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Lemon Law FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions about Lemon Law

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Answers from Our California Lemon Law Attorneys

Have you purchased or leased a vehicle that has defects? If so, you may have a lemon. 

You likely have a lot of questions during this difficult time and require reliable answers. At Norman Taylor & Associates, our California lemon law lawyers are dedicated to providing their clients with the information required to achieve a successful result.

Rather than walking blindly into your lemon law case, read through the answers to frequently asked questions below to develop a clear perspective of your legal situation

After you have gained all of the basic information, we encourage you to ask more specific questions about your case in our FREE case evaluation.

Don’t handle the situation yourself! Call us first at (888) 449-7639 to discuss your possible rights under California’s Lemon Law.

Does My Used Car Qualify Under California Lemon Law?

Yes.  Used cars can qualify as lemons under the California lemon law, as long as your vehicle came with a written warranty.  Used cars typically come with a warranty issued by a dealer.  With a recent case decided in the CA Appellate Courts, a manufacturer cannot be sued for repairs performed on the balance of a warranty that came with your used car.  However, there seems to be an exception carved out for Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, which is a newly issued warranty by the manufacturer. 

If your vehicle was sold “As Is,” then the lemon law will not apply. There are other laws that may apply to your situation, such as consumer fraud laws. If you are unsure whether your used car qualifies, speak with a member of our firm.

How Long Does the California Lemon Law Apply to My Vehicle?

The California lemon law applies for as long as the vehicle is covered by any warranty sold with the vehicle, and for some time thereafter. 

The warranty on your vehicle will, by law, be extended by as many days as your vehicle had been in the shop for warranty repairs.  

Your warranty can also be extended if a defect that existed and was repaired within the warranty period was not actually repaired, the warranty will not expire as that defect is concerned. 

How Many Times Must I Take My Car Back for Repairs Before It Is Considered a “Lemon”?

The manufacturer is allowed a “reasonable” number of attempts to repair the vehicle. In general, this is usually three or four repairs, though there isn’t an exact number specified by California’s lemon law. 

What a reasonable number of attempts is may vary depending on the seriousness of the particular problem. Other factors that might be significant, are the number of miles in between each repair attempt, the total number of miles, and how old the vehicle is.

What Action Should I Take if I Believe My Vehicle Has a Safety Defect? 

If you suspect that there is a safety problem or defect with your vehicle, it should be returned to the dealer as soon as possible. 

Make sure to receive a repair invoice reflecting the safety complaint. Armed with enough repairs, and a serious safety defect that is likely to cause serious bodily harm or death, your vehicle may indeed qualify as a lemon after two repair attempts. You may have a  legitimate claim for a refund or replacement vehicle. 

While there are common vehicle defects that typically lead to lemon law cases, it’s best to seek the help of a lemon law expert. 

You should contact our firm for sound legal guidance on such an issue.

If I Purchased My Vehicle in Another State, but Live in California, Which State’s Lemon Laws Apply? 

According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the California Lemon Laws only apply to vehicles sold or leased in the state of California. 

However, if you live in California but purchased your vehicle in another state, and the delivery of your vehicle happened in California, then California lemon law would apply.

If the delivery happened out of state, the law of the state where you made your purchase would apply.

Do All States in the U.S. Have Lemon Laws?

Every state has at least some version of a “lemon law” or auto warranty laws.  

All are designed to a greater or lesser degree to protect consumers against breach of warranty committed by manufacturers. In California, the lemon law and auto-specific warranty law are found in the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, which is part of the California Civil Code.

I Want to Purchase a Vehicle, but Was Told it’s a “lemon law buyback vehicle.” What Does This Mean?

Lemon law buyback vehicles are vehicles that were reacquired by the manufacturer due to a warranty defect.

A manufacturer is permitted to resell a lemon law buyback so long as they fulfill requirements set forth in law e.g. repair the defect(s) for which the vehicle was repurchased, and make a full disclosure to the subsequent buyer that the vehicle was a lemon law buyback and what was repaired.   

To know for sure whether a vehicle is a lemon law buyback, check the title and registration certificate. It should be listed there. Read more information on Lemon Law Buyback Vehicles.

What is the Better Business Bureau Auto Line?

The BBB Auto Line is a free program registered with the California Department of Consumer Affairs to perform arbitrations for consumers with grievances with auto manufacturers.  

Consumers with automobile warranty disputes can file with the BBB Auto Line as long as their vehicle’s manufacturer is one of the participating manufacturers. Currently, there are many manufacturers on the list. 

Resolving your case this way is different than going the lemon law route. Most consumers find that the BBB Auto Line is more of an obstacle than it is a remedy for their grievances.  It is a rare occurrence that a buyback or refund or replacement is ordered, when had the consumer taken the same facts to a qualified lemon law attorney, they could have achieved the buyback the consumer was entitled to.  Awards from the BBB Auto Line typically provide for “additional repairs”, something the consumer was already entitled to under their warranty.  

The BBB Auto Line is paid by the manufacturer who uses their services to have consumer grievances heard.  So you can just imagine how slanted in favor of the manufacturer that process is.

The net result for most who pursue this line of resolution is apathy.  After going through what is believed to be a true objective program, and lose, who wants to do more?  Usually only very determined people.  

What Damages May I Be Entitled to Receive Under the California Lemon Law?

You may be entitled to receive a replacement vehicle, a refund, or a cash settlement. 

In addition, you could also be compensated for registration fees, rental car expenses, and towing costs. You might also recover your insurance costs.  

As the consumer, you may elect to have a manufacturer buyback the vehicle instead of getting a replacement. In most cases, the manufacturer is entitled to a mileage offset for the value of the miles you drove the vehicle, prior to the first attempt to repair which defect is forcing the refund.

Do You Have Further Questions Regarding Your Possible Lemon Law Case?

You likely never expected to own a lemon. We can provide you with as much information as you need. 

We have assisted over 12,000 individuals in the past as they sought refunds and replacements. Take the time to get your questions answered by talking with our responsive staff.


Find out how the California lemon laws affect your case and what actions you can take in your specific situation.

Contact Norman Taylor & Associates, California Lemon Law Attorneys 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.