and updates on the
California Lemon Law
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California - Statute §1793.2 to 1793.4
- Vehicles Covered:
- All goods sold with warranties. Some provisions apply only to "new motor vehicles," which includes dealer-owned vehicles, demonstrators, and any other vehicle sold with original "new car" warranty, and excludes motorcycles, living portion of motor homes, and off-road vehicles.
- Persons Covered:
- Individual buyer or lessee, and any entity to which not more than five vehicles are registered in state.
- Use Covered:
- Vehicles used, bought, or leased for use primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, or primarily for business purposes if by an entity to which not more than five vehicles are registered in state.
- Defects Covered:
- Defect that substantially impairs use, value, or safety of vehicle to buyer or lessee.
- Period Covered:
- 18 months or 18,000 miles, whichever is first.
- Notice Requirement:
- Direct notice to manufacturer of need for repair, but only if manufacturer clearly and conspicuously disclosed provisions of lemon law, including requirement of notice. If no notice, no presumption of reasonable number of repair attempts.
- "Reasonable" Repair Guidelines:
- Within period covered, at least four repairs to same defect, or at least two repairs to same serious safety defect, or more than 30 calendar days out of service for repairs. Creates presumption if above notice given (or not required).
- Affirmative Defenses:
- Defect caused by unauthorized or unreasonable use of vehicle following sale or lease. Statute of limitations: four years from discovery that manufacturer cannot or will not repair vehicle, extended while using third-party dispute resolution process.
- Available Remedy:
- Replacement or restitution. Consumer may choose restitution.
- Refund Details:
- Full purchase price, including sales tax, license and registration fees; other incidental damages, including reasonable repair, towing, and rental car costs actually incurred. Deduction for use before first repair attempt.
- Other Remedies:
- Possible civil penalty up to twice actual damages for certain violations. Mandatory costs, expenses, and attorney's fees to consumer. No limit on other consumer remedies.
- If manufacturer maintains qualified third-party dispute resolution process and timely notifies consumer in writing of its operation and effect, consumer must use process before invoking presumption.
- Resale of Lemon:
- Disclosure required; title branded; one-year warranty.
Disclaimer: Please note that statutes may have been amended since the book was originally published in 2005.
Please consult your Secretary of State or local DMV office for the most recent and up to date statutes for the California Lemon Law.