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Home For Your State What is the California lemon law?

What is the California lemon law?

The California lemon law is designed to prevent car salesmen from misrepresenting the vehicles they offer for sale. While the complete law is rather lengthy, it acts to protect consumers. Most cars are sold with an expressed warranty from the lot, but there are basic expectations held by the consumer, mainly that the vehicle will operate as promised by the dealer. By knowing his rights, the consumer can follow the proper procedures for dealing with the purchase of a car which falls under the California lemon law.

According to the California lemon law, a new car bought for personal use could be a lemon. The car must have a defect which the consumer has attempted within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles to repair without success. If  the same problem cannot be fixed twice if it could cause serious bodily harm or death, four times for any problem, or any repairs which keep the car out of service for 30 days, then the new car can be considered a lemon, and the consumer has the right to seek arbitration or a lawsuit.

A recent addition to the Bill of Rights for car buyers adds to the California lemon law. This law sets standards for "certified" used cars and allows pre-owned car buyers to opt for a cancellation clause which returns their full purchase price of the vehicle minus a pre-determined fee. The dealer must also divulge warranty information. The purchaser also has the right to know how his credit score is used to determine financing.

There are ways that consumers can help to protect themselves if they suspect that they have bought a "lemon" car. The California Department of Consumer Affairs recommends that consumers follow a series of steps to try to rectify the problem before resorting to arbitration or a law suit. The first step is to consult the warranty book, and then to attempt to talk to the dealer to reach an agreement. If the dealer does not want to talk, the manufacturer should be sent a certified letter. This will provide the consumer with a record of the appeal. The state's Department of Consumer Affairs suggests that repairs might have to be done through the manufacturer rather than the dealer. Qualifying for arbitration under the California lemon law requires that the defect is covered under the warranty, the manufacturer has already been contacted in writing and has an arbitration program available, and the repairs to the vehicle did not fix the problem which significantly devalues the car or undermines its safety.

The consumer must know his rights when it comes to the California lemon law. When the car purchased seems to be a lemon and arbitration does not seem to offer the consumer aide, then a qualified California lemon law attorney should be contacted to ensure that the consumer gets the proper legal help needed.