Lemon Law 101

Lemon Law

What is Lemon Law?

State and federal lemon laws have been created to protect purchasers or leasers of a new motor vehicle (or other goods) from serious, defective mechanical and/or electrical problems or flaws associated with that vehicle. In general, the term “lemon” is associated with a faulty or imperfect automobile, truck, SUV, motorcycle, etc. Lemon laws are different in each state and may or may not cover used vehicles.

The California lemon law protects consumers of new, used, or leased vehicles covered by a warranty if there are defective malfunctions within the warranty period. Even if the vehicle is used, the lemon law still applies to the motor vehicle in question if the problems with the vehicle took place during the warranty.

As part of the lemon law, the manufacturer must try to service or repair the shortcomings of the vehicle. If after two or more repairs for a substantial safety problem or four or more repairs for a non-safety problem, and the vehicle is rendered unfixable, seriously impaired or the vehicle is unsafe to operate, then the consumer may be entitled to a new vehicle, replacement or refund of the vehicle by the manufacturer. Also, the lemon law may apply if the vehicle is inoperable and out of service, at a dealership for example, for a cumulative total of 30 days.

The consumer will usually have a choice of whether to accept a replacement vehicle or receive a refund of the purchase price. Regardless, the vehicle manufacturer must pay for all taxes incurred related to the vehicle, license and registration fees and other charges, such as rental car costs or repair charges that the consumer had acquired.

If you think your vehicle may be a “lemon” or if you have any questions about your vehicle, you should contact a lawyer who can best advise you of your legal rights and to see if your particular circumstance is a lemon law case. A good lemon law attorney can assist you significantly through the demanding and time-consuming process of contesting a vehicle manufacturer to receive what is lawfully yours.