If you’re a used car owner and are wondering if the used vehicle you purchased is protected under the statutes of the California Lemon Law, you’ll be happy to know that the Law does in fact cover used, “pre-owned”, and refurbished vehicles, so long as these vehicles still have an active warranty from the manufacturer or dealer. When it comes to used cars, however, the Lemon Laws are not as specific in their guidelines as they are when it comes to new vehicles. The following brief overview of California used car Lemon Law should help you figure out whether or not your used vehicle is covered by the Law and how best to proceed if you think you have a case.
Types of Used Vehicles Covered
Under CA Lemon Law, used car owners who purchased vehicles primarily for “personal, family, or household” purposes are entitled to protection against faulty manufacturing. The Law also covers used vehicles purchased for commercial purposes, so long as said vehicles have a gross weight that’s below 10,000 pounds, and so long as the business has only 5 or fewer vehicles registered under its name. The term “vehicles” includes cars, trucks, RV trailers, SUVs, and watercraft of any kind.
As mentioned, used vehicles must have a still-active warranty in order to qualify for protection under the California Lemon Law. This warranty, however, does not have to be the original manufacturer warranty. A used car dealership’s express written warranty will suffice to qualify a used vehicle purchase for consumer protection. Lemon vehicles that have been repurchased as buybacks by the manufacturer and resold with new express written warranties covering the defect may also be covered under the guidelines of the CA Lemon Laws.
The Law’s Used Car Guidelines are Less Specific
Some specific Lemon Law guidelines that apply to new vehicle purchases are left unspecified when it comes to used car purchases. As a result, Lemon Law cases involving used cars can be a little more complicated and may be harder for consumers to make. To give an example, if a manufacturer is unable to fix a sold vehicle’s problem within a reasonable number of repair attempts, the manufacturer must provide the buyer with a replacement vehicle or with a full refund of the purchase minus an amount that can be attributed to the consumer’s use of the vehicle before the defect was discovered. In the case of new vehicle purchases, the Law provides a formula for calculating this charge. With used vehicle purchases, however, such a formula is not provided, and so it is left up to the contending parties to negotiate an appropriate amount.
The Importance of Consulting with a CA Lemon Law Attorney
Because the Lemon Law is much less specific when it comes to used vehicle purchases, the California Department of Justice recommends that used car owners seeking to pursue a Lemon Law case consult with an Lemon Law attorney. A qualified Lemon Lawyer can better provide you with complete advice concerning your rights.