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California Lemon Law Handbook

(frequently asked questions)

1.) Does the Lemon Law apply to used vehicles?
Yes. The Lemon Law will apply to a used vehicle if the vehicle's problems are covered by a warranty.

2.) Must I go through arbitration in order to pursue a Lemon Law claim in court?
No. The Lemon Law does not require a consumer to utilize an arbitration program offered by the manufacturer in order to pursue a Lemon Law claim.

3.) Do I need to notify the manufacturer and give it a chance to repair a problem prior too pursuing a Lemon Law claim in court?
No. As long as the manufacturer's authorized repair facility has had a reasonable number of opportunities to repair a warranty problem, the manufacturer need not be given notice or a chance to repair the problem.

4.) Does the Lemon Law apply to vehicles that are older than 18 Months?
Yes. As long as the vehicle is having warranty problems, the Lemon Law will apply no matter how old the vehicle is. The Lemon Law may apply to a vehicle even if its warranty has expired so long as the vehicle continues to have problems complained about during the warranty period.

5.) Does the Lemon Law apply to vehicles that have more then 18,000 miles?
Yes. As long as the vehicle is having warranty problems, the Lemon Law will apply no matter how many miles are on the vehicle.

6.) Is there any particular number of repair attempts that must be given in order to have a valid Lemon Law claim?
No. There must be a reasonable number of repair attempts on the vehicle. What constitutes a reasonable number of attempts varies given the particular problem(s). Generally, however, if a problem has been subject to at least four repair attempts, or has spent more than 30 days in the shop, that is enough to establish a reasonable number.

7.) Does the Lemon Law only apply to passenger cars?
No!. The Lemon Law applies to all consumer goods that are covered by a warranty and are used for personal, family, or household purposes. Therefore, the Lemon Law applies to: motorcycles, motor homes, jet skis, boats, SUV's, trucks, vans, and other motor driven consumer goods.

8.) Does the "Lemon Law" apply to minor defects, or only significant defects?
The Song-Beverly Act applies to defects which constitute a substantial impairment to the use, value or safety of the vehicle to the owner or lessee. Thus, minor inconveniences (static in the radio, for instance) normally do not make a lemon law claim. Serious problems with brakes, transmission, engine function, SRS (airbag) system, inoperable air conditioning, persistent water leaking, oil leaks, to name a few, are examples of lemon law impairment to use, value, or safety of vehicle. There are other federal laws that further expand on what is considered to be a "defect" that constitutes replacement of purchase price or a refund of monies spent.

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