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So What Do You Know About California Lemon Laws?

Aug 17, 2007
It's a fact that Lemon Laws vary from state to state. Each state offers its own form of protection for those who buy vehicles, and it's up to consumers to know the laws of the land where they choose to live. California Lemon Law details are pretty encompassing, but there are some things about the laws buyers in this state need to know before they sign for a purchase.

In general, the California Lemon Law covers most of the basics. But, to make sure you understand Lemon Laws before making a new or used vehicle purchase, let's take a look at some of the top questions surrounding the Lemon Laws here:

What does the law give claimants if they're successful?
In California, buyers of vehicles that are defective can receive a refund or a replacement of the faulty vehicle. Also included are registration fees, rental costs and even towing charges. Typically, the choice of a refund or replacement is given to the consumer, not the carmaker.

Does a used car have protection under California Lemon Law?
Yes, the Lemon Law protects the buyers of used vehicles if there was a written warranty included at the time of purchase. Cars that are purchased with 'as-is' clauses do not qualify for protection under it.

Can a person who leases a vehicle find protection under California Lemon Law?
Absolutely! Every leased vehicle that's covered by a warranty is also covered.

What about other types of vehicles, such as RVs and motorcycles? Are they covered by California Lemon Law?
You bet! As long as they have warranties, they're covered by the law. This even includes boats.

Does the California Lemon Law have a set limit on protection?
Yes and no. It remains in effect as long as a vehicle is under warranty, and can even extend out longer. If the first repair takes place while a vehicle is under warranty, the vehicle can come out of warranty and still be protected under the law.

Under California Lemon Laws, do owners need to submit to a manufacturer's repair process?
No, unlike many other states, California doesn't require consumers to go through the hoops of a manufacturer's arbitration program. This is good news for consumers in California.

Does the California Lemon Law have a magic number of repair attempts before a claim can be made?
No. It is actually a bit vague in this regard. All it states is that a reasonable number of attempts must be made. The four-time rule seems to be a good one to follow here for the exact same problem.

Do the repairs need to be for the same thing under California Lemon Laws for a vehicle to be considered a lemon?
Not always. This is taken on a case-by-case basis in California. Often, the law is based on the total number of days a vehicle spends in repair shops.

Does a vehicle need to be taken back to the dealer where it was purchased from to qualify?
No. Repairs can be made at any authorized dealer.

The California Lemon Law is a little more liberal than some other states' laws, but it still pays to understand it well before making a purchase. The more a buyer knows, the less likely he or she is to walk away from coverage that's there to protect them. Make sure you receive a detailed outline of the California Lemon Law before buying your vehicle.
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