Does Lemon Law Apply to RVs?
Norman Taylor & Associates
March 19, 2021
You just bought your used recreational vehicle (or ‘’RV”), and you’re excited about the adventure ahead. You’ve been planning this road trip for a while. A few days before the trip, there’s a problem with one of the hoses. No big deal. You get it fixed, and on the way home, there’s a battery problem. Over the next few days, different parts keep breaking down, and it becomes clear – you’ve bought a lemon.
Now what? This RV isn’t a regular car. Can you rely on lemon laws to protect you?
Vehicles that were defective upon purchase are called “lemons.” No one is clear on where we got the term, but one thing is sure: when you buy a lemon, you feel cheated. Most vehicles sold in California are subject to lemon laws, including RVs.
California law defines an RV as a vehicle “designed for human habitation for recreational, emergency, or other occupancy.”
“Human habitation,” as defined by the state, is when a vehicle is used as a dwelling. So, recreational vehicles have habitation in mind. They may have a bed, a toilet, a kitchen area, etc.
State law leaves this definition intentionally broad as a catch-all to include any vehicle that meets this standard, but it does name specific vehicles as RVs.
California classifies the following as RVs:
- Motor homes
- Travel trailers
- Trailer coaches
- Truck campers
- Camping trailers
- Park trailers
Common RV Problems
As unique vehicles, RVs have their own set of problems. RV lemons can have the same defective parts as any other vehicle, such as engines, breaks, etc. However, with their added layers of moving parts, there are far more things to worry about.
Recreational vehicles can have problems with their water lines. With its own plumbing, RVs have water going to and from multiple areas, and a lemon can have broken or malfunctioning channels. Plumbing issues are especially troublesome when they affect the bathroom.
RVs also have a particular electrical system. Appliances and lights are being powered, and like plumbing pipes, that means a whole a whole network of new wires and switches. When those are bad, the parts of the RV that are designed for living are going to go dormant. Bad electrical systems can also take a toll on a recreational vehicle’s battery life.
Leaks are a problem when they happen to any vehicle. They can become especially problematic in an RV. Imagine rainwater dripping onto a bed or a dining area. Water can also be a hazard to all of the internal workings of an RV, too.
Get Help With Your RV Lemon Case
According to California law, eligible vehicles that are still under manufacturer warranty are subject to lemon laws. This means that if you bought an old RV off your neighbor, it will unlikely qualify for protection under lemon laws. However, private sellers are still expected to be honest about what they’re selling.
These laws mean that if you buy a recreational vehicle new, it is under lemon laws. Even if you buy it used, as long as there is time left on a manufacturer’s warranty, it can be brought back to the seller as a lemon.
Dealers must either buy the RV back or replace it, depending on what you want. When a dealer wants to sell a lemon they repurchased, they must identify it with a “lemon sticker,” keeping consumers informed of the vehicle’s condition.
If you’ve been sold a lemon, reach out to us for a free consultation. We want to help make sure the seller who mislead you doesn’t try to do it again. Contact us online, or call (888) 449-7639 today.