What exactly is a “Lemon” when you’re talking about vehicles?
A Lemon is a vehicle that with continuous defects which impair its use. Any defects may also affect the safety and the value of it.
What are the requirements for it to be considered a “Lemon”?
This can vary depending on the state in which you reside. In California, there must be four or more repairs of the vehicle to remedy the same defect. This must be within the warranty period, and only applies is the defect was not fixed satisfactorily.
How do I know if my car is a Lemon?
There are many things that you may think qualify your vehicle to be considered a Lemon. If it is a minimal or cosmetic issue that annoys you or that you do not like for some reason, but there is no potential harm or loss of function of the car, it is not a Lemon. If your brakes are repeatedly not working, you cannot gain speed, or it will not go in reverse, then there is a good chance that it is a Lemon.
Does a used car qualify?
No, the vehicle must be a new one that you buy or lease.
Does my car qualify if I drive it for commercial use?
This is a bit tricky. You can file a claim under the Lemon Law if the vehicle is under 10,000 pounds and your business has less than five cars registered to it.
Are motor homes included?
In some instances, a drive train part of the motor home may be covered under the Lemon Law. This varies based on what state you are in.
What other laws are in place to protect me when purchasing a vehicle?
You have rights before and after you drive off of the lot with your new or used vehicle. Any dealer must make you aware of the fact if a vehicle you plan on buying is a Lemon Law Buyback, for instance. The Truth in Lending, Equal Credit Opportunities, Electronic Fund Transfers, and Fair Credit Reporting laws are meant to provide protection and remedies to the consumer in the case of defective vehicles.
What do I do if I believe I have a Lemon?
The best bet is to keep records of any and all repairs that you have to get done on your vehicle. Read the manufacturer’s warranty and user’s manual so that you can follow the instructions for how you should contact the manufacturer in the event of defects. Anything that has not been caused by abuse after the car was delivered to you should be documented and used when filing your claim.
What are some other things I should remember to do if I think my car is a Lemon?
Keep track of the readings on your odometer regularly, especially at the time of leaving it at the shop for repairs. Obtain copies of Warranty Repair Orders, and document if the dealer refuses to give you a copy. You must have sufficient documentation to prove that you have made several repair attempts for the same defect, so take down notes, keep receipts, and be sure that any and all complaints are recorded properly.
Is there a statute of limitations in California for the Lemon Law?
Yes, the statute of limitations is four (4) years from the date of the breach. You have to file your claim before this time window expires.
Should I speak to a lawyer?
Make sure that you personally are aware of the laws. However, if you are in doubt or have questions, feel free to contact a law firm or lawyer to gain clarification.
How can a lawyer help?
A lawyer who specializes in the area of the Lemon Law can help you out a great deal with your legal issue concerning your car. First, he or she will give you a consultation to get the basic details. Your attorney will determine if you have a case and what the best course of action is from that point. Time is of utmost importance, and he or she will handle everything professionally and keep you notified so that you understand every step of the process.