Used lemons – know your rights

Despite your very best due diligence, you’ve somehow managed to buy a vehicle that’s causing you problems. Perhaps it’s broken down, is underperforming, or won’t start at all. Many Californians are aware of the consumer protection that lemon law provides to new vehicle purchases, but did you know that in some circumstances the same laws may be invoked in regards to used car, truck, SUV, trailer, and watercraft sales? Here’s what you need to know about lemon law as it relates to used vehicle sales in California.

Buying from an individual

Unfortunately, if you purchase a pre-owned vehicle in a private sale anywhere other than a licensed used car dealership, you will not be eligible to make a claim under California’s lemon laws should there be a fault. For this reason, it’s suggested to exercise a high level of caution when engaging in private car or other vehicle sales.

Buying from a dealer

The good news for those who have bought a vehicle from a used car dealership, is that they should be able to contest any defects under lemon law. In fact, used cars sold under warranty from a dealership, as well as demonstrator models, come under the legal definition of a new vehicle as established by the Lemon Law Certification Program. Furthermore, in 2013. legal amendments to California law included the provision that car dealers must provide a minimum 30 day or 1,000-mile warranty on all pre-owned vehicle sales. This warranty applies to all the essential components of the car. In many instances, sellers of certified pre-owned vehicles will incentivize customers with more comprehensive warranties. Regardless of the particulars, so long as you’ve bought from a licensed dealer who is abiding by current regulations, if there’s a fault with your used car, you will have an entitlement to engage in lemon law proceedings.

Fixing attempts

Another essential aspect to lemon law is that before you the manufacturer or dealership must be granted a reasonable number of attempts to rectify the vehicle’s issues. The term ‘reasonable’ is not definitively quantified by law, and relates to the type of problem with the vehicle. For example, if the defect is a serious safety issue to driver and passengers then fewer fix attempts may be required. The difficulty in negotiating these terms, as well as deciding on appropriate levels of compensation should a fault be unfixable, are primary reasons for engaging the services of a law firm that deals exclusively in lemon law. If you believe you’ve bought a lemon vehicle and require the representation of a legal team experienced in the area, contact the Law Office of Jacob K. Kashani for a free consultation.