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What Happens to Lemon Law Cars After They’re Returned?

» Posted January 18, 2019Resources | Share This Post

State lemon laws are designed to protect car buyers by forcing manufacturers to take responsibility for defects in their vehicles. Whether it’s a malfunctioning airbag, a transmission that stalls or seatbelts that just don’t ever seem to want to click, these laws force car makers to go the extra mile to fix defects that could impact the safety of anyone in the car. In California and other states, a manufacturer that can’t fix the problem while the car is still under warranty has to take it back.

So where do all those lemons go when they’re returned? Is there some graveyard where malfunctioning vehicles can rest in peace alongside defective toasters, televisions, boats and other defective consumer items? The answer might surprise you.

Many vehicles returned under state lemon laws are resold and may wind up back on the highway, Road & Track reports. In some states the cars aren’t even branded as lemons on their title and other documents, leaving potential buyers unaware of the car’s history.

Even in states that require manufacturers to identify cars that have been bought back because of maintenance problems it can be tough to sort them out. Car makers will often use vague descriptions like “Manufacturer Repurchase” instead of just saying the vehicle has been tagged a lemon.

How California’s Lemon Law Protects Car Buyers

The good news for anyone in California that’s stuck with a lemon—including one that’s previously been returned—is that you have some rights under the state lemon law.

The California lemon law is generally designed to force a manufacturer to repair the vehicle or take it back. Car makers are required to make certain attempts to fix defects while a vehicle is under warranty. If those efforts aren’t successful, the manufacturer has to either replace the car or reimburse the buyer. That includes covering the down payment and/or purchase prices and financing charges, as well as other expenses like car rentals, towing and repair costs. California’s lemon law also puts the car maker on the hook for related attorney fees and legal costs.

The law applies to both new and used cars, if repair attempts happen during the vehicle’s warranty period. The number of repair attempts required for the law to kick in depends on the situation.

How an Experienced Los Angeles Lemon Law Attorney Can Help You

If you’re a California car owner who’s stuck with a lemon, it’s important that you consult an experienced lawyer to consider your rights and options. The Los Angeles Lemon Law attorneys at the Bickel Law Firm have represented hundreds of clients in defective vehicle cases across the state.

We understand the significant stress that can come with haggling with car dealers and manufacturers. Our lawyers work aggressively to resolve these cases for the people that we represent. We do not charge upfront fees in most cases.

Our offices are conveniently located in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with an attorney.


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