Manufacturer vs. Dealership; Who is Responsible Under Lemon Law?

A vehicle is one of the biggest purchases you can make, so you expect it to work and to get fair value for what you pay for. However, if your vehicle turns out to be a lemon after driving it off the lot, you may wonder whether the manufacturer or the dealership is responsible for fixing it. Here's what consumers need to know:

Common Misconceptions about Who Is Responsible Under California Lemon Laws

Many people assume that they are left with little to no options when they buy a vehicle that turns out to be a lemon. Consumers can rest assured that there are protections in place under California lemon law. A manufacturer has an implied warranty of suitability when they make a vehicle — leaving them the responsible party should the vehicle fall under the guidelines of a lemon. If the manufacturer produces a vehicle that's faulty, they must replace the vehicle or refund the purchase price.

California's Lemon Law and the Role of the Warranty

Lemon law requires all vehicle manufacturers to extend an implied warranty with a new vehicle purchase. If the vehicle has faults, the manufacturer must repair the vehicle after any of the following:

  • Two or more attempts to repair a serious issue

  • Four or more attempts to fix any warranty problem

  • A problem that places the vehicle out of service for 30 or more days

  • Problems that reduce vehicle use, value or safety

The manufacturer may require the vehicle owner to notify them about the vehicle problems. All manufacturers must offer a warranty that covers these guarantees and protections. In addition, a warranty may contain extra protections.

It's critical to review the manufacturer warranty for specific protections and for how to give notice of defects. When you review the manufacturer warranty, it's important to remember that the manufacturer must offer at least the minimum protections required by California law.

Consumer Rights Under California Lemon Law

A consumer has the right to the replacement of the defective vehicle or a refund of the purchase price as well as a prompt resolution of their claim. In addition, if a vehicle defect causes an accident, any victim involved may have the right to additional compensation under California products liability laws.

Is your vehicle a lemon? Our California lemon law attorneys at Norman Taylor & Associates can help. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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