When determining who is considered as a consumer under the California Lemon Law, many may believe that a consumer is an individual person. While this belief can be correct, in addition to the individual person, the lemon law also includes a variety of other entities, associations and organizations. For an accurate response to this important question, all potential consumers who believe that they may have purchased a materially defective vehicle should consult with an experienced and educated lemon law attorney for advice on whether they are entitled to relief under the law.

The California Legislature drafted the lemon law to provide relief to consumers who have purchased or leased materially defective products. This section of the law specifically defines a consumer as an individual who buys or leases a new motor vehicle from a person who is engaged in the business of manufacturing, distributing, selling or leasing new motor vehicles at retail. Although the statute specifically describes the product to be purchased or leased as a new motor vehicle, any product that has been purchased or leased with an accompanying express written warranty from the manufacturer may still be entitled to monetary or compensatory relief under the law.

This section of California law also defines what is meant by the person who is selling or leasing the motor vehicle to the consumer. That person is characterized as an individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, association or other legal entity that engages in the business of selling motor vehicles. Some consumers may be mislead into believing that in order to qualify for relief under the lemon law they must have purchased or leased their vehicle from the manufacturer directly. This information, while untrue, may be interpreted as such after a simple reading of the statute alone. Hiring a knowledgeable lemon law attorney can dispel with this and any other misunderstandings that may leave consumers feeling as though they have no recourse under the law for their materially defective vehicle.

Another important piece of information for potential lemon law petitioners is that they do not necessarily have to purchase or lease a motor vehicle from the manufacturer or even one of the manufacturer’s dealerships. Should another person or entity wish to simply transfer ownership of the vehicle over, as long as the vehicle is still covered under the express written warranty, the transferee will be considered a consumer under the lemon law.

Whether or not the purchase, lease or transfer of a motor vehicle is accompanied by the manufacturer’s express written warranty is the clear line separating consumers with legitimate lemon law claims from those consumers without a valid lawsuit under this section of the law. When filing a lemon law claim, the consumer is essentially asking for a court of law to enforce the manufacturer’s written warranty and force the manufacturer to either financially compensate the consumer for their materially defective vehicle or provide a replacement vehicle without defects. Should an individual fail to secure this express written warranty at the time they acquire the vehicle, their chances of successfully litigating this type of legal claim is unlikely.