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Does California Lemon Law Apply to Private Sales?

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  December 5, 2018

Understanding how California’s Lemon Laws work can be confusing — and all too often consumers find themselves in a disagreement between warranty and service guarantees. While California Lemon Law does not apply to private sales, the best way to protect yourself from purchasing a lemon is to stay educated. Here are some things you should know.

Lemon Law Basics

There are two Sections of the CA Civil Code that can give you a good reason to file a Lemon Law suit. Each section protects the consumer so that they are able to purchase a product of good quality and have repairs of manufacturing defects within the allowable limits. Here’show each one works:

The Tanner Consumer Protection Act
The Tanner Consumer Protection Act holds a product manufacturer or its authorized dealer responsible for maintaining a determined standard. After a reasonable number of failed attempts, the part or merchandise is replaced (sometimes with a newer model).

The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act
The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act applies to consumer goods sold in the state of California enforcing implied (intended purpose), written or express (oral) warranties. Sellers are obligated to repurchase, replace or buyback if the repairs fail to restore the merchandise according to its warranty.

Consumer Rights

Although California Lemon Law does not apply to private sales, there are still protections in place for consumers when purchasing new motor vehicles via retail. Here are some things consumers should be aware of:

  • The transaction needs to include the transfer of the manufacturer’s warranty. Product and warranty acts require manufacturers and sellers to provide a warranty with the sale of a product.
  • Only authorized agents can make repairs according to the warranty. If the repair fails to restore the product most warranties specify the manufacturer’s promise to buy back or replace it with an equal or better version.
  • Not all defects qualify for product warranties. Aftermarket parts or accessories installed can affect the warranty. If the purchase does not come with a written warranty, it is still covered by the implied warranty unless you and the seller have agreed to an “as is” provision.

Lemon Law Declarations

Here’s something most consumers may not realize — as part of the Consumer Protection Act, the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act covers implied and written warranties and contains a cost-shifting provision. In the event of a dispute, the manufacturer may be obligated to pay for consumer costs involved with constant repairs, including legal fees.

Be sure to keep all of the transaction documents, repair receipts, and communications to increase your chances of an agreeable outcome. Depending on your situation, defects compromising the safety of the vehicle or increasing the potential for injury are considered lemon factors.

If your vehicle has required frequent repairs or been unusable during the warranty period, it may be a lemon. California’s Lemon Law can get your car repaired or replaced if the vehicle problems continue. Consulting with an experienced consumer law attorney is essential. We can help. Contact Norman Taylor & Associates to learn more about how we can give you the legal assistance you deserve. Our team of experienced California lemon lawyers is here to answer all your questions and concerns. A California Lemon Law lawyer can help make a difference by clarifying your consumer rights connected to the written and oral (expressed) promises of the seller.

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