowed a certain number of repair attempts to fix the defective product
- offer the consumer a replacement or a refund minus any trouble-free use value
- pay for the consumers’ reasonable attorneys fees and costs
California’s vehicle lemon laws protect consumers who have purchased or leased warranted new and used motor vehicles. If a manufacturer or seller of a warranted vehicle is unable to repair the vehicle in a reasonable number of repair attempts, then it must repurchase or replace the vehicle, pay for the consumer’s incidental and consequential damages and pay for the consumer’s attorneys fees and costs. What amounts to a reasonable number of attempts varies and depends on the seriousness of the defect. Generally, safety-related defects will require fewer repair attempts than those defects that are not safety-related.
Our Rights As Consumers
We as consumers are often unsure of our rights when it comes to the purchasing of defective goods. Some of us may be so uncertain that we simply throw the product away and buy a replacement at our own cost and blame ourselves for not choosing well in the first place. The California Lemon Laws are here to protect us from defective products and provide us with monetary compensation.
The California lemon laws provide the following types of remedies to lemon vehicle owners:
- Repurchase of the defective car (refund of all monies spent towards the car minus the trouble-free use value); or
- Replacement of the defective car; or
- Cash settlement; and
- Payment of the consumer’s reasonable attorneys fees and costs
If you or any member of your family, have purchased or leased a defective vehicle or other consumer product and the seller or manufacturer is not prepared to cooperate when it comes to offering a refund or replacement, then you should be contacting a “California Lemon Laws” attorney, who will evaluate your situation and provide you with a comprehensive evaluation of your claim. Do not get discouraged if your consumer good fails to conform to your expectations. Rather, make sure to protect your rights and receive the proper remedies that you are entitled to under California’s lemon laws.