You’ve done it. You’ve finally taken the plunge and bought yourself a brand new (or new-to-you) motorcycle. You bring it home, excited to make it a part of your daily life, only for it to break down in the first few weeks you own it. Disappointing, but sometimes it happens, right?
So you get it repaired, only for it to break down again. And again. Something upsetting has become clear: your new pride and joy is actually a lemon. But what can you do about it? Does California law let you get your money back? Keep reading to learn whether motorcycles are covered under the Lemon Law and what you need to do if you’ve bought a clunker of a bike.
What’s Covered Under California’s Lemon Law
California’s “lemon law” never actually uses the word “lemon” anywhere in the bill. The legislation that allows you to recover money or have your car fixed is known by the much longer name: the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. The Act covers all sorts of consumer goods, not just vehicles. Still, it includes specific rules regarding vehicles because of their high cost and the risks to everyone on the road if they’re manufactured poorly.
The Act has specific requirements a vehicle must meet to be covered:
- The vehicle must have been purchased from a dealer or the manufacturer
- The vehicle must be covered under a warranty
- The vehicle must be registered for on-road use
There are a few other general requirements that apply to warrantied goods as a whole. For the Act to apply to an item, it must have been purchased in the state. The article also cannot have been tampered with or used unreasonably. This means that you can’t drive a vehicle meant for on-road use in drag races or on rough off-road terrain and remain eligible under the Act.
Why Motorcycles Count
Not every two-wheeled vehicle will count under the lemon law, but many will. As long as your motorcycle is registered under the Vehicle Code to operate on-road, it counts as a motor vehicle. That means it’s covered under the exact same laws as any other vehicle that’s been manufactured poorly.
However, it’s important to note that your case may be more difficult if you ride both on- and off-road. Motorcycles designed for on-road use may consider off-road use to void the warranty. Lemon claims for bikes that see both types of use, even if the bike is designed for both purposes, will be more complicated than those for strictly on-road machines.
What Makes a Motorcycle a Lemon?
So, is your ride considered a lemon? It depends on when problems occur. After all, no vehicle will be problem-free. Regular wear and tear will cause mechanical issues and necessary repairs in every vehicle. That’s why the Act has specific definitions for when a vehicle is actually considered a dud.
First, the vehicle must experience mechanical problems within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles of the vehicle’s delivery, whichever comes first. You also need to try to repair these problems within that period, or they don’t count.
Second, the problems must be covered under the warranty on the bike. Typically, your motorcycle will still be under the manufacturer’s warranty by the time it’s 18 months old, so that’s the warranty that matters.
Third, the problems need to be unfixable within a reasonable timeframe. In California, that consists of four failed attempts to fix the same non-lethal warranty problem, two failed attempts to resolve a potentially lethal warranty problem, or 30 cumulative days in the shop for warranty issues. If your motorcycle unfortunately fits all three of these criteria, then you may have a lemon on your hands, and you could be eligible for a refund.
How to Make Manufacturers Replace or Buy Back Your Lemon
If your bike is a lemon, you’ll need to be prepared to prove it. Manufacturers don’t want to replace, repair, or refund a vehicle that’s not actually defective, after all. If you’re trying to get the manufacturer to replace or buy back the motorcycle, you’ll have to show that it was actually a dud. That means proving:
You used the motorcycle appropriately. Neglect or misuse can cause problems with a vehicle, but those problems aren’t the manufacturer’s responsibility. You’ll need to prove that the issues weren’t caused by your own negligence.
You tried to fix it. You’ll need to have detailed records to prove your motorcycle is a dud. For example, you’ll need invoices and documents showing that you sought repairs as soon as you noticed a problem. You’ll also need to prove that your motorcycle had received a significant number of repairs, along with when those repairs took place.
The manufacturer didn’t comply with its warranties. Next, it’s time to reach out to the manufacturer to request that they repair the defects. They need to perform a “reasonable number” of attempts to fix the bike. If those attempts didn’t resolve the issue, the Act requires the manufacturer to go beyond repairs to make it right.
If you have records that you’ve taken the appropriate actions and the manufacturer can’t fix the bike, then California law requires them to either replace or refund your vehicle.
Make Your Lemon Into Lemonade with the Lemon Law Guys
A motorcycle is a big purchase, and it’s reasonable to expect that you’ll get a machine that’s trustworthy and reliable. If your bike seems to be in the shop more often than in your garage, then you may have a lemon on your hands. You deserve to have the manufacturer make it right by fixing or replacing the ride you spent so much money on. The Lemon Law Guys can help.
If you believe your motorcycle is a dud, get in touch today. You can discuss your case and learn whether your bike is eligible for lemon law buybacks or replacements. Get back on the road as soon as possible by getting the legal lemon help you need.