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California Lemon Law


A car is one of the biggest purchases most consumers make. The realization that the car is defective is both disheartening and infuriating. Thankfully, California has strong laws on the books to protect consumers from lemon cars.

New cars: Yes
Used cars: Yes
RVs: Yes
Business vehicles: Yes
Motorcycles: Yes
Leased vehicles: Yes
Lemon law period: 18 months/18,000 miles

What is a Lemon Car Under Arkansas Lemon Law??

California Lemon Law covers a variety of new motor vehicles, including:

  • A new vehicle bought or used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes
  • A new vehicle with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) under 10,000 pounds bought or primarily used for business purposes (provided the owner or business has no more than five vehicles registered in California)
  • The chassis, chassis cab, and propulsion portions of a motor home
  • A dealer-owned vehicle, a demonstrator, or a used vehicle sold with a manufacturer’s new car warranty
  • Leased vehicles
  • Motorcycles that are registered under the Vehicle Code

California’s Lemon Law presumes that a vehicle is a lemon if the vehicle:

  • Does not conform to the manufacturer’s express warranty
  • Has substantial defects affecting the use, safety, or value of the vehicle
  • Has manufacturer’s defects that occurred during the first 18 months from the original owner’s delivery date or the first 18,000 miles on the odometer (whichever period ends first) unless your vehicle is covered by a longer warranty; if you have a longer warranty, Lemon Law protects you for the entire warranty period
  • Has been taken in four times for the same problem or if it has been out of service for 30 days due to a series of unrelated problems; or if the problem is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, the vehicle has been taken in two times for repair
  • The manufacturer has been notified of the need for repair if the manufacturer requires it

The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, the Tanner Consumer Protection Act, and the Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights provide California car buyers with legal protections.

Getting Lemon Justice: California Lemon Law Relief

California Lemon Law provides several options for a successful Lemon Law claimant. First, you may be awarded a replacement vehicle of the same year, make, and model. You may also qualify for a monetary award, which can include:

  • The full contract price
  • Sales tax
  • Registration fees
  • Finance charges paid on your loan
  • Towing and vehicle rental costs
  • Incidental costs
  • Attorney’s fees

The amount of the monetary reward may be reduced by a deduction for the total mileage on the vehicle. This amount is calculated by dividing the miles drive at the time of the first repair attempt by 120,000, and multiplying by the purchase price.

Pursuing a CA Lemon Law Claim

Under California Lemon Law, if the manufacturer of your vehicle participates in a state-certified arbitration program, you must request arbitration in order to seek relief (although you can accept or reject the arbitrator’s decision). If the manufacturer doesn’t participate in a state-certified arbitration program, you must still notify the manufacturer of the problem if your owner’s manual states that notification is required. Although it’s not required by law, the demand letter should be sent by certified mail, with a return receipt requested. Here’s a sample demand letter that you can adapt for your use.

How We Can Help

Wherever you are in the lemon law claim process, we’re happy to help. Whether you need help gathering the material documenting your lemon, submitting the final demand letter, negotiating a settlement, or suing the automaker, Lemberg Law will be at your side every step of the way.

Helping consumers is what we do. We’ve helped more than 12,000 people recover more than $35 million. You can read more about us here.

Remember that vehicle manufacturers have teams of lawyers that do nothing but fight lemon law claims. Lemon laws try to level playing field by forcing automakers to pay the consumer’s attorney fees in successful lemon law claims. That’s why our representation won’t cost you a dime.

There’s a limited window of opportunity for filing a lemon law claim. If you suspect you have a California lemon, give us a call today. We understand your frustration, and will do our best to deliver the justice you deserve.

Call Us. We’ll explain. 877-79-LEMON