The California Lemon Law protects consumers who have purchased or leased a defective vehicle. When a manufacturer cannot repair a vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts, and the defect is substantial, then you are eligible for a buyback. In a buyback, the manufacturer can do one of two things: (1) It can offer a replacement or (2) buy the vehicle back. As the consumer, you have the freedom to choose which option works best for you. However, before deciding, it’s important to dispel some myths about the lemon law buyback option.
1. Buyback Options and Leased Cars
This one’s true. Buybacks and leased cars can co-exist. The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act in California doesn’t only apply to newly purchased vehicles. It also applies to leased vehicles. That means that if you leased a car, you might potentially be entitled to a buyback option. The car must meet the other necessary requirements to qualify under the lemon law. The vehicle must be under the manufacturer’s warranty and contain a substantial defect that cannot be repaired. Usually, the manufacturer is entitled to at least four repair attempts unless the deficiency can cause death or severe injury.
2. Buyback Options and Used Cars
This can also be true, but it depends on some factors. A used car has the potential of qualifying under California’s lemon laws if it is covered by the original manufacturer warranty, a dealer warranty, or any other express warranty. Of course, the rest of the lemon law criteria must be met – such as a substantial defect and unrepairable after a reasonable number of tries. Once a used car falls under the state’s lemon laws, it is treated as a new lemon vehicle, essentially allowing a buyback option.
3. A Lemon Law Buyback is a Lengthy Process
This one is true, but also false. Sometimes, a strong claim can take a shorter amount of time. However, even when a manufacturer recognizes the validity of a claim, they may still try to underpay the consumer. That leads to more negotiations and communications that can prolong the process.
4. Buybacks and Incidentals
True, buybacks cover incidentals. When a manufacturer repurchases the defective vehicle, they must pay you the entire amount paid or payable for the automobile minus mileage. Money spent on a down payment is refundable. Monthly payments made towards the remaining loan value are also included in the refund. The buyback amount also reimburses transportation fees and charges paid at the time of purchase — registration and license fees, taxes, and other official fees related to the vehicle usually qualify.
Compensation doesn’t end there. Incidental damages must be reimbursed. Those are costs incurred as a direct result of the vehicle’s defect and repairs. They can include repair expenses, towing fees, and even rental car charges. However, a manufacturer can deduct a usage fee.
An Advocate You Can Trust
Lemon law and buyback options aren’t straightforward. Plus, even with a solid case, a manufacturer may try to delay reimbursement. They may claim that some factual assertions about the car are not correct. They may disagree with their obligation under the law in the hopes that the consumer may accept a lesser amount. Our experienced attorneys at Conn Law, P.C. can guide you through the complexities of filing a lawsuit. Contact us today at 412-417-2780 or online for a free consultation.