The California Lemon Law, known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, is a law that was enacted to protect consumers who have purchased defective products that could not be fixed. While each state, and even the federal government, has its own lemon law, California’s law provides the best protections for consumers.
While people commonly refer to it as the lemon law, a lemon law action is essentially a breach of warranty claim. The California Lemon Law applies to the purchase or lease of any product that comes with a written warranty issued by the manufacturer. This means that even used vehicles purchased with the remaining balance of the manufacturer’s warranty can qualify under the California Lemon Law.
To maintain a successful lemon law claim, a consumer must prove that (1) she purchased or leased a vehicle manufactured by the defendant; (2) the vehicle came with a written warranty; (3) the vehicle had a defect covered by the warranty that substantially impairs its use, value or safety to a reasonable person in the consumer’s situation; (4) the vehicle was delivered to the manufacturer (or its dealership) for repair; and (5) the manufacturer (or its dealership) was unable to repair the vehicle after a reasonable number of opportunities. In almost every case, the first two elements are fairly easy to prove. The majority of California Lemon Law cases focus on the last three elements.
Establishing a defect covered by the warranty is critical. Almost every manufacturer’s warranty is limited to defects in materials and workmanship. Common exclusions include problems caused by accidents, modifications or the installation of aftermarket accessories. For example, a consumer who was involved in a major car accident cannot simply take her damaged vehicle to the dealership and expect it to be fixed under warranty.
Once a defect is established, the consumer must prove that it substantially impairs the vehicle’s use, value or safety. There are countless defects that can be considered substantial. Any defect that affects the vehicle’s drivability would definitely be considered substantial. Many other defects involving various features in the vehicle can be considered substantial too. Some examples include a defective navigation system, inoperable windows, a malfunctioning air conditioning system, the illumination of warning lamps and many more.
Finally, the consumer must prove that the manufacturer was unable to repair the vehicle after a reasonable number of opportunities. What constitutes a “reasonable” number? This will vary from the specific facts and circumstances of every case, but if a defect was not repaired within three opportunities, it could be sufficient to trigger a lemon law claim. If the defect is safety related, then a lemon law claim could be established even after two repair opportunities.
About Lemon Law
“There are few things worse than spending a lot of money on a new car only to have it spend more time in the shop than with you. After months and months of frustration, I finally decided to look for a lemon law attorney. I ended up hiring Journey Law Group and could not be happier. Guy has obviously been doing this for a while because he was able to answer all of my questions and predict how the process would end. My car was repurchased and I got my money back. I highly recommend using Journey Law Group if you are having problems with your car.
— Jason H.” Client
“I was referred to Guy by a mutual friend to help me with my new car that was in the shop almost every month. Guy was always reachable and responsive and was ultimately able to get my car bought back. I would recommend that anyone stuck with a lemon hire his firm.
— Larry S.” Client
“Guy was recommended and was a pleasure to work with. He kept me informed throughout the process and was always available to discuss any concerns. His knowledge of this area of law and the attorneys for the manufacturers was invaluable in obtaining the desired result. He was able to secure a settlement which included a buyback of our Jeep. We could not be happier with Guy's work, or the result!
— -Brad T.” Client
“I worked with Guy on a Lemon case with my Jeep. I honestly had no idea on how to approach the situation, but once I was referred to Guy, he made everything easy. He walked me through the entire process and on top of that, was able to get me a full refund! He was always available and accessible. I had a great experience working with Guy and would recommend him to my friends and family.
— Jake B.” Client
“Guy was very helpful and very genuine. I'm glad I picked him to take care of my car issues I had. Most importantly he was always on top of everything, communicating with me through email or phone. If I had a question I knew I was able to give him a call and get a quick response. I will definitely have him in mind to refer him to any of my friends, family members etc.
— -Dyane B.” Client
“After purchasing what I thought was my dream car, I quickly learned that it was actually my nightmare car. I tried to get it repurchased myself to no avail. I was referred to Guy at Journey Law Group and things turned around quickly. My vehicle was repurchased and I even got a little extra!