Lemon law in California

A customer has rights when he or she purchases a vehicle. The Song-Beverly Consumer warranty act which is the lemon law of California was enacted to give this protection to the buyer.

The lemon law of California applies to vehicles which auto dealerships have failed to repair within a warranty period despite being given a reasonable number of times to do so.

There is no specific number of visits to make such a claim but usually 4 visits will suffice. The law is also on your side if the vehicle has been in the shop for a total of more than 30 days for warranty repairs. But you have to know that everything is assessed on a case by case basis.

If your vehicle meets these conditions, the manufacturer must give your money back and pay off any outstanding loan balance or replace the vehicle with a similar model. The law also requires the manufacturer to pay the customer’s hourly attorney’s fees on a meritorious claim which is very convenient especially for those who cannot afford one.

You can even file for a claim if the problems of your vehicle did not occur within the unit’s first 18 months or 18,000 miles of use.

The California lemon law also applies to used and leased vehicles including boats, motorcycles and recreational vehicles which should be primarily for family, personal or household use. This also applies to business vehicles as long as the gross weight is not over 10,000 pounds and not more than 5 vehicles are registered in this state.

As the customer, you are not required to first arbitrate your case. However, if the manufacturer maintains a state certified arbitration program, you have to submit the warranty dispute to them first before you can go to court. Necessary information about arbitration must be described in the warranty or the owner’s manual but in most cases, this will just tell you to bring your vehicle back to the manufacturer for repairs.

If you are not satisfied with the way you were treated by the manufacturer, then it is time to go to court. The first step is to hire a lawyer and then fill out a questionnaire or interactive complaint form from the Californian Vehicle Warranty Rights Act Department.

You should write them the make and model of the vehicle, the year of manufacture, current mileage, name, address and contact details of the dealer, date of purchase together with the copy of the document, details of the warranty, the list of problems encountered, number of attempts to fix the vehicle and the number of days it was inside the shop.

Once this form is submitted and approved, you will be given another form that outlines the eligibility parameters. Your attorney should be able to process the paperwork like filing a claim under the California lemon law by drafting a letter to the manufacturer.

The letter will let the manufacturer know you are initiating what is known as a breach of express or implied warranty. A copy of this document must also be submitted to the Consumer Affairs Department and the Attorney General’s office.

The California lemon law should help you get a refund or maybe a new car. This can only happen with the proper documentation and an experienced attorney who will be able to make the courts decide in your favor.

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