Lemon Law FAQ’s | Commonly asked Lemon Law Questions and Answers

What is a Warranty?

A warranty is a guarantee, issued to the purchaser of a vehicle by its manufacturer, promising to repair or replace it if necessary within a specified period. Depending on the manufacturer, the warranty can be anywhere from one month to 10 years.  Most, if not all new cars come with both a basic bumper to bumper warranty as well an extended power train warranty.  You must know your warranty and be sure to take every complaint or issue to the attention of the dealership during the warranty period so they can document it.

Also, during the first year, if the vehicle was not substantially free from defects, we may have a claim under the implied warranty, which has no mileage offset.  This is why it is important to talk to a lawyer before negotiating these terms yourself.

What are the Lemon Laws?

Lemon laws are American state and federal consumer protection laws that provide a remedy for purchasers of cars and other consumer goods in order to compensate for products that repeatedly fail to meet standards of quality and performance. The laws provide that when a manufacturer cannot repair a vehicle or other consumer good after a reasonable number of repair attempts and the defect is substantial, it must either replace or repurchase the product.

Do I Still Have a Lemon Law Claim if My Vehicle is Out of Warranty?

It Depends.  If the first repair attempt for the problem or defect occurred during the warranty period, the vehicle may qualify for a refund or replacement if other requirements are met.  One of those requirements is that you notify the manufacturer within 60 days of the last repair attempt that the defect was not fixed.

Do Motorcycles, Boats, Motor Homes, RV’s, and Other Consumer Vehicles Qualify Under California’s Lemon Laws?

Yes. All of these types of vehicles qualify for protection under California’s lemon laws as long as they were purchased or leased for personal, family or household purposes in the state of California.  If they were purchased outside of California, you may still have a claim under the Federal Magnuson-Moss Act.  Your lawyer will know.

Do Vehicles Purchased Outside of California Qualify Under California’s Lemon Laws?

No, but there is hope.  California’s lemon law explicitly excludes from coverage automobiles that were not purchased at retail in California. However, the federal lemon law known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act covers all automobiles purchased anywhere in the united states.  It requires that warrantors either repair defective products within a reasonable number of attempts or offer to buy them back. Like state lemon laws, it also allows prevailing consumers to recover their attorneys’ fees and costs from losing manufacturers.

How Long Does the Lemon Law Process Take?

99% of cases settle prior to litigation. Typically, these cases settle in the first 30-90 days. Having said that, there is legal strategy required to maximize your potential for recovery, so it is important that you discuss your case with an experienced lemon law attorney as soon as possible.

Do I Need an Attorney if the Manufacturer Has Agreed to Repurchase My Vehicle?

No, but it is highly recommended.  The buyback process involves legal negotiations including a Release, which is a binding contract, that could have legal pitfalls.  An attorney will make sure your rights are properly protected.  The manufacturer has attorneys protecting their rights; you are entitled to the same protection.  Since having your own attorney is free to you, why wouldn’t you protect yourself?