Does California’s Lemon Law Apply to Business Vehicles?

Knowledgeable California Business Vehicle Lemon Law Lawyer

lemon business vehicleMany Californians know that if they buy a new or used vehicle that is defective even after repeated attempts at repair, they are covered by California’s Lemon Law. But business owners who purchase vehicles to use in conjunction with their operations are often unsure whether state or federal laws cover their business vehicles. In this post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about California law and business-owned vehicles, and answer some common questions about the laws and business vehicles, including:
  • Does the California law cover business vehicles?
  • What counts as a business vehicle?
  • What if I am just leasing the business vehicle?
  • Are there any exceptions to the law?
  • Do I need to speak with a Lemon Law lawyer?

When Business Vehicles & Company Cars Are Covered By CA Law

Generally, California’s law only applies to vehicles that are used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. However, Section 1793.22(e)(2) of the California Civil Code also covers many vehicles used for business purposes.

Just as with vehicles purchased by families or individuals, California’s law provides protection for businesses who lease or buy a new motor vehicle within the state of California with an express written warranty. If the vehicle experiences problems covered under the express written warranty and those problems have not been fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts, it is likely the consumer will receive compensation under the law.

Any legal entity may purchase a new motor vehicle for business purposes, including:

  • A person.
  • A partnership.
  • A limited Liability Company (LLC).
  • An association.
  • A corporation.
  • An organization.  

However, California’s law does place two specific restrictions on declaring business vehicles as lemons:

  • The vehicle in consideration must weigh less than 10,000 pounds (keep in mind that a large truck or SUV weighs around 6,000 pounds). Understand that this number refers to the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of the motor vehicle (the actual weight of the empty car) and not the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (the weight of the car filled with passengers and/or cargo.
  • The business that has bought the lemon may not have more than five business registered to them in order to take advantage of California’s law. Specifically, the business entity may not have more than five cars or truck registered under its name. This law is in place to ensure that only small businesses may benefit from the laws, and not large corporations.

Other Lemon Law Restrictions for Vehicles in California

The same restrictions that apply to new motor vehicles purchased for personal use also apply to those purchased for business use. Here’s a quick rundown of the biggest ones:
  • Aftermarket parts, such as those found in van conversions, are not usually covered by a vehicle’s warranty and are not covered by California law.
  • The law does not apply to motor vehicles that are not registered under the California Vehicle Code because they are considered off-road vehicles, such as four-wheelers or dirt bikes.  
  • Vehicles that have been abused by the consumer will not be covered under California’s law, as well as vehicles that have not been properly maintained by their owner.
  • New motor vehicles that are purchased without an express written warranty, will not be covered under the state lemon laws. The law applies only to disputes over the express written warranty provided with the vehicle at the time of purchase.
  • The law will also not apply to equipment or defects not specifically covered under the manufacturer’s express warranty. Read your warranty carefully at the time that your business purchases the vehicle.

A judge or arbitrator hearing the case will make the final determination as to whether a business vehicle will be covered under California’s Lemon Law. The judge or arbitrator must still determine whether the vehicle has a material defect that substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle and that the material defect is one that is covered under the express written warrant.

What Should You Do If Your Business Bought A Lemon?

If you are wasting time and money on trying to fix a defective vehicle, you may wish to look into California Lemon Laws and whether you can take legal action against the manufacturer of your company’s car or truck. Here’s how you can get started:
  • Read your vehicle’s warranty. Specifically, make sure that your vehicle is still under warranty and that the defect is covered by the warranty. Remember that aftermarket customizations and parts are not covered by most warranties.
  • Collect evidence and information. Be sure to get ahold of your vehicle’s maintenance records and repair records. These can help prove that your car is a lemon and that you did not misuse or abuse your car.
  • Review Lemon Law restrictions. Does your company own more than five vehicles? How much does the vehicle in question weigh? Does your vehicle have a warranty?
  • Be safe. If your vehicle is not functioning correctly, do not drive it and do not have employees of your company drive it. If one of your employees is injured in an accident that involves a vehicle that you knew was defective, you may find yourself on the wrong side of a lawsuit.
  • Know your rights. Review California’s Lemon Law on our website and familiarize yourself with your rights as a consumer in this state.
  • Act quickly.  The more time passes, the less likely it is that you will have a successful case. In addition, if you wait, you will spend more time with a defective vehicle, which could hurt your ability to conduct business.
  • Talk to a California Lemon Law Attorney. An attorney can help answer all of your questions about these laws and then assist you through the legal process as necessary.

Discuss Your Potential Lemon Law Case With An Experienced California Attorney

The best way to fully understand your California lemon case is to speak with an attorney who is familiar with the laws and who has experience handling these legal matters. With over 30 years of experience with these cases, Doug D. Law and his team are here to help you, from answering legal questions about your vehicle to making certain that you are treated fairly under state and federal law.

When you or your business makes the significant purchase of a motor vehicle, you deserve to receive a car or truck that functions as promised and that is not a threat to your safety or your ability to do business. The California law is in place to protect you, the consumer, from dishonest manufacturers and defective vehicles. We are here to ensure that your voice is heard and that the correct legal outcome is reached.

We offer California residents free, private consultations to discuss the law as well as your specific case. Contact us today to determine if your vehicle purchase for your business is covered under the California law and if you need to pursue justice.

What Our Clients Say

Rating:

"Doug and Kristen were invaluable in getting GM to repurchase my Corvette due to the driveline defects in the car that Chevrolet could not fix after 9 visits. GM and the Chevy dealerships in La Mesa and Mission Valley were not helpful, giving me absurd excuses, runarounds and one time ultimately refusing to write the defects up after demonstrating them to one of their technicians. In short, I highly recommend them to handle any lemon law case you may have."

- Anonymous

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