The lemon law provides California consumers with recourse against manufacturers of defective vehicles, but where many provisions of the lemon law can be debated among attorneys, one thing is necessary for a successful legal claim under this section of the law, a valid auto warranty. What many consumers have come to find out is that car repairs may take longer than they initially hoped and may extend past the end of their auto warranty. Fortunately, under the lemon law, a consumer’s auto warranty period is tolled when they take their defective vehicle in for car repairs.
Among the many rights provided to consumers by the lemon law, a buyer has the right to have their defective vehicle serviced during the warranty period. Every auto warranty period will be automatically tolled while the consumer’s vehicle is with the manufacturer, or its agent, for car repairs. Beginning with the date the consumer delivers the defective vehicle to the manufacturer for car repairs, or when the consumer notifies the manufacturer of the defect, the auto warranty period will stop. It will not start again until the date when the car repairs are complete and the vehicle is delivered back to the consumer or the date the consumer is notified that the car repairs have been completed.
Consumers can take comfort knowing that the auto warranty period will be extended for the number of whole days that the product is out of the consumer’s hands for car repairs and that the auto warranty period will not expire until the defect has been resolved. Consumers should be aware, however, that if the auto warranty repairs or service did not remedy the defect, the consumer must notify the manufacturer of the failed car repairs within the sixty days after the car repairs were completed.
The lemon law also provides that the warranty period is to be extended, or tolled, if the manufacturer, or its agent, has not performed the necessary repair attempts. However, if the manufacturer is available and willing to perform the necessary repairs, but the consumer is causing the delay, the warranty period will not be tolled and will remain intact. To effectively toll the warranty because of unperformed repair attempts, the circumstances causing the delay must be beyond the control of the consumer.
While California law requires manufacturers to provide consumers with notice of this protection afforded under the lemon law, it is still possible that the consumers may remain unaware of their rights. Therefore, it is important for consumers who believe that they have a defective vehicle, and a potentially valid legal claim under the lemon law, to consult with an experienced attorney who can accurately advise them of their legal rights and help them obtain the relief they deserve.