Buying a car is a major investment, second only to buying a home. Before the emergence of the California Lemon Law, consumers felt they had little to no options for recourse if the car they purchased turned out to be a lemon.
A “lemon” is a vehicle that requires extensive repairs before the car guarantee period ends, or one that has major problems that could cause injuries or death if they’re not fixed. Car dealers try to pass these “lemons” off as safe, reliable vehicles, and don’t disclose the issues that could occur when driving the vehicle.
These “bad” dealers hope the issues won’t appear until after the car service contract period expires. This causes a multitude of safety concerns that the driver isn’t even aware of. California lemon law protects you by offering protection without your having to enter into costly court battles, during and after the car warranty period.
The original version, enacted in 1970, allowed for consumers to receive a new car or a refund if the car they purchased could not be fixed after a sensible number of attempts. The trouble with this first version of the Lemon Law was that customers and car dealers differed on the number of automobile warranty repairs they considered “reasonable”. Would you think taking your newly purchased car in for repairs 30 times within the car warranty period a reasonable number? Of course not, but unfortunately, many car dealers felt that was reasonable.
The most recent protections to customers provided under the Lemon Law allow consumers to obtain a refund or replacement vehicle if the vehicle needs repairs within the car guarantee period of 18 months or 18,000 miles. Also, if a new car is purchased that has mechanical defects that could cause injuries or death, Lemon Law automatically guarantees a refund or replacement vehicle if the car has not been successfully repaired in two attempts or less.
Lemon law helps give you peace of mind when making such a large investment, both financially and in regards to safety.
As Lemon Laws became more strict between the years 1996 and 2001, California consumers who purchased vehicles considered to be “lemons” received close to one billion dollars in relief under the the law. Furthermore, customers of California have a program that works side by side with the Lemon Law.
Do you suspect your newly bought vehicle is a lemon? Before rushing into a costly court battle, start with the California Arbitration Certification Program. If the manufacturer where you purchased the vehicle participates in the program, you can save time and expense by entering arbitration under the Lemon Law. The California Arbitration Certification Program helps customers like you receive fast and fair results.
California lemon law has become so successful and beneficial to customers that it is now the model for other states to create their own versions. In fact, in 1989 the Minnesota Attorney General wrote, “State new car lemon laws are the single most important advance in consumer protection in the last decade”.