It is safe to assume that buying a new vehicle represents a major purchase for most people. To avoid getting stuck with a lemon (defective car), consumers turn to reputable dealers who offer a new vehicle warranty upon purchase.
Unfortunately, buying from a respected dealership does not guarantee that your purchase is defect-free. Even brand-new cars bought right off the lot can have one or more potentially dangerous defects. Victims in California have specific legal rights if they end up with a lemon.
Basic lemon law rules
Your situation must meet certain conditions before it qualifies for a remedy under state lemon laws. For example, the defect must be significant enough to affect the value, use or safety of the automobile. Other basic rules include the following:
- You must have a (written) manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty to make a claim.
- You must seek your lemon law remedy within 18 months or 18,000 miles from the date of purchase, whichever comes first.
- You must have made a reasonable number of attempts (usually, four) to have the car repaired through the auto dealer or manufacturer.
Remember, these are merely the most basic lemon law rules. It could be more complicated depending on your situation.
Available consumer remedies
If the dealership or manufacturer has not successfully repaired the defect after a reasonable number of attempts, you typically have two choices. You can seek a refund of the purchase price from the dealer/manufacturer. You can have the vehicle replaced by the manufacturer.
Continue expanding your knowledge of California lemon laws if you bought a defective vehicle. In many situations, legal advocacy ensures the smooth flow of your defective vehicle claim.