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Lemon Laws for Used Cars

» Posted May 20, 2016Resources | Share This Post

In California, lemon laws apply to protect consumers and some businesses that purchase vehicles. Lemon laws ensure that when a car is defective, the driver won't face substantial uncompensated losses or be forced to repeatedly take the car in for repairs. 

Lemon laws provide protection not only to people who buy brand new cars but also, in many situations, to people who buy used cars. If you buy a used car and have continuous problems with the vehicle, you should contact an Orange County attorney who is familiar with the lemon law. Your attorney can provide you with assistance in understanding your rights and taking appropriate action to seek remedies.

When Do Lemon Laws Apply to Used Cars?

California's lemon laws apply not only to people who buy cars, but also to people who lease cars. In the majority of cases, the laws extend to used cars, as well as new cars. Lemon law should generally cover you if any one of the following is true:

  • The car was bought and used primarily for personal use, family use or household use.
  • The vehicle is used for business purposes but it has a gross weight below 10,000 pounds and is primarily used by and/or registered to a business that has five or fewer vehicles registered to it.
  • The car was sold to you with a written warranty.

The car has to be under some type of manufacturer's warranty in order for you to be protected by lemon law. California's lemon law provides protection that lasts the full period of any original and extended warranties offered by the vehicle manufacturers, including warranties offered on certified pre-owned cars. 

However, lemon laws do not apply to provide consumer protection if problems with the car are caused by abuse of the vehicle by the consumer or if the consumer didn't follow the required terms set forth in the warranty regarding maintenance and proper use.

The lemon law gives manufacturers and authorized dealers a certain number of repair attempts before requiring the manufacturer to buy back the car and/or compensate the owner. The specific number of repair attempts can vary depending upon the nature of the problem.

For example, for serious defects affecting safety such as failure of the brakes, only one to two repair attempts are allowed.  However, if the defect isn't likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, the manufacturer or authorized dealer gets up to four repair attempts before lemon laws can require compensation or buyback.

Knowing when lemon laws apply to used cars is important if you have purchased a used vehicle and are having a problem with the car. Sometimes, it can be difficult to make a lemon law claim and deal with car manufacturers.  Consumers who are having problems with a used car may wish to consult with an attorney to get help understanding their rights and making a claim under state lemon laws.

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Posted By: Danyel Jerald