California has one of the best new car lemon laws in the country. For someone who can’t or does not want to buy a vehicle brand new, what lemon law rights are there on used cars? Fortunately, there are used car lemon laws to protect the consumer, and thanks to the large automobile industry, it is one of the most utilized legal tools in the United States.
When purchasing a used vehicle, it is best to avoid buying a lemon in the first place. Doing a bit of research beforehand and getting the vehicle surveyed before purchase is a good start. But a lemon car may not always be that obvious. Often, problems start to arise weeks after the purchaser has brought it home. If you have bought a used vehicle that you think could be a lemon, there are a few steps you can take to get rid of it.
To qualify in California for used car lemon law protection, the vehicle must have been purchased or leased in California for personal, family or business use. Vehicles purchased through a private transaction or from a car lot “as is”, usually will not have lemon law coverage. Under the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act and the Uniform Commercial Code consumers can be protected if the vehicle was bought under false representation. False representation can be:
- Prior history of mechanical problems known to the seller (‘laundered lemon’)
- A previously salvaged or wrecked vehicle
- A fraudulently rolled back odometer
- A vehicle that was a rental car, police car or taxi
- A stolen, stripped and rebuilt vehicle
- A vehicle involved in a flood
By California’s Warranty Act, the first time a lemon buyback is resold at the retail level, it must have one-year factory warranty to cover defects and cannot legally be sold “as is.” The law requires that the car be marked as a “lemon law buyback” and must have a “lemon” sticker on the door jamb. When lemon buybacks are illegally sold, the buyer still has rights under the Lemon Law.
The Warranty Act also applies to used vehicles that are still under a manufacturer’s new car warranty. When a used car covered by a new car warranty is sold, any remaining time left in the warranty protects the car’s new owner. The law covers “certified” used cars, lemon vehicles that are bought back by manufacturers or dealers and then resold and automobiles covered by extended service contracts.
Buying a used vehicle does not mean you will get a lemon, but if you do find yourself in this situation, seeking legal counsel from someone who specialized in the lemon law can be your best solution. A lemon law attorney is experienced in these situations and can help you get the compensation you deserve, fast and efficiently.