Lemon Laws and Your Warranty Rights

Federal and state laws regulate how warranties are given, the consumer's rights and manufacturer's obligations under a warranty, and the remedies available to a consumer when a warranty is breached.

Written Warranties (Express Warranties)

A warranty is a written promise that a product will be free of defects for a specified period of time, and that if defects arise, they will be repaired at no cost to the consumer. Warranties can be given by the manufacturer, distributor or retail seller of a product, but in all cases the rules for warranties are the same.

Sometimes a problem will require multiple repair attempts under warranty. But under the lemon law, if after a reasonable number of repairs there is still a substantial defect, the warrantor must either replace the product or offer a refund.

The lemon law applies to new and used cars, trucks, motorcycles, motor homes, travel trailers, boats, and other consumer goods, any time that a written warranty is given.

For each day that a product is under warranty repair, the warranty is extended by one day. And if the warranty is nearly over, but a problem still exists, the consumer may give notice within 60 days of any failed repair and retain warranty coverage until the problem is resolved.

If you have any questions about your rights under a warranty, or if you've had the same problem come back despite multiple repair attempts, call us to talk about your case.

Implied Warranties

California and federal laws also create implied warranties any time a product is sold at retail, unless it was sold "as is" or "with all faults."

The implied warranty of merchantability guarantees that the product will be fit for ordinary use. In the case of a motor vehicle, this means it must be in a safe condition and substantially free of defects.

Implied warranties may be in effect for up to one year after purchase or lease of a new product, or up to 90 days for used goods.

If a severe defect arises during that time, you may not have to allow any repair attempts at all. The law allows you to revoke acceptance of the product and demand a refund immediately. However, this demand must be made without delay. Contact us once you have become aware of the defect.

The implied warranty is breached by the existence of a defect, whether or not you discover that defect right away. This is an important protection for consumers, who may not know about a defect until later. The precedent for this rule was established in an appeal by René Korper, Mexia v. Rinker Boat Company , and has since been followed by state and federal courts as the prevailing law.

More Information

See our Frequently Asked Questions or contact our office to speak with an attorney.