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California Lemon Law Blog

The fate of lemon cars

Many people wonder what happens to cars in California that are sent back to dealerships pursuant to the state's lemon laws. Unfortunately, the answer may be surprising to motorists.

Cars that are taken back to a dealership after being determined defective must be bought back by manufacturers. The lemon law only applies to new vehicles, not to vehicles that are bought from private sellers or from used car lots.

What lemon laws say about leased vehicles

California and most other U.S. states have lemon laws that are designed to protect car buyers from getting stuck with a faulty vehicle, whether it's new or used. Because leasing has become a popular method of acquiring cars for both personal and business use, many people may wonder if leased cars qualify under lemon laws. The answer to that is yes, but the requirements for manufacturers to compensate customers are different.

The term "lemon when used by most people can refer to any car that continually needs repairs. Legally, certain criteria must be met for a car to be considered a lemon and covered under lemon law, but the law does cover both used and new vehicles and includes cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and other types of vehicles. The specifics of lemon laws vary by state, but generally a vehicle is considered a lemon if it has a defect that cannot be repaired after a certain number of attempts.

Additions to the FTC Buyer's Guide for used cars

Used car buyers in California might want to know that the FTC has made changes to the Used Car Rule, which has been law since 1985. The rule requires that sellers of used cars post a Buyer's Guide for the vehicles they sell. The guide gives warranty information and other information to help used car buyers make informed purchasing decisions. The FTC, after getting input from the general public, added some things to the guide.

The additions include a statement that tells consumers to check for open recalls and get vehicle history information. Links to two government websites that explain how to get this information are included. The list of major defects in the guide has been amended to add airbags and catalytic converters. The guide now includes checkboxes to check off if service contract, third-party warrant or unexpired manufacturer's warranty are available.

Man wins $5,000 in lemon law case

A judge allowed a decision made by a California jury to stand in a case involving a vehicle won in a raffle. The man who received it claimed that it was a lemon and wanted to return to the dealer for its full cash value. Although the vehicle had a ticket price of $51,812.05, he was awarded $5,000 by the jury. This was because the man could not show that he paid that much for the vehicle.

The jury concluded that the plaintiff had paid roughly $5,000 in sales tax and registration fees. The jury did not know that the plaintiff had won the vehicle in a raffle. Instead, it relied on evidence submitted during trial to come to its conclusion. In her decision, the judge found that the verdict was lawful. She also found that the plaintiff's assertion that receiving the full ticket price for the vehicle as the only appropriate relief was flawed.

Signs a car has experienced water damage

It is estimated that up to 1 million vehicles were damaged in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. However, water damage may not be readily apparent when a person buys a vehicle. California residents and others looking to buy a used car should study a vehicle's history report prior to buying it. This report is generally required to indicate if it has a salvaged title or was otherwise damaged in a flood.

Anyone who is in the market for a used vehicle should always have it inspected prior to buying one. This is because a previous owner may sell the car before the title's status changes. It is also possible that a seller moves the car to another state where titling laws are less strict. While an individual may be willing to deal with the damage on their own, the water the car came into contact with could have been contaminated.

Lemon aware: A look at the 2018 car complaint index

The ads for model-year closeout sales on 2018 vehicles are showing up on television. This is the time when carmakers and dealers look to unload their remaining stock and make way for the next year's lineup.

Cost-sensitive consumers in California who have been biding their time on making a vehicle purchase might now be getting the itch to pull the trigger. Before that happens, it might be worth looking at a listing of the top 20 models of vehicles that have reportedly sparked the greatest number of complaints from drivers, as assembled by Jack Gillis, consumer advocate, and the Center for Auto Safety. The numbers show the number of complaints per sale of each model.

A lawsuit may be appropriate in cases of dealer fraud

California residents who buy a used car may have the ability to file a lawsuit if the vehicle is defective. The exact rights a person has depends on whether the car was bought at a dealer or from an individual and if there was a warranty on the vehicle. If there is a warranty on the vehicle that isn't honored, a car owner may be entitled to compensation for money spent on repairs.

It is important to note that a vehicle may be sold "as-is", which means that there is no implied or specific guarantee as to its condition. A lawsuit may also be effective if there is evidence of fraud or if a dealer failed to disclose issues related to a used car. Fraud may occur if the odometer is rolled back or if damage to the body or frame are deliberately disguised.

Buying back Lemon Law vehicles

The Lemon Law in California provides a number of protections for vehicle consumers. The law may be applied to cases in which the manufacturer of a defective vehicle is unable to correct the defect in the car after a few attempts. Individuals may use then Lemon Law to seek financial damages from the manufacturer. There are multiple ways the manufacturer can pay restitution if the individuals win their Lemon Law case.

One of the most common ways vehicle manufacturers provide compensation is by repurchasing, or buying back, the vehicle. The vehicle purchaser will be compensated for registration fees, the down payment, monthly payments as well as additional damages in some cases. After the manufacturer has repurchased the vehicle, it will register the vehicle under its name and note on the certificate that the vehicle was a Lemon Law buyback. The manufacturer may be able to claim a deduction for the miles that were accumulated in the vehicle before the initial attempt to repair it.

Large trucks could be given lemon law protection

If SB 713 passes in California, it will expand the states lemon law to include commercial trucks. It would apply to trucks that weigh more than 10,000 pounds and are owned and operated by a business of any size. The bill was proposed after complaints from the Western States Trucking Association (WSTA). It claimed that new trucks were down for too long because emissions equipment was malfunctioning.

Under the proposed law, the trucks would be covered for up to 18 months or 100,000 miles. To qualify as a lemon, the truck would need to be down for 30 days because of repairs of a dangerous defect that is covered by its warranty. It would also qualify if the manufacturer were notified of the issue and at least four attempts to rectify the matter. If the bill passes, California would be one of just two states that offers protection to large truck owners.

What to do if a car isn't working properly

Vehicles that are purchased from dealerships in California or any other state should function properly off the lot. However, those who have problems with their vehicles may find that speaking to the owner of the dealership where it was purchased will remedy the issue. If not, a customer can contact the manufacturer directly to resolve the issue or issues that he or she has with the vehicle.

In some cases, defective cars or other vehicles could be covered under the California lemon law. This may be true if the defects occurred within 18 months of taking delivery or in the first 18,000 miles that the car was driven. It may also be deemed a lemon if it spends 30 or more days being repaired for the same issue. Prior to making a claim under this law, the dealer or manufacturer needs to be given multiple attempts to fix the issue.

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