What Isn't the Lemon Law Presumption?

Many people mistakenly believe that in order to qualify for the California lemon law your vehicle must be in the shop a pre-requisite number of times within a certain mileage period. This is simply not so. There is what is a called a “presumption” – e.g. in California if your vehicle has been in the shop 4 or more times within the first 18,000 miles for the same defect, or, 30 days in the shop within 18,000 miles, one is presumed to have a lemon.

The advantage gained is a technical one; instead of having the burden to prove your vehicle is a lemon, the burden shifts to the manufacturer to show you don’t. Otherwise the real test is and always has been, whether the manufacturer had a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle, and the defect is substantial. That means e.g. your first problem could start as late as 30,000 miles and so long as you give the manufacturer a reasonable opportunity to repair your defect, you may be entitled to a buyback.

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