With the downturn in the economy, many consumers stopped buying new cars and began focusing their purchases on used cars instead. While there are many things to consider when buying a used car, consumers should make sure that they carefully review the title to cars they purchase to check for signs that a used car may have previously been involved in litigation under the lemon law. Fortunately, the lemon law clearly defines and outlines the requirements manufacturers and their agents must take to adequately advise consumers as to the vehicle’s history and, if the consumer takes a few moments to review the title to cars that they purchase, they should have access to this important information.

Many consumers may not be aware that manufacturers and their agents are able to resell vehicles that have been repurchased from an original consumer by the manufacturer because of a vehicle defect and that have been involved in litigation under the lemon law. When a vehicle has been repurchased and is being resold as a used car, the vehicle is referred to as the lemon law buyback and this information must be provided to each potential buyer of the lemon law buyback.

Upon the return of a defective vehicle, the manufacturer must take certain steps to make sure new consumers are informed of the used car’s current status as well as the car’s previous history. First, the manufacturer must transfer the title to cars repurchased under the lemon law back into the manufacturer’s name and include certain language on the title to cars in this condition. The manufacturer must clearly inscribe the title to cars with the words, “lemon law buyback” and affix a decal to the used car advising potential consumers of the vehicle’s history with the lemon law.

In addition to noting the title to cars, the lemon law also requires manufacturers to provide consumers with written notice that the vehicle being sold, leased or transferred was previously classified as a lemon law buyback. The written notice must specify the year, make, model and vehicle identification number of the defective vehicle and must also note whether the used car title includes the inscription that the vehicle has been classified as a lemon law buyback. The manufacturer must also provide consumers with written notice of the nature of any and all defects that were reported by the original buyer or lessee of the vehicle and must advise the consumer as to the repairs, if any, that were made in an attempt to fix the vehicle defects.

When buying a used car, consumers should make sure that they are aware of the specific legal obligations manufacturers are required to comply with and check the title to cars before they finalize the deal. Because this section of California law can be detailed and complex, it could be beneficial for potential buyers to consult with an experienced lemon law attorney to advise them on the ramifications of their buyback purchase.

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