The California lemon law is the common name of the Song–Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. It is a law that has been put in place to protect consumers who have purchased consumer items with a warranty.
The basic essence of the lemon law is that if a consumer has purchased an item, and it cannot conform to its warranty, then a purchaser has the option of seeking legal recourse for repurchase or replacement of the item.
While there are a wide variety of items covered by the lemon law in California, it is most commonly used in the case of automobiles. However, it should be noted that if you have any consumer product with a warranty, then you have the advantage of protection under the lemon law.
Even though the lemon law is fairly complex in nature and usually requires a lemon law attorney to determine it, you still need to know when you can seek this type of advice. The following highlights of the lemon law help to explain as to when you need to find a lemon law lawyer to resolve a situation.
Some Consumer Goods Covered
As mentioned above, the California lemon law covers various consumer goods and items. Some of these items are appliances, motorcycles, motor homes, trailers, electronic products, and boats.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the California lemon law is usually sought out by a consumer with respect to new and used automobiles. This is reasonable, because automobiles are among the most expensive items purchased, apart from your home.
Special Cases for Automobiles
It is important to point out that automobiles in the state of California can be under the auspices of the lemon law regardless of whether they are used for personal or business purposes.
One limitation is that if an automobile is being used only for business purposes, then the lemon law would only apply if the user has less than five vehicles registered under its name in California.
The Need for a Clear Warranty
The California lemon law only applies to an automobile if it carries a clear warranty provided by the manufacturer. This warranty could be described as a guarantee from the manufacturer that the product will operate to its full and determined potential.
However, this warranty must originate from the automobile manufacturer and not a party representative. For example, service contracts are not regarded as an adequate reason for the California lemon law to be applied to an automobile in question.
Possible Remedies within the Lemon Law
If you can take advantage of the California lemon law with the help of a competent lemon law attorney; there could be a variety of reasons revealed for your automobile not conforming to the warranty.
The first is that the automobile must be repaired by the manufacturer within 30 days, and only a reasonable number of repair attempts are allowed. However, if this is not possible or the situation is not applicable, then the manufacturer is required by law to replace the vehicle with a new one, or repurchase it from the consumer at the original price.
However, there are exceptions to this rule! One instance is that the consumer has the option to give the manufacturer more than the specified 30 days to repair the automobile, provided such permission is in writing. Care should be taken when considering entering into this form of agreement with the dealer.
If any delays in the affected repairs are as the result of a situation or condition beyond the control of the manufacturer, then this creates another exception. Therefore, obtain explicit details for the reason(s) of the delays, for example; the exact part that is causing the delay.
Essentially, the California lemon law is a mechanism for use by consumers as a protection against flawed products. However, it is a complex mechanism and a consumer will gain from professional legal representation, such as a lemon law attorney.
The following is a list of some common conditions that must be met for the California lemon law to apply to a consumer or an automobile.
Conditions that Must Be Met for the Lemon Law to be Applied
When you contract a lemon law attorney, the first thing they should perform is an evaluation as to whether the California lemon law is applicable to your situation! An assessment should be made regarding whether your particular situation meets fully, the required conditions of the California lemon law and that there is not an applicable exception.
The lemon lawyer’s assessment will provide a general idea of whether a lemon law claim would be successful. Listed below are some of these conditions:
1. The warranty must be genuine and applicable as per the lemon law. This means that it should be provided by the manufacturer and applied to the various problems in the automobile.
2. There must a reasonable number of attempts by the manufacturer to repair the automobile’s problems. “Reasonable number of attempts” is a term that has different interpretations. This would depend on nature of the problem.
Usually, fewer attempts are considered reasonable for safety related problems, while more repair attempts for non-safety related problems can be required. For instance, should your automobile have a brake problem, two attempts to repair it would be considered as reasonable. However, if the radio fails to work, you may need up to four attempts.
3. There is another way to determine a reasonable number of attempts to repair non-safety issues. This focuses on the number of days that the automobile has been out of service by reason of warranty repairs. This means that the longer the automobile has been out of service, the easier it will be for your lemon law attorney to establish a reasonable number of attempts.
The prime objective of the California lemon law is to protect the consumer from flawed automobiles and other consumer goods. However, protection cannot be provided unless you seek help to utilize it. Even if you have a solid case under the California lemon law, if you choose not to seek help from a qualified and experienced California lemon law attorney, then you could suffer the unfortunate consequences of not being compensated under this consumer protection law.
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