The California Lemon Law, part of The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act,
applies to all consumer products purchased for personal use. Although
it is most often associated with defective vehicles, the Act provides
warranty protections to purchasers and lessees of both new and used consumer
goods. A consumer good is virtually any product purchased by an individual
for personal or household use, except clothing and consumables. It could
be anything from an electric toothbrush to a kitchen appliance.
There have been several calls for creating a computer lemon law, but in
fact the law covers computers, musical instruments and even medical devices
such as wheel chairs and hearing aids. The only requirement is that it
be primarily for personal or family use.
Consumers don’t expect manufacturers to produce defective products,
but this consumer protection law takes the opposite view –the more
expensive and complicated a product is, the more possibility there is
that something can go wrong.
Both consumer and manufacturer have rights and duties under this law –the
consumer has the duty to present the product to the manufacturer or its
representative dealer so that they can diagnose the defect and repair
it. Along with the duty, the consumer has a right to expect that the product
will be repaired honestly and expeditiously.
Manufacturers have the right to expect that the consumer will present their
defective vehicle at an authorized dealer for repair in a timely manner,
nothing more. The manufacturer can have no other expectation. They cannot
expect that the consumer perfectly describe the defect or any other limiting
Lemon Law makes allowances for the manufacturer to repair the product, or if that
fails, to refund the money or give the purchaser a replacement.
California Lemon Law Tips
• Your best defense against an uncooperative manufacturer is a thorough,
specific and accurate service-record paper trail. Document everything.
Obtain copies of all warranty repair orders from the dealer and keep notes
of your reported problems and all conversations you have with service
people, including the date, time and participants in these conversations.
• Determine whether your previous efforts to repair the problem satisfy
the requirements of your state's lemon law. Most state laws allow
the manufacturer three or four chances to repair the defect or defects.
• Put your complaint in writing. Send a letter to the manufacturer
and ask for either a refund or replacement.
• If you still don’t get satisfaction consider hiring an experienced
and effective lemon law attorney