The Magnuson-Moss Act is referred to as the federal “lemon law.” It protects consumers when they purchase a product, like a vehicle, that doesn’t perform as expected and has an unreasonable repair history.
Aside from the federal lemon law that protects consumers from defective products, California also has lemon laws. These laws are designed to protect consumers when they buy or lease a defective vehicle. If a car, truck, or SUV, is defective, a manufacturer must be given a chance to fix it or replace it. California allows a manufacturer to repair the problem. They must do so within a reasonable number of attempts. If they can’t, then the manufacturer must replace or refund the consumer’s money. In some circumstances, California also requires the manufacturer to pay for the consumer’s damages, like attorney fees and costs.
In California, if a lemon law claim is handled correctly, as the consumer can be entitled to:
- Repurchase of the defective vehicle. This includes a refund of money spent towards the car, minus the value of when it was properly functioning.
- Replacement of the defective car
- A cash settlement
- Payment of consumer’s reasonable attorney fees and costs
What is a Lemon?
California Lemon Law, under Civ. Code § 1793.22 protects consumers from a defective vehicle that can’t be fixed within a “reasonable” number of tries. There is no magic rule for what is considered “reasonable” and it will depend on the issue. However, California courts allow at least two attempts before a consumer moves forward with a lemon law case.
When the defect cannot be fixed, then the manufacturer has to replace or repurchase the vehicle — whichever the consumer prefers.
How Does California’s Lemon Law Protect You?
As consumers, we expect that when we purchase a product, it works as intended. When we buy a car, we expect it to be free from defects. The purpose of California’s Lemon Law is to hold manufacturers responsible for creating and selling defective automobiles. It also provides consumers with legal recourse against a manufacturer or dealer if they sell a faulty car.
While a legal right to sue exists, it doesn’t come without cost to the consumer. If you have purchased a defective car, a manufacturer can make a reasonable number of attempts to fix it. The number of attempts deemed reasonable depends on whether there is a safety issue. The consumer must also be ready to document the presence of the defect and the attempts taken to remedy the problem.
With the potential threat of suing a manufacturer or dealer, most lemon law claims will settle outside of court. A manufacturer will either offer a cash settlement or negotiate terms with the consumer to resolve the claim without the costly expense of court and lawyers.
Consult with an Experienced Lemon Law Attorney
An experienced lemon law attorney can present a strong case on your behalf, which often means that you can recover maximum compensation for your claim. Our attorneys at Conn Law, P.C., have the skill and knowledge necessary to help you document your case and assess your options for holding the manufacturer accountable. Call Conn Law, P.C. at 412-417-2780 or online today for your free consultation.