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Manufacturer vs. Dealership: Who Is Responsible under California’s Lemon Law?

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  September 11, 2023

A vehicle is one of the biggest purchases you can make, so you expect it to work and get fair value for what you pay. However, if your car turns out to be a lemon after driving it off the lot, you may wonder whether the manufacturer or dealer is responsible for fixing it. Here’s what California consumers need to know.


What Is the California Lemon Law?

The California Lemon Law, formally known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, was enacted in 1970 to protect consumers who buy or lease defective vehicles. The law applies to various consumer products, including cars, and provides consumers with legal recourse when they find themselves dealing with a lemon.


Who’s Responsible: Manufacturer or Dealership?

In most cases, the manufacturer is the party responsible for handling lemon law cases.

Manufacturers are legally obligated to produce and deliver vehicles free from defects. If a car has a significant defect that cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer must either replace the vehicle or refund the purchase price.

Under the California Lemon Law, a vehicle is considered a lemon if it meets one of the following criteria:

  • The manufacturer has made two or more unsuccessful attempts to repair a serious issue.
  • There have been four or more unsuccessful attempts to fix any warranty problem.
  • The vehicle has been out of service for a cumulative total of 30 or more days due to warranty repairs.
  • The vehicle’s defects significantly impair its use, value, or safety.

It’s important to note that the repairs must be attempted by the manufacturer or its authorized agents. If a private party attempts the repairs and fails, it may not qualify as a lemon law case.


Dealership’s Role

While the manufacturer is primarily responsible for addressing lemon law cases, dealerships also play a role in the process. Dealerships act as intermediaries between the consumer and the manufacturer, facilitating the repair or replacement process.

When a consumer experiences issues with their vehicle, they should first contact the dealership from which they purchased or leased it. The dealership will then work with the manufacturer to address the problem and ensure necessary repairs are made.


Contact Our Experienced California Lemon Lawyers Today!

Dealing with a lemon car can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience. Fortunately, having a knowledgeable lemon law attorney by your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

Norman Taylor & Associates is a trusted California lemon law firm. With our expertise and dedication, we can help you seek the resolution you deserve. Call 818-244-3905 or contact us today for a FREE consultation!

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.


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